Thursday, November 3, 2016

Mastering the Art of Job Searching

This is a guest post from Peirce Career Development Counselor Leslie Ballway. 

Have you ever felt like job searching is a waste of time?  That your efforts are not seeing results?  It is so easy to get frustrated and overwhelmed during the job searching process.  How can we make sure that the work we are putting in will result in the outcomes – new jobs, better salaries, career changes – we want?  Here are some steps to follow to keep yourself on track to achieve those goals!

Prepare

Years ago, resumes were just lists of duties from previous jobs.  How boring!  Demand the attention of hiring managers by detailing your accomplishments and use numbers to quantify those results.  For instance, “completed cash, credit, and debit transactions” is snooze-worthy.  “Awarded 100% Mystery Shopper Rating while managing over $5,000 in daily sales” is more interesting and tells a story of how you set yourself apart from the competition.  This informs hiring managers of the type of employee you will be – outstanding!
Once you get your resume into an easy-to-read format citing your accomplishments, it’s time to bring in the job description.  Yes, that’s right; you can and should customize your resume for the job you want.  This allows hiring managers to quickly identify you as a good fit for their position without relying on their imagination (or lack thereof!).  You should also ensure that your resume includes contextualized keywords from the job posting to pass online application filters.
Your cover letter is the time to tell potential employers why you will shine in the position.  Use examples of previous successes, draw parallels between the company mission and your own passion, and hone in on what makes you the best candidate for the position.
Check out job searching websites such as Peircelink, Indeed, LinkedIn, and Glassdoor to scope out interesting opportunities, research companies, and connect with hiring managers.  Just as you research companies, remember that they are likely doing the same for you!  Google yourself and ensure your social media presence – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn – is presenting your best self.

Present Yourself

Your next step is to prepare yourself for interviews and networking events.  Develop a 30-Second “Elevator Pitch” to answer the dreaded “tell me about yourself” question.  Be concise, memorable, and lead with your strongest benefit to the company.  Strategize answers to common interview questions like your greatest strength, your biggest weakness, and how you managed a difficult or stressful situation.  CDS can help you optimize your answers to ensure you are making the best impression.
Did you know that you can bring a portfolio into an interview?  Load up a folder or binder with copies of your resume, the job description, notes about the company, questions for the interviewer, three professional references, and examples of your excellence (think aced school projects, writing samples, awards, and/or letters of recommendation).  Don’t be afraid to take notes during the interview so you can remember key discussions.
Lastly, assemble your interview suit and practice wearing it – it will help you feel more confident (especially if you don’t normally wear suits) and prevent unforeseen wardrobe malfunctions.

Follow-Up

Are you missing the crucial follow-up step?  Calling to introduce yourself to a hiring manager transforms you from a name on a paper to a human connection.   After the interview, remember to mind your manners: send an email or letter thanking the interviewer for their time.  This will reiterate your interest and remind a busy interviewer of your conversation.
Your final step may just be the most important one: stay positive and focused.  Keep applying and don’t take rejection personally.  Your opportunity will come!