I began graduate school knowing that when I was finished I wanted a job outside of Nevada. It’s not that I don’t like Nevada, it’s home after all, but I wanted a new experience, a chance to build a life in a new place. When the time came for my internship I did two – one in town and one telecommute for a company in San Francisco. Both were educational.
As my time in graduate school was nearing its end, I began looking for a job. I hate that sentence because it isn’t an accurate statement. I realize that my first job out of school most likely won’t be my life’s work, but I still want it to be part of that journey. I want to love my work, after all I have already spent 15 years working in an industry that I am good at, but don’t particularly love and money isn’t everything in life.
Since November I have applied to more than 50 jobs (Jobs I have applied to) and I would say that I have been proactive in my search. This is a whole new experience for me. I have been accustomed to going in to a business, handing in my resume, asking to speak with the manager and landing an interview either right then or that same week, and, at the end of the interview, being offered a job. This is not the case this time around. Also, the digital, journalism, branding and marketing environment is so different from optical.
Here are my tips for the job search:
- Be Patient and Persevere– it is said that patience is a virtue. So true. In the digital age of job hunting combined with the economic depression and number of eligible candidates landing a job in your desired field is a difficult task. Don’t take rejection personal and continue to push forward.
- Take initiative – don’t just submit a resume. Make sure to write a custom cover letter for each company you are applying to. If you know the name of the contact person, use it. If not, address the letter to the “hiring manager” and not simply “to whom it may concern”.
- Follow-up – many companies request no phone calls or mention that if they have a position that matches your skills they will be in contact. That is frustrating and makes you feel helpless. However, often times with start-ups if they are interested then you will be contacted by someone who works there. Respond as quickly as possible and follow-up.
- Express interest, don’t be over eager – be interested and enthusiastic, but don’t appear desperate. Desperation sends out warning signals and makes the hiring manager wonder why you are desperate. If you are genuinely interested and excited about the position, that can only be favorable to you. Don’t fake it – when you interview, they can tell if you are faking it.
- Be Professional and Unique – just because you have scored an interview does not mean you are going to get the job. You are still up against incredible competition. Make sure you speak clearly, confidently, and truthfully. The biggest mistake an applicant can make is to state that they have a skill or expertise in an area and then don’t – and trust me as a former manager, it’s obvious and very disappointing – not to mention makes you less trustworthy. Dress professional and appropriate for the position. However, if the position is in a casual office environment, you still need to dress nice. It may not necessarily require a suit, but it is always better to be over dressed than under dressed. If you have an opportunity to find out what the environment is like prior to an in person interview, do so! Wear one piece – an accessory like a piece of fashion forward jewelry or for guys colorful socks or tie, etc. A splash of color will help you to stand out from a sea of black. Men- make sure your suit fits. An over-sized suit looks as bad as under-dressing. This is your one chance to make a first impression! Women – no cleavage! Period. Nothing to form fitting! Period. Sexy is not appropriate or professional!
Looking for and finding a job is not an easy task. But patience and perseverance have been my saving grace. What are some of your tips for searching and landing a job?