A close friend of mine is a recent university grad and still desperately looking for a job. He’s doing all the right stuff; going to job fairs, getting advice on improving resumes and cover letters, volunteering in all of his free time, constantly improving himself. Why is it that some people seem to have jobs just fall into their laps while others work their hole off for everything?! Despite all his efforts, he isn’t getting any bites.
I’d like to consider myself fairly lucky in the job department. Anytime I’ve wanted a job, I’ve gotten one. I’m a fairly tenacious woman who, when I decide I want something, I find a way to have it. I do my best to see through failures and learn from mistakes. When I was young, 15-16 years old, I started the job hunt after I promised mom my grades wouldn’t suffer. I made up a resume, having friends and family double and triple check it before I headed out. I had zero experience in the interview department so it scared me. I ended up applying and gaining interviews for four jobs before I landed my first job, each ”Sorry, we’ve decided to go with someone else” phone call gave me a set of new skills that I applied to the next interview until I had enough interview skills to land a job I wanted.
The first thing I learned, was to be confident in speaking. Even if you’re scared shitless, fake it. Fake it until you make it to be exact. I’m not suggesting you lie about anything but even if you don’t feel confident going into an interview you can’t let them know it! Put on a game face as if you’re ready to nail the interview. Only speak about topics you know and if you’re asked questions on a matter you don’t know the answer to, confidently answer the question in such a way the ensures them even though you don’t have an answer now, you’ll find one. Give them no doubt about your abilities to get things done.
Don’t be desperate
There’s no bigger professional turn off than to come across as being desperate. Even if you’re interviewing for your dream job, stay calm, cool and collected. During my first job interview I pretty much told them point-blank that I was desperate for a job and would do anything they wanted, which of course isn’t true. If they wanted me to work until 2am on a school night, I wasn’t going to do it. I figured once I got the job I could work on details but you need to lay out your own personal stipulations, like hours worked, during the interview.
If you come in looking like a desperate maniac they may assume it is how you are all of the time. There is fine line of making sure your confidence is coming across and looking truly desperate.
When I was in my first year of university, there was a job I really wanted. I had zero experience in the field but I knew I could do it. I knew I could pick the skills up and I knew I would be an excellent candidate. I just had to convince the manager to hire me over a well qualified and educated person. It worked. She said it was my tone and confidence during the interview that convinced her. She said she had no doubt I would be able to do the job and she would teach me. She was impressed with how much I had researched the job and that I wasn’t willing to sacrifice my entire life for a job hence me telling her exactly what I could and could not work. What started as a five month summer job turned into a five year gig. I never gave her an opportunity to regret hiring me.
Pictures on resumes
Attaching a head shot to your resume can go either way. For me, it’s worked. When someone is looking to hire and they look at a resume for an average time of 5-6 seconds, you need to stand out. Not many people attach pictures to resumes (unless of course you’re in a field like acting) so it’s a guarantee that you’ll get a look at. Humans are very visual beings. We see a picture and we instantly want to know more about the person behind the picture. Your resume will, if nothing else, get more than the average 5-6 second once-over. Even if I didn’t end up getting the job, it was reaffirmed during the interview process that they liked the idea of a picture. Sometimes it was my picture alone that got me the interview since, during the early days, I had little skills to offer.
There is always a good and bad way to go about doing something, interviews included. Make sure you do your homework about the job before setting foot into an interview and review your resume. You may think you know your own resume but having a quick look-over before heading into the interview will give you an idea for lines of questioning. If you don’t get a job, find out why. Ask what it was that you didn’t have and how you could have improved. Apply these lessons to your next interview and before long, you’ll get that job!
What’s the best thing you learned from a job you didn’t get?