The job market is incredibly competitive these days. With the increase in remote work and the need to fill positions, some companies have struggled to clearly define their needs. This results in longer interview processes, which exhaust job candidates and places a higher burden on employees juggling hiring interviews and their day-to-day work. Even if you have the right skills and you have a robust resume, you could still struggle to land the interest of the companies you want - or any companies at all.
take courses online
First, if typical candidates in your field boast certifications or LinkedIn course badges, they may look more appealing during job searches than you do. If certain certifications are required for your positions of interest, then you definitely need to prioritize studying for those.
For voluntary certifications and online courses, you show evidence of your high drive and interest in ongoing learning. There are lots of qualifications that could be relevant for your business. It’s just a matter of finding the choices that employers are interested in, whatever these may be. For instance, if you work admin in a medical clinic, you could think about exploring an option such as BLS certification. If you're in a specific field like IT or business development, look for articles in your trade magazines that outline the skills they forecast competitive employees will need in the next 5 or so years.
optimize your resume
Your resume should, at the minimum, have clear and consistent formatting, have your correct name and contact information, and be free of typos. Have a friend or spouse look over your resume to catch any mistakes you can no longer see. Save this final version as your Master Copy. Now, when you want to apply for a job, review the job description and qualifications. You should have some bullet points and sentences in your resume already that match these - but they may be in slightly different wording. Replace 2-3 of your phrases with their phrases to optimize your chances of getting through their ATS system. Save this as Resume-COMPANY.docx so you can reuse your master copy for another application.
build your personal brand
If you are looking to network with potential colleagues and employers, then building your personal brand will make you stand out from others they meet. Creating this brand and exhibiting it in your online presence as well as your informal networking, such as informational interviews (when you aren't looking for a job and thus have no ask), will help you settle into your "career identity" and b able to present yourself professionally and consistently during interviews. Consider being active on social media via professional accounts and updating your LinkedIn profile detailing all your professional attributes. On LinkedIn, follow tags and companies relevant to your industry, engage in posts on your feed, and repost things that interest you and match your brand.
find your confidence
When you attend job interviews, even ones over the phone, it is essential that you come across as someone with confidence. You only have a short time to impress your prospective employer so everything you do counts. If you are someone that lacks confidence you may be wondering where you are going to find some for your job interviews. The term fake it till you make it is key, and if you put on a show that still remains true to who you are, it may help you get to the next round.
Smiling while talking on the phone makes you sound more positive and outgoing. Wearing an outfit that makes you feel both comfortable and confident is important. If you aren't comfortable in pantsuits, but love skirtsuits, go with that. There are many ways to dress professionally and still be comfortable.
network in your industry
It’s often less about what you know and more about who you know, especially in close-knit industries where it seems like everyone knows everyone else.
The good news is that there are lots of tools that make networking a far easier process in your business. For instance, you might want to think about getting more active on social networks like LinkedIn. You can find local events or online events, see other attendees, and send them a message prior asking to connect with them. Set up a 15-minute phone call or coffee meeting as an informational interview.
find what employers want
Finally, you should think about what your employers want from you. Employers will always have a wish list of what they are searching for when filling a particular role - though they may not always be consistent with this throughout the interview process. Working with a recruiter is a helpful way to navigate hiring challenges. For example, for external recruiters, hiring managers pitch themselves and their position to the recruiter, and the recruiter helps them narrow down what they are really looking for and communicate that through a job description. You're able to get key insights from the recruiter as well as debrief after the interview.
Keep in mind, however, that the attributes they list in the job description likely match the existing teams and working culture they have. So, you want to make sure that it sounds like you will be a good fit - that your working style is consistent with team members in that department. You can ask about this further during an interview with questions like, "Can you describe what would make a new hire particularly successful in the first 2 - 6 months?"
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