Five Tips to Help You in Your Job Search
Searching for a new job is something most of us have to do at least once in our lifetime. It’s daunting, constantly changing, and sometimes it’s plain awful. I was just in your shoes looking for my perfect job myself. I’ll offer up five of the most valuable tips I’ve learned or taken to heart myself to help you in your job search.
You cannot be anyone but yourself. Your greatest strength is that no one is exactly like you. People may come from similar backgrounds or have similar experiences, but no one is identical to you. Use that to your advantage. Leverage your experience and personality to show them that you’re the right person for the job. What you bring to the table is individuality, a different perspective. You have to make that stand out. When you land an interview make sure that they get to know who you really are. Don’t rehearse all the things that you think they want to hear. If you’ve made mistakes – own up to them. If you’ve had some unique experience – tell them about it. If you’ve had some difficulties – talk about how you overcame it or are working to overcome it. I cannot stress enough to be genuine when you’re talking to a potential employer. If what you say doesn’t match who you are or what you’ve done, you’ll eventually be found out. Also, people like genuine people. Own up to mistakes, tell the truth, and be authentically you – because no one else can.
Make Your Resume Stand Out
Your resume is your first impression. It’s a paper impression, but nevertheless it is the first contact you make with a company. So make it polished, concise, and effective, but also make sure that it reflects you. Put a personal spin on it that will set it apart from the million pages of resumes that companies get. Add in some personal skills and traits at the beginning so that the person looking at your resume gets a good idea of who you are and what you can do or have done in the past. Be sure to have all of your experience listed so that the company sees what you’ve done and your specific responsibilities and tasks that you’ve completed. Also list any licenses or special training that would set you apart from the other thousands of applicants. You want your resume to be at the top, not in the trash.
Use Your Network
The people you know CAN help you. Look anywhere to find someone who might have heard something or might work somewhere that is hiring. If you’ve recently graduated from a university, ask your professors or career services to see what contacts they have that can help you jumpstart your career. If you don’t have a network, build one. I recently moved where I’m looking to get a job, and neither my university nor my professors have connections where I moved. Get out in your community and get involved. Volunteer at an animal shelter, a retirement home, anything where you get to know people and people get to know you. You’ll build up a network of people, and maybe even make some friends in the meantime. Another way is to build a virtual network through Linked In. Connect to previous employers, co-workers, mentors, anyone who has a professional connection to you that can help you connect with someone else. Sometimes it isn’t even who you know, it’s who they know.
Be Open to Other Opportunities
It’s stressful looking for a position, but it’s even more stressful when you feel like you can’t find anything. That means you have to be relentless in your search to find a job – and you need to widen it. When you go online to look for positions, search directly for what you’re looking for as well as anything that is adjacent to what you want to do. I’ve applied for sales jobs, marketing jobs, receptionist jobs, business development jobs, analyst jobs, you name it – and my degree is in marketing. Look for whatever you can see yourself doing and loving, it may not be what you originally envisioned. And once you find that one you want and you get that interview, make sure that the people you’re talking to know how interested you are – it makes a difference.
What some companies fail to realize is that you need to interview them just as much as they need to interview you. You are looking for your perfect fit just as much as they are looking for theirs. Be sure to ask questions that will give you insight as to how you fit into this company. Will you be a valued employee that they get to know and treat as an equal team member, or will you be a cog in the wheel that makes the business run but never gets acknowledged? Make sure that the company you interview with doesn’t ask you to abandon your ideas and values, ensure that they are congruent with yours. The saying goes that if you love your job you never work a day in your life, so see to it that you find that in your search.
These tips can get you started, but overall, your job search is what you make of it.Trust me, I understand where you’re at. It can be stressful and daunting, but on the flipside – it’s your path to finding your dream job. Now go get it.