It's common knowledge that the job market hasn't been in the best shape the past couple of years and it's creating an unusually competitive arena for all of us. Employers seem to only be looking for the crème de le crème of people who will be the best fit for their business.
However, this doesn't mean you should be afraid to go after a great job just because you might think you're not qualified. If you can present yourself with the right skill set, likability and passion, you've already tackled half the beast. Understanding how to land an interview, present well in this interview, and then have proper follow up afterwards are the three things you must perfect in order to be the quintessential candidate for the job you already know you'd be right for.
First Steps: Landing an Interview
The first and utmost important thing to consider when applying for a job is having a killer resume. You might not think you have as much experience as the guy who has three internships on his resume, but you still have a chance based on the way you set up your job experience in relation to the position you're applying for.
Remember, employers are looking for candidates that have RELATIVE experience. Create a story with each piece of work experience (hoping that you've had at least one or two jobs up to this point) by focusing on the skills you think an employer would like to see.
Do you have experience with managing people? Have you garnered revenue for your past employers? Did you excel in one particular area of your past company and do you have statistics to back it up? These are just a few things you need to consider in order to piece your work experience together in a way that an employer can you see you’re fit for the position.
Create a solid foundation with your resume and then send it to everyone you're close with who already has a job so they can provide you with suggestions. Chances are, in doing so, they might even pass it along to the HR department!
How many times have you heard the phrase, “it’s not always about what you know but, who you know"? Well, sometimes you don't happen to have a list of CEO's, VP's and head Exec's on your speed dial right out of college. Get out there and network!
Anyone who doesn't have a LinkedIn page and complains about not being able to find a job should really evaluate their employment strategy. After you have created your resume, you can literally add everything to your LinkedIn page and connect with the people you want to work with.
Do some digging and seek out a few people that led a similar path that you would like to venture down in the future. Shoot them an email and ask them for advice on how to go about getting your foot in the door in regards to your desired field. More times than not, you will get a response; especially if you lead with flattery.
Oh no..you've actually scored an interview with a legitimate company! What to do? RESEARCH. Before the interview, do as much research on the business as possible. Search recent news articles, learn about their brands/products, and understand how you could benefit their company. Look into their yearly and quarterly earnings reports.
You don't have to make sense of the whole thing, being that most of it seems like it's written in a foreign language, but try and gather at least one conclusion about it so that you can ask a question and show that you it made it a priority to prepare for the interview.
In doing this research, you will need to prepare a list of questions so when you are asked at the end of the interview, "So, do you have any questions for us?” you can answer, “Why, Yes of course!”. NEVER GO INTO AN INTERVIEW WITHOUT QUESTIONS.
One of the Account Execs that I work with mentioned to me recently that a potential candidate called in to ask her what he should wear to the interview. I laughed discretely and then quickly felt sorry for this guy that had no idea. Make sure to look your best for an interview by setting the bar at "Business Casual". I would suggest a suit--if you don't know own a suit, at least wear slacks and a tie.
So now you've done your research, you're knowledgeable about the business and what you can offer them, you've got a list of questions, and hey, you look damn good! Now it's time to put all your hard work to the test in the actual interview. Be confident, be positive and stay composed. Go into the interview with a mindset that you are trying to sell yourself and what you have to offer. Highlight the character traits you think would set you apart from the rest of the candidates.
Expressing that you are hardworking, detail-oriented and that you can work well in a team is all pretty basic in my opinion. You want to show that you have all of those things and more! Ultimately, be yourself, be coherent (don't be hung-over), and take it one question at a time.
The Follow Up
The follow up could be the difference between you getting the job and you never hearing from the company ever again. In the interview, remember to get a name and an email for every person you interview with. Within 30 minutes to an hour of your interview, follow up with a personalized email to each person.
Then, break out the stationary kit and write each person a personalized thank you card and drop it in the mail that day. Thank them for taking the time to interview you and try to include a comment that you think would resonate with them.
You've done your job; the rest is up to them.
Jacob Berman | Elite.