6 Job Search and Application Tips

Summer is coming to a close and companies are starting they search for new hires. If you’re looking to apply to a job think about these 6 tips during your job search.

1. List What You’re Good At and What You Like

Before you start sending out applications to any hiring company, know yourself. List your strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, goals and dreams. You’ll waste much less time searching aimlessly online when you know yourself better. You can be more specific in your job search to find a job and company that suits you.

2. Find Something That Suits You and Makes You Happy

Now that you are properly prepared you can start the search. Find a position you can succeed in. Even better, find a company you can support and advance in. Finding a company you can support will give your work meaning and purpose. You’re passion about your work will give you the drive to make an impression and advance through the field.

3. Gather Your Experience and Qualifications

Narrow down what experience and qualifications you have that apply to the job. Think about what you’ll use in your resume, cover letter and portfolio. Do you have any online presence you can included? Or other “outside of the box” qualifiers? You don’t need to list everything on a resume, only items that most apply to the position and create a story about you.

4. Find A Way To Stand Out

When that big pile of black and white resumes lands on the employer’s desk, how are you going to stand out? Will you stand out by the design of your resume? The story in your cover letter? An unique experience? Come up with something creative so you will be remembered.

5. Represent Yourself Correctly

Sometimes we can get caught up in the formality of the job search. Don’t lose yourself in all the paperwork. Make sure you’re presenting yourself in the right way. Don’t sell yourself short. Show some personality and what you can bring to the company. You can do this through what information you choose to share on your resume and cover letter; how you design your resume; and your online presence.

6. Complete The Process

You can find numerous articles and resources on how to create a resume, write a captivating cover letter, properly dress for an interview, and how to prepare interview question and answers, so I won’t dwell on that. Just remember when you are doing the professional thing, be the charismatic you. Show your true self. Let the interviewer get an idea of you are. Genuine personality is more attractive than dishing out answers you think they want to hear.

Today I will be posting more articles and tips on job searching, applying and interviewing on Ask the Young Professional’s Facebook page! Follow today! 

What other job search and application tips do you have?



How to Get the Job

Resume? …Check!

Portfolio? …Check!

References? …Check!

Cover Letter? …Check!

Impressive Professional Outfit? …Check!

You have everything they told you was required… why haven’t you been hired?

Chances are you have all the content, but your writing might be why someone else is getting chosen over you.

Having the right qualifications, easy to read formatted resume and praised recommendations are all important necessities when applying, but the cover letter is what separates you.

Picture yourself as an employer. You have two twentysomething applications in front of you. Both are from Ivy League schools, have the same GPA and meet all the qualifications. You only have the budget for one new employee. Which one do you choose?

You choose the one who most resonates with you; the one who wedges his/her way into your memory; the one who told you a better story.

“A good story goes further in the twentysomething years than perhaps at any other time in life.” ~The Defining Decade, Dr. Meg Jay (p. 62)

The cover letter is your opportunity to capture your future employer’s attention. Instead of telling a chronological explanation of your highlighted experiences and accomplishments, create an engaging story. Grasp their attention. Make them want to read your cover letter because it is different from the tens to hundreds sitting in the same pile.

Go back to the basic writing skills you learned in English class about a story arc. Do you remember this chart?

story arc

Try to use the story arc to tell your professional story. Be selective and share specific moments that can form pictures.

“As a twentysomething, life is still more about potential than proof. Those who can tell a good story about who they are and what they want to leap over those who can’t.” ~The Defining Decade, Dr. Meg Jay (p. 62)

This was hard to hear the first time I read this. I was very proud of all my accomplishments in college. I thought my experiences set me up very well. To think my experience meant nothing kind of hurt… It took my pride away, but only for a moment.

I realized the point wasn’t that the experience gathered as a twentysomething was not important, but that it was more important to showcase traits that can be improved upon. 

When an employer is looking to hire a twentysomething most likely they are looking for someone to grow with the company. Someone who has the fundamentals to be a good employee. Someone who can listen to directions and improve over time. Someone who can be easily trained.

