When the job market is tight, it may be tempting to cut corners on your job search, but for the sake of landing a position, please don’t. When it’s a buyer’s market, you owe it to yourself and your family to put your best foot forward. To stand out, there are three key factors you need to concentrate on—your resume, interview skills, and a follow-up strategy.
While a homespun resume would have garnered interviews in the past, in a tight market you have to step up your game.
Here are several options:
- Search for a professional—a Nationally Certified Resume Writer or someone who works at a One-Stop Center. A professionally written resume can make the difference between getting called in for an interview and getting overlooked.
- To ensure the best possible service, ask to look at the writer’s resume samples. Don’t get caught up in all of the hype regarding certifications and publications - quality work trumps credentials.
- Use the Internet to familiarize yourself with different resume styles. Review the format and content of your current resume. Ensure that it clearly defines the position you are seeking and succinctly describes your skills, experience and knowledge that makes you the best candidate for the job. Remember that our industry seeks candidates who are technologically and fiscally astute.
Admit it. How many interviews have you gone on without preparing? In a job-seeker-friendly market when companies are clamoring for great employees, the “wing it” method works just fine. But to compete in today’s market, you have to invest time getting acquainted with common interview questions and sample responses.
To get you started, here are a few.
Many candidates have submitted their resume for consideration. Why should I hire you over other qualified candidates?
Keep in mind that the interviewer is interested in your candidacy. That is the reason you are interviewing for the position. When answering this question, mention the three main reasons you stand out from others. Depending on your position, reasons can include your proficiency in account management, customer service, and/or strategic planning.
What do you know about our company?
There is a difference between wanting a job and taking a sincere interest in working for the hiring organization. There are no shortcuts to answering this question successfully; you have to conduct research.
What areas of your abilities would you like to improve upon?
This is a tricky way of asking, “What is your greatest weakness?” Choose an ability that needs improvement, but isn’t an integral part of your job.
The interview isn’t over when you walk out of the interviewer’s office. Chances are, many candidates interviewed for the position before you did and many more will interview for the position after you. To remain competitive, it is essential that you write a follow-up letter.
This is advice most job seekers tend to ignore. And it’s a shame because the follow-up letter can seal a job offer. This is because only a small percentage of job seekers write a follow-up letter, so those who do take the time to write one stand out.
Below is a sample of a follow-up letter:
Thank you for the opportunity to interview for your opening.
The level of professionalism displayed by the associates I met was impressive. Each was warm and exuded a level of enthusiasm. My initial impression of was solidified during our interview.
From the information you relayed during our meeting, my qualities are a direct fit with the job opening.
Please know that I remain interested in working at . If necessary, I’m open to attending another round of interviews to explore this opportunity further.
Following the advice above will make you more confident. Confidence leads to more interviews, which hopefully will lead to job offers that provide career satisfaction.
Author Linda Matias is certified in all three areas of the job search - Certified Interview Coach (CIC), Job & Career Transition Coach (JCTC), and Nationally Certified Resume Writer (NCRW). She is a contributing writer to over 15 career-related books. You can visit her website www.careerstrides.com
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