Finding the perfect job is a daunting task. You send out tons of resumes, create custom cover letters, go on interviews, anxiously wait for a call and then end up not getting an offer. Rinse and repeat.
It can be incredibly frustrating when you send out application after application and don’t hear back anyone. If you have been searching for a new job for some time, it might be time to step up your game.
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Thousands of resumes stack up on the desks of hiring managers, and the cold hard truth is, most of them end up in the trash. So, how can your resume stand out enough to end up in the short stack? There isn’t one magic resume format that is going to wow an employer.
It’s about the content of your resume and how you tailor it for each job you’re applying for. It’s a good idea to keep a few different versions of your resume highlighting different skills in each.
Get rid of your six-page resume. No one is reading it. Highlight the most important stuff specific to the role you are applying for. If the employer is interested in learning more about a specific position or project you worked on they will ask you.
Cover letters are still important, and they should also be specific to the job or company you are applying for. They only have to be a paragraph or two about who you are and why are a great candidate for the role. Have some hook that makes you stand out.
Some job-seekers think the best way to find a new job is to blast out as many resumes to as many employers as humanly possible. This is the biggest waste of time. If you want to land that perfect position you need to spend time on tailoring your cover letter and resume. Give them what they are looking for.
Dealing With Interview Nerves
“Tell me about yourself.” Just reading those words can make anyone uncomfortable. Everyone gets those pre-interview jitters. It’s ten times worse than first date nerves.
There are things you can do to make sure you’re not a nervous, sweaty mess when you walk into the room. The biggest mistake people make is not properly preparing. Preparing with help build confidence, and a confident interviewee makes for a good interview.
Practice makes perfect. Conduct mock interviews with your friends or family. Ask them to be super tough and surprise you with challenging questions. Answering questions aloud will make you so much more confident during the real interview.
Have your 30-second elevator pitch prepared. You may need it for the interview but you should just have one anyway, you never know who you might meet. Also, prepare practical examples that highlight your problem solving and analytical skills.
Read up on company and people you are interviewing with. This may sound obvious, but many people don’t do it. Have questions to ask the interviewer like – What do you see me accomplish in a year? or Why is this position open? or What challenges will I face in this position?
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The First Interview
It’s very rare these days to get your foot in the door without having a phone screening. Consider your telephone screening your first interview. If you don’t get past that, you blow your chances of getting the real interview.
You have some advantages with the phone screening that you don’t have in the actual interview. You can have a cheat sheet in front of you. Just in case your mind goes blank, have a note in front of you with the job description, information about the company, questions you might have and some information on the person you are speaking with.
Stand up and move around during the call – it will change the energy level in your voice. Of course, don’t forget to smile. Smiling affects how we speak, and listeners can pick up on it.
Your First Job
College is not only for preparing for your career, but it’s also for building your career. Having internships are critical and the earlier, the better. Try to find opportunities in the industry you’d like to work in, but any experience is great.
The easiest way to get your foot in the door is to know somebody. Ask friends or relatives if their companies are looking for interns. Leverage your college career office. They have lists of companies they’ve formed relationships that are willing to accept interns each year.
Check out LinkedIn and leverage your contacts. It’s a great tool to research potential employers. See who works at the company you’re interested in and reach out to see if they would be interested in hiring an intern. Even if the answer is no, you made a new connection shows how proactive you are.
Switching industries or changing jobs can be very challenging because it’s hard to meet all the requirements for the new position. There are some things you can do that will help with finding the perfect transition position.
Do your research and find an industry that has similarities to your current industry’s experience. Make connections in that industry by attending networking events or participating in online communities. These people can help you get your foot in the door.
Leverage your career capital – those valuable skills like autonomy, critical thinking, creativity that you’ve learned throughout your career in many different roles.
“Research shows that the traits that lead people to love their work are general, and can be found in many different career paths. They include things like autonomy, a sense of impact and mastery, creativity, and respect and recognition for your abilities. Once you recognize that these traits have little to do with following a pre-existing passion, and can be cultivated in many different fields, you can safely abandon the myth that there’s a single right job waiting out there for you.”
– Cal Newport
Even if it’s the worst job you’ve ever had, don’t just jump off the deep end. Take a step back and create a proactive plan. It can be very overwhelming to find a job when you are still working full time. There feels like there are not enough hours in the day to give your job search the time it needs.
Try doing one thing every day. By the end of the week, you did seven things towards finding a new job.You want to get the job you want, not just jump to another job you might hate. Take your time.