By Mike Mara
Finding a job may not always be easy but it certainly isn’t hopeless. A common misconception among job seekers is that there just isn’t enough employment out there right now to go around. However, the jobs are out there, and new positions continue to open up every day.
For many individuals who think they cannot find employment, the reality is that the work is out there, they just don’t have the right approach. The job search process is very similar to a marketing campaign. After all, you are trying to sell your skills and qualifications to the company you want to work for. The first step to improving one’s job search is not to think of themselves as a lost soul desperate for the first job that comes along, but as a marketing representative promoting the hottest product to hit the market.
The first way to go about this is by figuring out what it is that you excel at. What skills do you have that separate you from the rest of the pack? Once you have that, the next step is to find companies looking for those core skills. While conducting research on potential employers may not be the most glamorous aspect of the job search, it can be a great motivational tool to know you have what these companies are looking for.
Thanks to the marvels of modern technology, searching for a specific type of job has never been easier. A couple of keywords in any search engine can provide you with countless potential opportunities right at your fingertips. Once you identify the companies you consider to be a good fit, the next step is to get their attention.
Persistence is the key to success. Everyone has heard this phrase or one similar to it at some point in their lives, but not everyone has implemented it into their job search. With the ever-increasing number of individuals in this country looking for employment, simply posting your resume on a job search site and calling it a day doesn’t cut it. The same can be said for applying to a position and then doing nothing but impatiently waiting for a phone call or e-mail requesting an interview.
Think of how many other people there are right now that are looking at and applying for jobs they find online, the very same jobs you may be interested in. You may or may not be the most qualified for the position, but if your application is just another piece of paper in a large stack on an employer’s desk, you will never get the opportunity to find out.
I recommend keeping a record of every company that you apply to, along with the date you applied and the contact information for the company representative reviewing the applications. If you haven’t heard anything back about a position after a week, submit a follow up letter to the company. A follow-up basically lets them know that you are serious about getting the job. If you can reach the representative by phone, do so. Give them a call to let them know that you are still interested in the position.
The same can be said for after a job interview. Even though you may feel that you just aced that last interview, it isn’t time to celebrate just yet. Send the employer a thank you letter to reiterate what was discussed during the interview. Take the time to remind the interviewer how your specific skills and qualifications would serve as a positive contribution to the business. Always end the letter by thanking the interviewer for their time and restating your interest in the position. You may feel like you are being borderline annoying but what the interviewer will see is someone who is passionate about getting the job.
When it comes to marketing yourself during a job search, it can actually be helpful to brag a little. A resume that simply lists your past work experience, job duties and educational background probably isn’t going to turn too many heads. This is why its critical that you point out what made you shine in your past positions.
“I have clients come in all the time who have received numerous achievements at a job, be it an Employee of the Month Award or a promotion, but they originally don’t want to put that information in their resume because they feel that it would be considered show-boating,” says Mara. “But what good are those highlights to them moving forward in their career if no one knows about them?”
Perhaps in a previous position you were awarded a gift card for selling the largest amount of a certain product one month. While that may only appear as a free gift card to you, to a potential employer, it shows that you are someone with a proven ability to increase sales. The same goes for college students/graduates. Were you on the dean’s list a semester? Did you graduate with honors? Were you a member of any college organizations? All that information should go into your resume.
When conducting a job search the most important message that you want to convey to potential employers is that you are the right person for a specific job and why, over and over again.
Mike Mara is a senior writer and career development consultant for A Better Resume Service, Inc., www.betterresumes.com. He can be reached at (630) 527-8880.