So, I recently started working at a new organization, and man oh man was it a journey to get here. I spent the last 4 months researching, applying, networking and sometimes- straight up stress crying while looking for a job that I would enjoy, that would help me grow, and still pay a decent wage.
SOOOOO, here are a few pointers from my experience so you do not have to make the same mistakes I did!
• Apply, Apply, Apply!
And I mean everywhere. See a job you like but comes with a long commute? Apply!
See an organization you absolutely adore, but the only open position isn’t your dream job? Might as well apply.
See a job you would like to have someday but think you are under-qualified for? APPLY!
The only real way to ensure you don’t get a job is not applying, so you might as well try your luck everywhere.
Customization Is Key
With all the jobs you’re gonna apply to, it can seem tempting to draw up a generic resume that could be used for most roles. However, I would strongly suggest modifying your resume to reflect the skill set and experiences most suited to the role.
Another area you can portray your creativity in is your cover letter! Starting out, my cover letters were a simple summary of every role I had been in and my duties and responsibilities in that role.
However, customizing each letter to portray the reason for your interest in a specific role, your skills that make you the successful candidate for this role, and highlight relevant professional and educational experiences that support your claims can go a long way!
Think of your resume as a list of your experiences, and your cover letter as a way to pitch that list.
Keep it Short and Simple!
Another mistake I kept making was writing too much!!! My resume, which is now about a page and a half, initially started out at THREE long pages full of text. My cover letter was lengthy too, often crossing the two page mark.
But, editing consistently helped weed out experiences, words, and sentences that simply served no purpose. For example, I had a ton of volunteering experience I wanted to portray which took up a whole page.
Instead of trying to modify that section, I created an additional supplementary document consisting solely of my volunteering experience and references which is separate from my resume.
Similarly, writing your cover letter with the specific job requirements and responsibilities can be extremely helpful as you can once again weed out redundant statements. Ideally, I end my cover letter at the one-page mark.
Is Networking Really That Important?
Short answer, yes. Long answer- YEEEEEES. Networking sessions especially, provide you with the opportunity to meet and socialize with professional executives in a controlled learning environment. The possibilities here are endless.
In fact, a large part of looking for my current role involved networking and forming a virtual network of like-minded professionals who either had the ability to provide me with interesting and appropriate opportunities, or those who had similar interests and goals as me and were looking for similar opportunities.
Use the Internet Well!
The internet is a massive well of data. A large subsection of this data is dedicated to helping you find a job!!! Yes, really. Not only is the internet a great place to look in terms of job opportunities, but also a great place to find resources to apply to these opportunities.
Platforms like LinkedIn put in a great deal of work to integrate both, career opportunities as well as resources. Other websites include Indeed, Workopolis, and Google Jobs. To look for more specialized jobs, a great place to start would be researching specific industry opportunities.
Often, these can be found on a single specialized website or portal. For example, when I was actively looking for a position in a start-up or entrepreneurial environment, I used LinkedIn to connect with executives in organizations I was interested in and directly messaged them for available opportunities.
Not much to this one. I know it’s hard, but being confidence, or at least pretending to be confident definitely helped me improve my interview skills. Fake it till u make it friends!