The job market is very competitive, and like it or not, we are just one face in a crowd, all baying for the same employment opportunities. Whether you are fresh out of college or are looking for a career change, entering the job market is an intimidating place to be. There are times when you may consider giving up, day after day applying for positions, only to be rejected a few days down the line.
Here is some advice you may find helpful.
Think outside of the box
What kind of job are you looking for? It may be that you are applying for something that isn’t suited to you or is not reflected on your resume. If you are looking for a job that is completely different to what you have done before, you are going to need to emphasize those skills that aren’t necessarily reflected in your previous positions. Likewise, if you are fresh from college, you haven’t built up a lot of experience in the job market yet, so consider how you are going to sell yourself.
Before going for an interview, make a list of all the skills you possess. Think outside of the box a little. Do you enjoy video games? Then you have a good hand and eye coordination. Enjoy reading? You have a good attention span. Use the internet a lot to find things you are interested in? You have excellent research skills. There are resume writing services online which will help you sell your worth to a potential employer, or speak to a local career service.
A good interview
The night before the interview make sure you get a good night’s sleep. Map out the travel for the next day, so you know where you are going to and how long it will take to get there. Arrive a few minutes early to give you the opportunity to relax, go through your resume and notes, and go to the bathroom if you need too. On entry at the company, be pleasant to everybody you meet. You need to convey a good impression, and chances are the interviewer will ask other staff members for their thoughts on you.
When you are finally called into the interview room, act confidently even if you’re not. Smile, say hello and give the interviewer a firm handshake. If there is an interview panel, you don’t necessarily need to go around the table shaking everybody’s hand, as it may feel unnatural. Do whatever feels right. At the very least, walk in, say hello, take your seat and maintain your composure.
When asked a question, give the person eye contact and think through your answer. Don’t worry if you need time to think, provided it doesn’t take more than a couple of minutes. The interviewer will be looking to see how you handle a stressful situation, so be thoughtful, and if needed, ask the interviewer to repeat the question. If you feel your mouth drying up, it is perfectly acceptable to ask for a glass of water.
Embrace the fact that you are willing to learn. Express your dedication in wanting to know more about the company. Ask about training opportunities, and show a willingness to be flexible even if it means starting at the bottom of the company ladder. Give examples of your dedication to other job roles, or if your resume is thin, talk about other pursuits, sports, hobbies, etc. where you have achieved something.
Remember the interview is a two-way process. You need the job as much as the company needs a good employee. Ask any questions you have at the end of the interview. Focus more on training and development opportunities rather than the salary. The money will be useful, but the employer wants to see your commitment to the company.
If you still continue to struggle to get a job, look for volunteering opportunities. While it is preferable to volunteer for something relevant to the work you are looking for, any experience is handy for the job market. It will improve your resume, enhancing the skills you already possess. Also, it may be time to head back to school, whatever your age, and go for any qualifications for your chosen calling. Apply for financial aid to see you through the course.
Above all, don’t give up. Being unemployed may make you feel useless, but you’re not. You are worth something, so persevere, and stand out from the crowd.