So You Want a Job?
So you want a job? You want a career? You want an opportunity? If you want to succeed in your job hunt, it is very important to position yourself for it.
What is the most important thing? Being prepared!
As an employee I have never interviewed for a position I didn't get. Now I find myself on the other side of the interview table and there are certain things with potential employees that stand out. Certain things that are absolute deal breakers. In certain situations I have actually found myself wanting to correct someone's resume and send it back to them or call them afterwards and give them pointers on what they could have done differently and should do differently for their next interview.
Here are my pointers. It is a very competitive job market out there and you must set yourself apart. Stop making excuses and start making changes!
Prepare Your Resume
First, have a resume that is clear, easy to read and grammatically correct. Many people like to include objectives in their resumes and that is fine, but make sure it is specific to the job you are applying for. I once posted a customer service position for a real estate company and received a resume that was centered around nursing.
Clearly this resume immediately went in the trash.
It would be the same if you were applying for a medical position but your entire resume screamed I'm a paralegal and I have no desire to be in the medical field long term.
If you have a ultimate goal of getting into the nursing industry but need something in the mean time that is fine but have two resumes.
Google is your friend. Don't let not having a lot of experience stop you. I googled 'How to write a resume with no experience' and came up with THIS. They have some great tips on how to build a resume with no experience. Use it!
Sound pleasant over the phone. Chances are the position you are applying for will require you to have human contact. So the way you answer the phone when your potential employer calls is crucial.
Answer your phone using your name "Hello, this is XXX"; not only does it sound professional but it immediately lets them know who they are talking to. So when an unknown number calls don't answer with a simple Hello, but remember this is your first interactive impression. Make it a good one.
So now they are on the phone and you are trying to figure out who you are talking to. Avoid using "Who is this?" You may have your resume out there to many people and you may be getting numerous call backs. Try to act like you remember who they are. Instead of who is this, try I'm sorry I didn't catch your name or I'm sorry I didn't catch who you are with.
Facebook and Social Media
Do you have a Facebook? Nowadays employers will and do stalk potential employees on Facebook. Do you have pictures of yourself partying or pictures of yourself in compromising situations? Do you post racial comments or are you overly vocal with your opinions about the government or authority? These type of things will be a turn off for an employer and someone who may have been on the interview list could easily be cut by what they find.
It may be 'Your' Facebook but it is public, be cautious about the way you present yourself! *** A few have brought this to my attention and I have to bring it to yours or I don't feel that I am doing what I set out to do. Note that while Facebook can hurt your chances at a potential career it can also help you. Fill your Facebook with the things you enjoy, the things you are passionate about. In the words of one of my readers... Facebook and Twitter pages can serve as a working resume in and of itself, just like LinkedIn. So in addition to removing questionable photos and comments (which everyone should do regardless), ADD things to your page that demonstrate your passion and knowledge in your career field. It can give you that leg up if your potential employer decides to visit your page. ***
Be presentable. There is an old saying, 'dress for the job you want not the job you have'. Coming into an interview disheveled can distract a potential employer. Dressing nice is not expensive. I understand that there are a lot of people out there with limited resources and I absolutely respect that. However your potential employer is not going to care and they are not going to take the time to learn all about your history, where you came from and the struggles you have overcome to get where you are today. They have a business to run and that is their first priority.
A few of my favorite go-to items for business meetings and interviews come from Target, H&M and a pair of Nude heels from Payless (honestly they are also the most comfortable!). All of them are under $25.00 and I picked up a VERY nice BeBe suit at Goodwill a while back for around $20. I'd say it was a STEAL! Avoid picking up pieces that don't fit you, that are either too short, too small or big. Save your money for the pieces that will benefit you and help you put your best foot forward.
So finally... you submitted your resume, they called you for an interview, and now it is all on your shoulders to make an impression that will land you the ultimate prize... THE JOB!
So here's what I ask you, do you smoke? If the answer is No. Then AWESOME! If the answer is Yes, then here is my response. Do not under any circumstance smoke before or on the way to your interview. A nonsmoker can smell smoke a mile a way and while you may not think it is a big deal because you usually put perfume on to mask the smell, trust me when I say it doesn't! I smoked for 7 years, I know the struggle first hand. But what is more important? Your cigarette or the job? Are you going to loose an opportunity because you smoke? Probably not but picture this... the job comes down to you and one other person. You are even in the polls only you smoke and they don't... guess who gets the job. It may not be fair but its reality.
Bring a copy if not a few copies of your resume. Make sure to offer it to the interviewee, if there is anything I have realized is this is slowly becoming a lost art. Again set yourself a part! Be friendly with the receptionist and any other staff you may come in contact with, office staff talk and I know I personally have asked staff what they have thought about a potential employee and what they were like as they waited.
So put a smile on your face, be outgoing, be conversational, do not interrupt the interviewer. Shake their hand firmly and look them right in their eyes. Good luck! Today could be the first day of a new beginning!
If you have any specific questions or are looking for more detailed advice feel free to leave a comment below!