The internet is full of advice for job seekers. If you do a Google search, you’re going to find more hints, tips, tricks, and hacks than you can use. I just did the search myself, and I’ve got top ten and top seven lists, downloadable PDFs, and three other articles, just on the first page of search results.
It can be hard to sift through the information, though. It’s overwhelming and at times contradictory, and it can be hard to figure out what is the best way forward (I know, I’ve been there). At WIL, we have some advice for you as well. Take some or all of these tips, try them out, and we’re sure that you’ll see results.
- Know your unique selling proposition. You are you. You have skills and experiences that no one else can offer. What makes you better than the competition? Experience? Enthusiasm? Education? Perfect your pitch.
- Know your target employers. There’s a technique for sales/applications/job searches that I’ve heard referred to as “spray and pray”. The idea is that you send out as much material as possible and hope for the best. Unfortunately, your return on investment on something like that is negligible. You’re better off spending two hours customising your resume and cover letter for two employers in your market than you are spending four hours applying to every job in the job bank. Identify your target market, and your target employers, if you can, and learn as much about them as you can. If you know what and who they are, you can probably figure out what they need. Maybe what they need is you! Figure out a way to tell them that.
- Your resume is a sales pitch. The same features don’t appeal to everyone. Imagine a car. Some people want something affordable. Some want something with a really great stereo. Others want fuel economy. The same car can offer those three consumers what they want, but it’ll be something different that convinces them. You are the same way. For some employers, your experience is the major selling point. For others, it might be your lack of experience. It could be your coachibility or your eagerness to learn. It might be a second language. You’ve got great things to offer, but not everyone wants all the things you’ve got.
- Network. Get out there. Volunteer. Be in the community. This helps you make connections and find that near-mythical “hidden job market”. Besides that, it looks good on your resume. It also gives you fantastic transferable skills. And if that isn’t enough to sway you, it’ll make the world a better place.
- Get feedback. Listen to it. You’re great. But you’re not perfect. You can improve. Find out what you need to improve upon, and then work on it. Get feedback when you fail. Find out why you didn’t get the job. Figure out how you can do better next time.
- Be self-sufficient. You’re going to have to do this yourself. WIL (and others) can help, but we can’t do it for you. You write your resume. YOU write the letter. YOU interview. YOU follow. After all, YOU are the one getting the job!
I’ll have more tips for you next week. Until then, good luck.