How can this be reflected in an a cover letter? It sounds like something that has to be demonstrated in person and perhaps over a period of time.

The answer is in the story. Your well written story will show that you have the two most basic, yet highly necessary skills needed of every employee; communication and reasoning.

Having good communication means you can receive direction, relay information, and express your own thoughts. Reasoning is important because it allows you to operate on your own and make key decisions. Having both these skills gives the employer something to start with, something with a success rate that can be molded into the long term employee they need.

In your story you can relay what type of person you are and what type of employee you can be. (I think both are important.) You can reason out how you can be a key aset to the company and how you want to grow.

“Stories that sound too simple seem inexperienced and lacking. But stories that sound too complicated imply a sort of internal disorganization that employers simply don’t want.” ~The Defining Decade, Dr. Meg Jay (p. 62-63)

This is why I would suggest outlining your thoughts first. Organize them in a manor that pertains to the position and to each other. Then you can get a better handle of capturing the best illustration of yourself and keep it all on one page.

Take your time on your cover letter. Personalize them for each position you apply for. Select specific illustrated stories that most apply to the position. Get feedback (I’d love to help review your cover letter through email at asktheyoungprofessional@gmail.com).

This might not be your one chance, but it is probably your best chance to grab the attention of an employer.

I know I need to go back and update my cover letter. I encourage you to join me because it turns out our English teachers were right, our writing skills will always be important.

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Quick Tip #0024

Have a copy of your resume and cover letter as a PDF.

A lot of recruiters are like the rest of the world, they use their phones to do work. They are so many different formats your resume and cover letter can be looked at. It should be something you think about when you’re formatting your cover letter. Saving it as a PDF can save the formatting work you’ve done to make the layout just right and guide their eyes to the important parts.

Try it for yourself. Save it as a PDF then check it on different devises.

Stay Involved

Recently I’ve received advice and then read a couple articles with the same advice… I’m taking this coincidence to mean it is actually important to follow this advice, so I’ll continue this trend by passing it along to you as well.

Stay involved.

That’s basically it. Stay involved in the area to which you want to work.

Stay involved even when you’re out of work. 

While you’re looking for a full time position stay involved by volunteering your skills. For example, if you desire a designing position, offer to design a new webpage for a local company. You can then use that work in a portfolio and you keep your resume fresh with new projects (verses handing out resumes where the most recent dates are 3 years old).

Stay involved while you’re climbing the latter.

If you’re just starting out chances our its good to have that line on your resume, but there won’t be work you can add to a portfolio. You may be in a office position that will get you to that next step but you have nothing to show for to prove the skills you have.

This is a great opportunity to stay involved by doing your own work. If you desire to be a writer, start writing your novel on your own time or create a website. If you want to be a director of photography, work on an indie project. You might not get paid, but you’ll get experience and new material for your demo reel. If you want to be a business owner, start a small business on the side, even if it is just selling your friends home made jewelry.

Staying involved means keeping yourself relevant. You know first hand what is happening in the field. You have current experience.

Staying involved shows that you are passionate to be in this field and you want to be here.

Being Well Rounded

I was lucky enough that my internship site set me up with a lot of opportunities to get advice from major professionals. One week my internship supervisor set up meetings for each intern to meet with one person from our company. On my meeting day I was able to show my resume and cover letter. It was great receiving more feedback from a professional already in the field. It was even better that I was able to learn what type of person the company would be looking to hire.

The idea was having talents to fill a full 360 degree view. With a 360 degree of talents you could potentially create an idea for a project then follow it through all its phases until completion. Being diverse in talents was valuable to an employer because they would be the option to use you for more than one project or area.

Some suggestions I was given…

Take classes. 

Increase skill levels you already have and invest in ones that I was lacking. 

Create a website.

Showcasing yourself online gives you some visual personality to stand out from the crowd. It is a great opportunity to further go into detail about what you can offer.

Be involved in the digital world.

The digital world is quickly evolving. Having at least a basic understanding where you could stay a float in the digital world can be a desired quality in a new hire. 

Overall I understood that starting off any young professional should stay fresh with practice in new skills and knowledge of new advances.