When I was preparing to move from Toronto to London, I knew I’d need to look for a new job, and that I would need to spruce up my resume and interview skills before beginning to apply. In this day and age, people change jobs much more frequently than they did in the past. Whether it is a lack of interest in your current field, interest in a new field, getting let go, or deciding to quit, you’re going to need to get focused on the next steps to finding a new job. For me, at the risk of sounding vain, I have always seemed to interview well, and having changed jobs fairly often, I have a surefire approach to landing an interview, acing that interview, being hired, and gaining that company’s respect and positive references for the future. I want to use my personal experience with job-hunting to help any of you out there who are in the market to utilize the resources that are out there, and help you land that dream job!
I’m going to break it down into some easy-to-follow steps for each stage of the process!
Part 1 – landing the interview
Step 1. Create a visually appealing resume
Creative people, let your creativity shine! These days, companies are looking for a resume that stands out and will catch their eye; with the large amount of people who are looking for work, every resume begins to look the same after a while, and having something that is different is key! For those of us who are not the greatest with technology, Etsy is a fantastic tool. I purchased a zip file from Etsy with a resume template, and a business card template was also included. This allowed me to edit the template with my own personal information, and gave me a standout resume that I wasn’t able to create on my own.
Step 2: Amp up your confidence
Confidence is key when it comes to applying for jobs. Building that confidence is difficult depending where you are at currently with yourself, but I always take a moment before I finish my resume, as well as before an interview, and just tell myself how great I am. I make a list of some of my accomplishments, no matter how small. If I recently made a fantastic pot of soup, great, that’s on the list. Did I edit a document for a friend and it really helped them? Awesome, on the list. I go through that list and really pump myself up about things that I have accomplished, and use that confidence to aid my resume writing, as well as my interview persona. If your resume sounds confident (but not cocky or arrogant) employers are more likely to be interested in interviewing you, and confident language is key. Use words that will explain the ability you have in a professional manner – such as ‘liaised’, ‘coordinated’, or ‘spear-headed’. If you accepted the daily mail for your building, you ‘liaised with delivery services on a day to day basis’. See the difference? The confident tone of the language that you use makes all of the difference.
Step 3: Write a confident cover letter draft for each field
When applying for a job, be sure to have a fantastic cover letter, stating the intent you have for your future job, and outlining some key aspects of your character and accomplishments. Use the confidence that you built in step 2, and write a cover letter that is tailored to the type of position you are applying for. Having a general format is great, but tailoring to the specific type of role is key. For example, if I were to be applying to be a gardening manager, I’d highlight my interest in different plants, talk about my knack for scheduling and timing, which would ensure the correct timing for watering. If I were to be applying to work at Bill’s Hot Dog Land, I would talk about my skills with commanding a room when needed, dealing with difficult customers with patience, and experience with retail and/or children and families. While having a basic outline for your cover letter, having parts that are tailored to the job you are applying for is key, and mentioning the company you are applying to and eagerness to be a part of the brand is also a very important aspect to include.
Step 4: Establish personal job preferences that are non-negotiable
Before applying for jobs, sit down and make a list of some non-negotiable things that are necessary for your future job. Not too keen to work on weekends, but free during the week? Write it down. Want something that is easy to commute to, and won’t take you an hour or more to get to? Be sure to write that down so that you will only look for jobs within the distance range that is best for you. Having these things written down before you even apply will help you to make discerning decisions during the job application process. There is always a couple of jobs that seem to push the limits on what you would like, and having some solid guidelines to base yourself on will make a significant difference in the long run.
Step 5. Utilize job advertising sites
There are a lot of different job advertising sites, and they are significantly useful for almost any type of job that you are looking for. A lot of the time, companies need to get the word out that they are hiring, and need to find a way to filter the responses they are getting. They tend to use different job advertising sites, and for those who are applying for these jobs, it can also be very useful, as you can upload your resume directly to an account you create, and then you can just hit the “apply” button on adverts that interest you, and it does all the work for you! It makes things simpler, quicker, and easier to apply for more jobs in a shorter amount of time.
Step 6: Look for recruitment agencies
When I was looking for work for the past few times that I was job hunting, I used a recruitment service. They are easy to find online, and usually you can enquire via email about whether or not they are taking new recruits on. This type of service does not cost you, and can be very beneficial. There are typically two different ways in which they recruit for companies; the first would be on a temporary basis, where you will be employed by the recruitment service on behalf of the company, and be paid by them directly. The second way in which you could be recruited, is a long-term contract or permanent employment role. For this type of role, the company will pay the recruitment agency a large fee to find them an ideal candidate, and you will then be employed by the company directly. Regardless of the way in which you are employed, the recruitment agency is keen to get you hired, as they will be getting paid by the company for finding them an employee, whether that be temporarily or long-term, which means that they will work diligently on your behalf!
Step 7: Apply for anything and everything
The last thing that I always do, is apply for anything and everything within the guidelines of the list I made in step 4. If there are some jobs that have everything I would want in a job, but I do not have the level of experience that is required, I apply anyway. It does not matter if I may not meet their standards, there is no harm in putting your name out there. If you have a great resume that really stands out, employers may be more willing to take you on, even though you lack the experience that they require. There is always a chance that they are having a difficult time recruiting for the role, and they may be more flexible with their expectations. Within your cover letter that was mentioned in step 3, if you come across as very confident and eager to excel at your new position, you are more likely to brought in for an interview.
Good luck, and happy hunting!!!