Searching for jobs in today’s environment is a labyrinth of dead ends, mysteries, and rejection. It is easy to get overwhelmed with all the keyword choices to ‘help’ narrow your search. Few potential employers bother to communicate in any way with candidates who did not get the job once they have hired someone to fill the position. It is easy to get discouraged and kind of hunker down in an ‘us against them’ attitude while looking for a job. An approach that is likely to prove far more effective, is to take a proactive approach toward your job search. Do not be afraid to consider a lesser-paying position if it will help you get your foot in the door with a desirable company.
Make a List
Identify what you like about work. Make a list of five dream jobs whether they are in your current career field or in an area that is unknown to you. This will help you focus on the positive aspects of a job versus a career. It will also open your eyes to jobs you had never considered might be compatible with your interests. Consider taking a class at a local Community College in an area that interests you but never considered as a career path.
When asked why you are switching careers tell them the truth. You are no afraid of hard work, and are willing to study and do what it takes to be a successful employee in a new career zone.
Assume an air of confidence through researching jobs in markets that never crossed your mind before. Be up front with potential employers. Emphasis similar traits about each career that show commonality between your different career choices. If you enjoy helping people, nearly every company has an investment in keeping their customer happy. If you have examples of outstanding customer service in a different field, point it out to your potential employer.
You cannot go wrong asking close friends, family, or mentors to help brainstorm different careers they feel what be a good fit for you. The world is wide open to you, if you just have the imagination to step back and take a good, hard look at how your current career made you feel.
- Did you come home emotionally exhausted daily?
- Was the environment so negative that you have forgotten how to be optimistic?
If so, take control over your work life. Set boundaries and limits on defining acceptable working conditions. Speak up and ask questions after you have researched a company completely. Is their company culture relaxed or are they set on maintaining that dress code from 100 years ago? What environment are you most comfortable working in.
You will likely find that at the end of this process you are once again gainfully employed, but this time you took control of your job search and made it into a full career makeover. That alone is a major confidence booster to maintain your search in a in a difficult time to be a job applicant.
Better Self Presentation, Better Job
A resume plays an important part in getting a job and is often the first point of contact you have with a prospective employer. Having a resume is important because it creates the first impression anyone reading it will have of you. What you put on your resume and how you organize that information is part of that first impression. It is vital that you make a good impression the first time because it is the only chance you will get. You want to show potential employers that you are professional and organized. A resume is a marketing tool used to market the skills and experience you have. It is a way to professionally introduce yourself to potential employers and gain the chance to be interviewed.
What makes you employable? Can you meet the job requirements? What contributions can you bring to the company table?
If you submit your resume online, chances are the first one reading it will not be human. Your resume will be submitted to a computer that will comb through it looking for certain keywords or qualifications. If your resume makes it through this hurdle, the first person to see it will likely be someone from the Human Resources department of the company you are applying to. These people will look over your resume and decide if it is worth showing to the hiring manager. If your resume makes it past the Human Resource department, it will come into the hands of the hiring manager who will then make the final decison on whether or not to call you for an interview.
The finished resume should be no more than one page in length. It should be professional looking. It should have your name and several ways to contact you, such as email and phone numbers, near the top of the page. The skills and experience should be neatly organized. The resume should answer the basic questions most employers want answered.
What makes you employable? Can you meet the job requirements? What contributions can you bring to the company table? Use action words such as “delegated” rather than “assigned”, and “operated” rather than “ran”. Keep your sentences short and to the point. Use keywords in your list of skills such as “team player” or “problem solver”. Remember, potential employers are likely to only spend about 10 to 20 seconds reading your resume, so make it good.
Every time you fill out an application, whether online or on paper, you should submit a resume along with the application. Keep a folder with resumes handy so that you can be ready at a moment’s notice to hand someone your resume. Give out your resume at job fairs, social gatherings, weddings and just about anywhere there are large groups of people. While it is true that a resume plays an important part, there is an aspect that plays a more important role in getting that job. You! Remember you are the most vital part of getting a job. What you do and how you present yourself have a major part in your success.