Getting a Job
According to one estimate, an average working person would change jobs at least seven times in his or her lifetime. These changes are significant but difficult transitions that a person can undergo, especially if it involves relocations and emotional stress. Whether you are looking for your first job, returning to the job market after a hiatus, or transitioning from one career to another, finding a job mainly involve two factors, namely, knowing your qualifications and understanding the job market. Here are some tips on how you are going to proceed assuming that already know what career path you want to take.
Part I:Marketing your credentials
Step 1: Revise your resume
Your resume is your sale pamphlet and catalog. It will inform your potential buyers about what you are selling. A good resume will highlight all your positive points that a potential employer would want. Hence, it is crucial that you customize your resume based on the requirements of the position you are applying for. You should only include the essential information. If dancing the tango, for instance, is irrelevant then do not include it in your resume as part of your skills.
You should also consider the following:
Be always factual when stating information in resume. It must be something verifiable. You may emphasize certain points and downplay other points but never lie in your resume just to impress your prospective employer. A serious lie may bite you.
Be consistent in using active verbs to emphasize your job experiences and qualifications. Active verbs are action verbs used in active form. This means that the subject of the sentence is the doer of the action. For example, instead of saying ?The project was assigned to me,? you should say ?I accomplished the project assigned to me.?
Always proofread before and after printing your resume. Never submit a resume that you have not re-read at least twice. Better yet, have someone who is good in grammar proofread it. You might have missed a comma or misspelled a word. This may seem trivial but it could mean the difference of you being invited for an interview or your resume being thrown to the recycle bin. Appearance or formatting is also equally important. As a common practice, you should use simple or classic font such as Times New Roman, Arial or Bevan. Use black ink on white paper and provide wide margins on each side of about one inch. Minimize the use of bold or italic lettering. You may use bold or italic for section headings or to emphasize your name and contact information.
Step 2: Develop your personal elevator pitch.
An elevator pitch is a statement which provides concise and simple summary that defines a person or product and its value proposition. It should not take more than two minutes. One of the most common question during an interview is the seemingly generic introductory question ?Tell me about yourself.? This is actually a specific question with expected specific answer. It is not a question that is asking you to narrate your biography from childhood but rather trying to extract information about your qualifications and how you are going to fit to the company. It is best if you already have a formula or template answer that you can memorize or customize when necessary. This will save you a lot of time during an interview.
Step 3: Create a list of new work-related skills you would like to learn.
You can read books, attend conferences or go back to school and enroll in a formal course (vocational or degree course). Your current employer or a prospective employer will be please about your interest to continually improve your knowledge and skills in the particular industry that you have chosen.
Below is a list of some work-related skills that employers would want job seekers to have. These are not only important in terms of landing a job but also equally important in keeping a job.
Logical thinking and information handling — This refers to the aptitude in handling and organizing information in a manner that is useful. It is related to problem solving because the right information is needed to solve specific problems. The ability to find the right information is also integral in problem-solving skills.
Technology-related skills — Virtually all office-based jobs require some level of computer skills. Others require more advanced knowledge in programming and web development. Technological know-how also refers to the competency in using and maintaining other types of machines such as robotics or
Communication skills — Effective communication is crucial in any organization. Without it, an organization will not function. Communication skills include verbal, writing and non-verbal communication skills such as gestures and facial expressions.
Interpersonal skills — These are closely connected to emotional intelligence. These skills refer to the ability to work well with others of different background. It entails the ability to empathize with other people and impliedly knowing their needs.
Part II: Being Prepared
Step 1: If you are shortlisted for an initial interview, you should consider yourself fortunate.
It means that you are closer to your goal. However, an interview could prove to be a difficult hurdle if you are unprepared. Your nervousness might override your confidence, thereby ruining the opportunity to effectively sell your positive points to the interviewer. Most interviews are designed not only to assess your technical or academic competency that is related to the job but also to assess your attitude. This is particularly true for behavioral interviews wherein an interviewer will ask you to describe problems that you have encountered in your previous job or in any situation. You might also be asked what you would do in a hypothetical situation. The main purpose of this type of interview is to evaluate your attitude and how you are going to deal with difficult situations. There is no foolproof way to be prepared and ace this type of interview but as a rule of thumb, you should emphasize the positive approach and also be as specific and factual. You may need to narrate and expound your answer. Some of the common questions asked during a behavioral interview are the following:
- "Describe a time you had to work with someone you didn't like."
- "Tell me about a time when you had to stick by a decision you had made, even though it made you very unpopular."
- "Give us an example of something particularly innovative that you have done that made a difference in the workplace."
- "How would you handle an employee who's consistently late?"
Step 2: Research the background of the company.
In most cases, you would not need to go to the library or request for official government records to learn about the company to where you are applying.
