Searching for a new job is probably one of the most frustrating experiences. It’s definitely on my list of least favorite things about being an adult. But it’s not worse than staying stuck in a job that is no longer serving you. Whether you’re trying to break into a new field or upgrade your current sitch, job hunting is a part of life– might as well figure out how to make the most of it!
If you’re struggling to get an interview, there may be a few things you could do differently in the application/resume process that will help. And if you’re landing interviews and nothing is panning out, I have a few tips that might just get you where you want to go!
So let’s jump in.
The Job Hunt & Applications
First, let’s talk about how you’re finding work. If you’re only finding jobs on places like Indeed or We Work Remotely, you should know those employers are getting hundreds of applications, so you need to be sure to stand out. Which can be difficult, honestly. Reach out to your network, like Michael suggested in his recent video, 5 Actions to Get Paid. If you have a friend or family member vouching for you, it’s more likely that potential employers will look at your application and give you a call. Don’t ask for any special treatment, you’ll still follow the same process as everyone else, but if you can get someone to put a word in for you, do!
Next, be sure to read the application thoroughly at least two (hundred) times. Make sure that you fit the qualifications. There’s no sense in applying for a senior level developer job when you are looking for your first job in development. However, if you do have a lot of experience in a field but no college degree, I suggest applying for jobs that say they require a degree anyways.
Fun fact: I do not have a degree, but when I applied for my current job, the job posting said the position required a 4-year degree. I knew I had the skills to do the job so I felt comfortable applying anyways. I was always honest about not having finished college and why. I was able to show that I have the skills necessary to do the job well, and it worked out!
- Make Sure Your Resume Looks Professional
Your resume needs to look amazing. I, personally, use a template that I downloaded from Etsy. That way, I know for sure that the layout is clean and presentable and organized. Make sure your resume only contains relevant and recent information. If you are 30 and you’ve worked 15 jobs, you don’t need to list all 15. No one today wants or needs to know that I worked at Walgreen’s when I was 17.
- Match Your Resume to Each Job Listing
Once you find the job you’d like to apply for, make sure that the information on your resume reflects the job posting. You should update your resume to reflect every job you apply for. No major changes, and NO LIES. Just small tweaks here and there that highlights skills you have that match the job you are applying for.
You’re a marketer applying for a digital marketing coordinator position. The job posting says that the ideal candidate will have experience with optimizing a website for search results. You do this in your current role and have had great results. In your experience section you should list this as one of the things you do, and the results you’ve seen. Example:
Marketing Associate at XYZ Company 2017-Present
[brief overview of your job description]
-Optimize the company website to improve search results rankings. Increased traffic on the company website by 35% from 2017-2020
- Highlight Relevant Skills and Certifications
If you are trying to switch to a new career and your experience so far has not been relevant to the job you are currently applying for, make sure to mention skills that are similar, and that you are learning and practicing the skill. For example, I spent over 6 years as a nanny. I loved being a nanny, but after a while, I decided I wanted to do something different. I began learning all about digital marketing, front end web development, and anything even semi-related. On my resume, I had to list that I was a nanny because that’s what I’d done for over 6 years. In my day-to-day as a nanny, I mostly changed diapers and played with babies. But I also spent nap times and my free time learning how to build websites and getting certifications from Google and Hubspot. So I listed those actions and certifications on my resume. This showed that I was committed to a long-term job, but was also taking it upon myself to grow my skill set. That got me a part time contract job at a marketing agency and thus began my career in marketing! I worked this contract job alongside my full time nanny job for over a year before I was able to make the switch to full time marketing. It was exhausting, but totally worth it because I’ve since almost doubled my salary.
- Enlist The Help of a Third Party Editor
Have someone review your resume! Do not send it to a single potential employer until at LEAST one other set of eyes has been on it. You will not notice small mistakes, but someone else will. These small details can make the difference between getting a call or getting your resume tossed in the trash. Call your bestie, your mom, your high school english teacher, anyone. They’ll be happy to take 5 minutes to read over it and point out any mistakes.
Once you’ve gotten a call to interview, you might begin to get nervous. But remember that you are OKAY. It’s normal to feel nervous. Here are a few things I do to calm my nerves:
-Remember that I am qualified for this job.
-Realize that people generally like me when they meet me. The interviewers should be no different.
-Remember it’s okay to say that you don’t know the answer to something.
-You’re just chatting with people. While it’s weird to talk about yourself so much, it’s ultimately no different from chatting with your dog, which lets be honest, you do that all the time anyways.
-They called you for an interview because they believe you are well suited for the job. Which is true! You can do this job!
My number 1 Interview Tip:
Imagine that you’re going in to see old friends you really like to hang out with! This seems so simple, but if you go into an interview with this mindset, you will be surprised at how much more relaxed and comfortable you are. You’ll be able to chat, make jokes, and connect more easily. If you go into it feeling intimidated and hoping they like you, you’re going to act nervous and not be yourself. Treating your interviewer like one of your long time friends can make all the difference. Now, I’m not saying you should show up in your pajamas with a bottle of wine in hand, I’m just saying to be genuinely happy to be spending time with them and getting to know them better.
Ask Good Questions
Additionally, review the job posting before your interview, and make sure to come up with questions about the job itself. It’s also a good idea to ask about the company and your interviewer as well. Questions about the company’s values, what they’re doing to promote employee loyalty, and what your interviewer loves about their position can tell you a lot about the company. If they don’t have any values listed or the interviewer can’t say what the company does to keep their employees happy, that might be a good sign that it’s not a company you want to be at!
And that’s it! Landing a great job can make all the difference in your long-term financial health. If you follow these tips, you’re sure to land an awesome new gig!
What are some of your favorite tips and tricks for interviewing?! Have you ever had any really awkward interview experiences??