How’s your job hunt going?
Let me guess… It’s shitty, right? You edited your resume dozens of times. You even wrote a nice cover letter. But nothing. Nada.
And so you’re feeling defeated. Your college debt is piling up. Mom and dad are wondering what went wrong. And you’re bitter at everyone else who seems to be doing better than you.
Yep. I hear ya.
I was so depressed when I graduated college and joined the full-time working world. No more shitty retail jobs or mixing drinks at Starbucks, I was assured. It’s off to the big companies with that college degree!
Dare to dream, right?
Now, listen up. Here’s what you’re going to do:
APPLYING TO A JILL JOB (i.e. retail)
Your resume has to focus on these things:
- Proven experience providing excellent customer service
- Reliability and flexibility
- Positive “can-do” attitude
- Creative problem solving skills
- Good sales record
- People skills
If the job posting doesn’t ask for a college degree, leave it off. Having a college degree means you have (or had) plans. The hiring manager will hire a high school dropout before they hire you. Why? Because you’re more likely to quit this job for something better–you’re more likely to be actively looking for something better [or related to your degree]. There goes all that wasted training.
APPLYING TO A FANCY PANTS JOB (i.e. office)
Tailor your resume and cover letter to every damn job you apply to. I’m being serious. Pretend you’re HR and you’re casually looking through hundreds of resumes. HR is not going to evaluate every single resume and decide who is the better candidate. No. HR is going to eliminate resumes from the pile.
First, they’re going to get rid of resumes with irrelevant education and qualifications. Oh you went to school for Biochemistry and you have a retail background? Don’t apply to a job in finance. Next, they’re going to get rid of the candidates without college degrees. Easy. Next, they’re going to get rid of the candidates whose resumes look incomplete, generic, or unprofessional. The pile keeps getting smaller!
You need to tailor your experiences to the job posting. Be a parrot! Spoon feed your candidacy to HR. This will make you look like the most qualified applicant. Don’t forget to make your resume keyword rich. A lot of the bigger companies use resume sorting software that looks for specific keywords. Sprinkle the keywords [meaningfully] throughout your resume.
PUTTING YOURSELF OUT THERE (i.e. being relevant)
Sending resumes is not enough. You have to make yourself relevant. You have to stand out from everyone else. Make a really solid profile on Linked In and add your classmates, friends, and family. Look up people who work at the companies you’re interested in. You don’t even have to be that specific. If you’re interested in finance, look for people who work in finance. Google and Twitter are useful sources too.
Get in touch. Reach out to these people and request an informational interview over the phone or in person. You want to gather information about the company and the industry. Not only will this help your candidacy, but it’ll help with your search. You’ll get a sneak peek from an insider’s perspective on the industry you’re trying to enter.
Be genuine, nice, and personable. You’re building a relationship with this person. Be interested in what they have to say, and respect their time. Ask them to introduce you to people they think could help you. Make sure they know how appreciative you are. Don’t forget to send a thoughtful thank you letter afterwards.
How’s your job hunt going?