By Lauren | March 26, 2014 | 0 Comment
1. Network, even if it’s not in person!
Lots of us dread networking. Not because we don’t think it will do us any good but mainly because it is awkward. I am a social person, but I don’t necessarily like marching up to people and introducing myself to every stranger in a room. I think one thing I’ve learned in my last 2 years in the workforce is that when my teachers told me; “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”, they were right. It’s surprising how small this industry and any industry really is.
Even if you don’t have the money to attend fancy conferences, keep relationships with your past professors, internship supervisors, classmates etc. because you never know when they may come in handy. There has been several times in my career where I get my foot in the door because someone I know from 3 years ago is a friend of a friend. Every relationship counts, so make sure to maintain them even when you are employed.
Also, remember that you don’t always have to network in person. If there’s a company you really want to work for. Find people that work there via LinkedIn or Twitter and converse with them, maybe they won’t be able to get you a job but next time there is an opening, you will be top of mind. Not to mention this shows that you are taking initiative to get to know their organization or company.
2. Make your application stand out!
This obviously depends on what type of industry you are going into, but I’m speaking from a marketing and communications standpoint. Every month I get several resumes and applications for part-time employment at my organization. Since I don’t expect these applicants to have tons of relevant experience, I really look for a resume that stands out from the crowd.
Think about it? Is a typical Microsoft Office, black & white template going to catch my attention when viewing 100’s of resumes, or is the uniquely designed, colour resume going to make me stop and actually read it?
I personally have a well-designed (so I think) resume that incorporates a bright blue colour and my name and contact information uniquely placed at the top. The body of my resume is short and straight to the point, making it easy to scan. Almost 90% of the interviews I’ve ever received I get a compliment on my resume and how it stood out. Why? Because employers are looking for something different and for someone who actually put effort into their resume, not just someone who downloaded the same template as the other 100 people and filled in the blanks.
3. Follow directions!
Maybe you are not going to read every last bit of the 3-page job description for the job you are applying too, but if you’re not, at least read the most important part, the application instructions. I cannot name the amount of times that I go onto LinkedIn and see a job that states “apply through email to…” but 100’s of people have sent their applications through a LinkedIn submission. Or how many times the application states, “please no phone calls” and the person harasses you every day calling and asking about his or her application. One of the most important is if the job posting asks you to submit a cover letter with your resume, or alternate supporting documents like a portfolio or writing sample.
I can’t stress the importance of this. I understand that you are probably applying to 100’s of jobs and you just want to get your application out there, but by not following directions you are doing one thing – showing employers that you can’t pay attention to detail.
4. Learn how to write a proper resume!
I touched on making your resume stand out but many people lack one of the most important things that are going to get you through the door. A proper resume, I work with lots of college students, and I’m always shocked at the amount that want to apply for jobs but don’t even know how to write a resume, or know the basics of creating a resume.
I know this is something that isn’t always taught to you, but the resources now available for students are incredible. Simply “Google” resume samples, visit your Career Centre on campus, send your resume to professionals you know. This is essentially the most important document in your job search, so make sure it’s done right!
5. Do not get discouraged!
Everyone’s been through it, and it’s easy to get discouraged, especially when you send multiple applications and hear back from no one. DO NOT GIVE UP! I had to apply to over 100 jobs out of college before I finally landed a full-time position. I attended multiple interviews and got turned down, and lots of the time I didn’t even hear back to the companies I applied to. Yes it sucks, and yes it makes you doubt even wanting to work in your field, but eventually that right job will come along. Keep your head up, and keep trying! Just because you applied for 2 jobs, doesn’t mean you have done all that you can do. One thing I did that helped, was kept a chart with the following:
When I followed up & if I heard back
This helped me keep organized and also make sure I didn’t follow-up with people that strictly asked not to, or apply for the same position twice etc.
Just remember if you are persistent and follow all the steps above, someone will see your potential and you’ll land that job you want but it’s not going to fall into your lap, so be prepared to work for it!