Job hunting essentials

12:51 PM

We have all been there. Job hunting can be one of the most stressing experiences, especially in the current situation we live in. I have heard and lived a fair share of horror stories. Sending hundreds of applications and getting no call backs. Uploading a resume only to discover that the information needs to be entered manually. Spending half an hour on an application and then not being able to send it due to a glitch in the system.

The recruitment process is often outdated. While it is refreshing to see companies like Trivago that are redesigning the process to make it more efficient, it doesn’t happen often. However, there is little we can do. We have to deal with it, take a deep breath and do our best to make it work. But how?

Have your tools ready

  • Send an updated version of your CV - even when you have not changed jobs, it is probable that at least a section of your CV is outdated. Small but important details such as phone number or skills can make the difference between getting a call back or not. 
  • Use a modern CV template - While every country and industry has its preferred resume styles, search for modern and sophisticated templates. Use newer fonts and add a bit of color to catch the eye of recruiters. You don't have to be a designer. Online programs like Canva have beautiful templates that you can customize and export. 
  • Send a cover letter -writing a cover letter demonstrates your communication skills and interest in the position. Create a template and adapt it to the opportunity you are applying to. I know it takes time but what I find useful is to have a few templates adapted to different positions. If you apply to similar jobs, you will save time.
  • Have a portfolio ready and include a link to it- this is maybe used more in the communications industry, but having pieces of work that showcase your skills is important. Depending on your specialization, your portfolio will vary. Whenever I send an application, I include a link to my blog and website. I have received great feedback from recruiters.
  • Have an updated Linkedin profile - Make sure that your photo isn't a selfie and pay attention to spelling. Your profile should be an extension of your resume. Recruiters do check Linkedin every time they are interested in a candidate. Having an optimal profile also can relieve you of some work when applying. Some companies accept your Linkedin profile as your resume so you don't have to manually enter all the information. Ambinity shared a great list of recommendations on how to use Linkedin. Check it out here.
  • Have references ready - Some companies don't care as much about this but others request it. Have the phones, emails, positions and names of your references ready so you don't have to take longer time filling an application. Also, remember to let your references know you are including them.
  • Have an email signature - sometimes job ads specify that you send an email with your resume and cover letter instead of replying directly to the ad. Having a professional email signature (and a professional email!) ensures that your contact information is readily available. It also gives you the chance to include your website, blog or Linkedin profile, simplifying the recruiter's work an increasing your visibility.

… And your mind ready

  • Rehearse your answers - most questions asked by interviewers are very standard. You can find online comprehensive lists of possible questions. Practice them in advance and have a clear answer for questions you are likely to be asked.
  • Don't say you're doing nothing - even if you are unemployed, recruiters don't want to hear that. You can show yourself as a person who likes being active by saying that you are working on personal projects, taking an online class, doing freelance jobs or volunteering.
  • Be confident - if you don't believe in yourself, your interviewers will notice. Be confident when answering and don't use words or phrases that can imply doubt such as "maybe", "I hope so", "hopefully", “I think I can".
  • Don't underestimate yourself - what you might think is insignificant can actually be the reason why you get hired. For the longest time I thought I was not "good enough" on graphic design. Yet it was one of the reasons why I was hired in previous jobs.
  • Don't send applications to jobs you're not interested in - this may sound crazy but taking any job is not something I would recommend (unless you are in an absolute necessity). Through time, those jobs become a burden, impacting your emotional health. A lack of interest often translates into low performance. I'm not saying that you should only apply to jobs you absolutely love, but it's important that the position has at least something that appeals to you.
  • Take a break once in a while - being unemployed is stressful enough. So adding to that a process in which you are constantly trying to prove yourself, being scrutinized and often facing rejection, is exhausting. Be aware of not compromising your emotional and mental health. Watch a movie, read a book, study something, go for a walk. I've been told that the job search is like a job itself and it couldn't be truer.
  • Don't lose hope - you will find a job. I promise you, you will.

No matter which career path you choose, following these recommendations will help you be prepared for the employment-search nightmare.

What do you do to be ready?

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