With record numbers of people unemployed, finding a job is even more stressful than usual. I’ve gathered some tips that will help you get that job.
1. Polish Your Resume
Your resume is important. Make sure that it is polished to a high sheen. The truth is, however, that most hiring managers won’t take the time to read your wonderful masterpiece because they don’t have the time. The place your resume is important is as fodder to the software that parses the contents of your resume. With so many resumes to go through, most companies used scripts to read submitted resumes to determine whether or not the resume owner has the skills they are looking for. These programs reject resumes that don’t have the right key words without a human ever seeing them.
This is why most advisers recommend that you tailor the contents of your resume to the job for which you are applying. You could have every one of the skills a successful candidate should have, but if your resume doesn’t describe your skills properly, you will be eliminated before you have a chance to talk to anyone, let alone the hiring manager.
Just remember, the contents of your resume may get you an interview, but you have to be prepared to sell your skills to the manager yourself. Assume that he or she hasn’t read your resume and make sure that you are pareparedtalk about what you have to offer.
Oh, and even if you were able to attach your resume to the application, bring a copy with you to the interview, just in case.
2. Dress as Though You Were Applying for Your Manager’s Job
Even before COVID-19, most companies didn’t allow strangers to wander in off the street and apply for a job. But, in cases where it is still possible, dress as though you are going to be interviewed! It would be awful to miss out on a job because you look as though you just rolled out of bed and came over.
If you have time to do any research before the interview, learn as much as you can about the company. You should have an idea what projects they are working on, what their product is, and finally, the dress code. Many large companies post an embarrassment of riches when it comes to things like corporate culture, perks, and often includes photographs of management.
Even if you find that dress is casual, don’t assume that jeans and a t-shirt are OK for the interview. But you knew that you shouldn’t wear yoga pants to the interview, right?
If you are meeting face to face, make sure that you dress at least at the “business casual” level. If you are interviewing remotely, as most of us are these days, make sure that you look professional from the waist up and then don’t stand up and show us your short shorts. Given the option, it is always better to dress more formally than less.
3. Think Before You Answer
Job Interviews are a stressful situation. I know that I often draw a blank, even on technical topics that I know inside out. Nobody will think less of you if you have to take a moment to work out what you want to say.
Your interviewer won’t mind if you take a moment to think about what you want to see. Even in cases where there is no “wrong” answer, it is important to stop and think about what you are going to say to make sure that you answer the question that was asked. Try not to anticipate!
4. Don’t Babble! Just Like on Social Media, it’s Easy to Share Too Much
Do you have any gaps in your employment? Be prepared to explain why they exist. For example, a friend of mine has a two or three-year gap in her employment history caused by the fact that she spent that time caring for her father who had suffered a stroke.
I have another friend who not only has numerous small gaps (from six months to a year) in her employment history, she also has a long list of employers because contracting jobs are often limited. For example, Microsoft will not employ a contractor for more than a year. After a few months away, the contractor can return but some companies won’t even allow that.
Be prepared to give a succinct explanation but don’t tell all of the sordid details (if there are any) and don’t expect that your prospective employer cares anymore about the situation than concern that the situation won’t be a bar to your employment.
Supposing that were arrested for drunk driving or some other charge that you know they are going to find when they do a background check. Be proactive. Tell them that the record exists. Make your answer as concise as possible and don’t try to blame it on someone else. An employer is more likely to be forgiving if you are hones, and take responsibility for anything you did.
Oh, and for goodness sake, don’t trash a former employer. Saying nasty things about a previous employer can hurt you in ways you don’t foresee. After all, you don’t know who your manager’s friends are. Keep it simple.
Once you’ve laid out the facts, let it go at that.
5. Always say “Thank You”
Once you’re done with the interview the first thing you do when you get home should be to send a “Thank You” email to the interviewer or to HR if you don’t have a specific person’s contact information. If you are working through a recruiter, they may not want to give you the interviewer’s email address, but you can send a thank you to the recruiter and ask them to forward it to the interviewer.
I know this sounds like a silly thing or that nobody would do that, but by saying thank you, you’re also saying that the interview was important to you and that you appreciate the time they took out of a busy day to speak with you about the opportunity.
Don’t Wait for an Answer! Keep Applying
In much the same way that authors are told to keep writing and making submissions, you must keep applying for jobs. Unless your interview ended with a definite offer, keep going. Momentum is important!
Keep going and you’ll find the job you need. I believe in you!