The Strong Professional
When you’re looking for a job, so much of the process can seem like pure luck, like the people that get the best jobs were just in the right place at the right time. This is a frustrating feeling, particularly if you look at people with the same qualifications that you have and see them in a much better position, making much more money than you currently are.
Rather than just blaming this on your bad luck, and their good luck, there are things that you can do to change the way that the job search process works. A lot of the reasoning why these people have better jobs than you is because they were in the right place at the right time, but most of the time, this is not an accident or just plain dumb luck. It’s because they put themselves in that place at that time. And as a result of that, they increased their likelihood of getting that great job. Our goal here is to teach you how to do that, too.
Tilting the Odds
There are many little things that you can do to tilt the odds in your favor. And none of them involve going back to school, or starting at the beginning of a career building phase to rebuild your resume. Having great life experiences and a stellar resume are absolutely important though. The resume especially is a good starting point because this is typically the first thing that a prospective employer will see of you. It is the first impression, and in the job search department, first impressions are vital.
Your resume needs to show basic information about you, but it also needs to tell a story, and show exactly why the job you are applying for is the next page on that story. Anyone can say that they spent four years at State College, worked for two years at Random Company, and that they are now ready for the Next Big Thing. That’s what every single person looking for a job has on their resume, so putting it on yours does not make you standout at all. When you can display that information in a way that does standout, you suddenly go from looking like Average Joe, to looking like the Right Employee for the job.
So, how do you do this? The first step is to look at what the company is looking for out of the position that you are interested in. A data entry job at a call center might seem like a very straightforward job description, but that doesn’t mean it actually is. Research the company, research the position, and then create a special resume for this one position. Your education background, your past experiences, and your skillset should all point to the fact that you can do this job well, and help the company like nobody else can. When this is done well, you go from a standard, generic looking piece of paper in the resume pile, to one of the top ranked candidates for the job.
Now, you might not have any experience with data entry. That’s fine, you don’t need to have spent your life doing this to create a great resume. However, you do need to think about how your past does influence your likelihood to be able to do this job well. Thinking like this will take you to the next level when it comes to your applications.
Now that you know the right approach to getting noticed, it’s time to think about interviews. The interview process can be nerve wracking for many. After all, this isn’t an anonymous email application, it’s you sitting down, in person, with someone that will ultimately decide if you get a job or not. That can be a lot of pressure, but it doesn’t need to be. You should spend time researching the company, practicing your speaking points, and you should have at least one practice interview with someone whose opinion you trust. A practice interview can help you to identify weaknesses in your interview approach and help you to fix them, before they can be held against you. Be polite, professional, and well spoken.
The Follow Up
Sometimes, the interview round can go on and on. This is tough, but in big companies, it’s often the best way to locate the very best and most dedicated candidates. If you get called back for a second round of interviews, you should continue to act professional, answer in-depth questions as knowledgeably as possible, and be sure to send a thank you note afterward. Even if you don’t get the job, you want them to know you are appreciative of their time and trust in you. Besides, it helps keep doors open for the future.