All it may take is just a simple online research. Most companies have websites that contain all the basic information that you will need. It would be helpful to read the history of the company in the About page and also read (if possible memorize) the mission-vision of the company. You should also know exactly what particular business wherein the company is engaged. It would be helpful to also research about the performance and market position of the company compared to its competitors.
You must remember that you are competing with other applicants who might be more educated, well-experienced and more educated than you. However, your comprehensive knowledge of the company to where you are applying could give you the competitive edge. You must also demonstrate your willingness to work hard and adjust to the culture of the company once you are hired. You should show determination but not to the point of obsession or desperation.
Part III: Pounding the Pavement
Once you have polished your credentials and have psyched yourself in applying for a job, you need to go out of your cocoon and actually look and apply for a job. Start pounding the pavement, so to speak. There are several ways you can find a job aside from clipping classified ads. Here are some of the things that you can do to increase your chance of landing a job.
Step 1: Engage in informational interviews.
This refers to casual talk with colleagues, friends and acquaintances to fish out information about any possible job openings that they know about. You can invite colleagues or friends to lunch or coffee break for this purpose. However, you should not expect that you will get any useful information or immediately land a job after your informational interviews. You may get referrals from professionals who are already working in the field.
Step 2: Establish a network of contacts for referrals.
Many large and well-established companies do not advertise job openings. Instead they rely heavily on referrals from their employees. Hence, it would be very helpful in your job search if someone will refer you to his or her boss. The process could even be a lot faster and you might be hired on the spot. In order to establish a network of contacts who could possibly refer you for an employment, you should make a list of your friends, relatives, classmates, colleagues and acquaintances. You may contact all the people on your list one by one or contact only a few who are likely to be able to help you. Ask them if they know any job opportunities to where they can refer you.
Avoid being too apologetic or awkwardly humble. You should be direct to the point and tell your contacts about what type of job you are looking for. However, you should also let them know that you are flexible and would welcome suggestions. If you are really determined to find a job, you should not be too picky about it. The most important thing is that you can earn the experience, reputation and skills you need to move up in the corporate ladder.
You should contact your references. They may provide you with leads and you will remind them of you. Hopefully, when they are contacted by your potential employers, your references will tell something positive about you.
Step 3: Do volunteer works.
You should focus on volunteer works that you are passionate about and if possible related to your field of expertise. You will not only accomplish something good for the community but you will also gain confidence and you will also gain references. You will be able to expand your network, You may mention in your resume or during the interview your volunteer even if they are not related to the job you are applying for. Most employers tend to favor applicants who are civic-minded because it implies initiative and responsibility.
Aside from socio-civic volunteer works, you may also try internships. These are typically directly related to your field of expertise or job interest. It is a way to get your foot in the door, so to speak. It would be easier for you to be hired if you are already working in a company as an intern. Volunteering as an intern will provide you better access to information. It will show your determination to work. Many company also use internship programs as way to screen and train potential employees.
Step 4: Do some cold calls.
Cold calling refers to contacting a prospective client or employer who is not expecting you. It may sound awkward and somehow inappropriate but it could be a gamble that would pay well. You may contact a prospective employer through phone, email or mail. Ask if they have any position available and what type of credentials they are requiring. You should also ask if they have apprentice or government-sponsored employment program. You may be frustrated at first but you might be able to land on a dream job if you have the courage to call.
You must also have a self-evaluation every after each phone call you make. You should assess what are the things that went well and what are the mistakes that you have made. You may have your resume ready as reference when you are making you cold calls. You might need to enumerate your qualifications.
You may also personally visit the company to where you want to apply. You might have a better chance of being given the opportunity to present yourself for interview if you visit instead of merely sending your resume. If you chanced to have an excellent personal impression on the human resource manager, you might be interviewed on the spot. It is a truism that HR managers do not always hire the best qualified applicant for the job but rather hire the person that they like best.
Part IV: Improving Your Mindset
Step 1: You have to change your attitude.
You must know the difference between someone who is just looking for a job and someone who is offering himself/herself as part of the solution in dealing with the problems of the employer. You must market yourself in a way that the prospective employers would want you because you would be an asset to them. It is an issue of features versus benefits. You must show that your features will provide benefits to the companies to where you intend to work.
Step 2: You should be willing to settle down.
No company would want to hire someone who keeps moving around not only geographically speaking but also in terms of career. You should prove to the company that you would indefinitely stay or even stay for good. It implies reliability, commitment and trustworthiness. It would be very inconvenient for you if you keep on changing residence or keep on changing jobs. You would have a lot to explain if your resume shows multiple series of jobs in just a short period of time.
Step 3: Learn to find a job that would best suit your skills and other credentials.
In this manner, you do not need to get additional trainings or schooling just to apply to a job. You should choose a job in which you can be most competent.