Looking for a job can be a daunting process. With resumes, cover letters and an online presence to keep track of it can be tough to know where to start. But don’t let this overwhelm you; with a bit of effort and a thoughtful plan, you can make your job dreams a reality! Here are some expert tips and tricks to help you confidently propel yourself into the working world.
STEP ONE: Clean Up Your Online Self.
Think that a potential employer isn’t going to check out your social media just because it’s an entry level job? Think again. The breadcrumbs you leave online can leave a false impression of the person you truly are. If you do not monitor your online presence you can come across as a party-girl, complainer or trash-talker, none of which make you seem like a promising employee.
To prevent this fate when looking for a job the first thing you should do is Google your name and location. See what comes up and what it says about you. Facebook and Twitter not showing you in the best light? Modify your name and then create a second account which reflects a more professional you. Additionally, no employer is going to take you seriously with an email address like “firstname.lastname@example.org”. Get a another account with a more professional handle.
STEP TWO: Don’t Fear the Resume.
Resumes don’t have to be dull! There are numerous resources online to help you create a resume that is both functional and stylish. To make your resume stand out start out with a unique template. Most applicants will just hand in a plain text-only resume that will make an employer’s eyes glaze over.
Fear not! Great (and free!) resume templates are all over the web. Hloom.com is a good source for creative templates that you can edit in Word. Choosing a template that lets you use a photo is a fantastic way to make employers remember you. Just be sure it’s a professional looking photo. No group shots from the beach.
The first thing underneath your name and contact information should be your “ABOUT ME” section. This should be no more than two to three sentences that highlight your skills and personality traits most important to the job you’re applying for. Applying for a job in the hospitality industry? Tell them about your sparkling personality and honed interpersonal skills. Going for an administrative position? Point out your amazing attention to detail and organizing prowess. Side note this section is also highly applicable when creating your Linkedin profile.
Whether you attended/are currently attending college, university, vocational school, or anything in between be sure to make your experience in education prominent. Show off your academic accomplishments! Beneath your school, note your majors, minors and any awards or honors received. You may also wish to include your GPA but if you had a rough semester don’t sweat it. It is recommended to list any additional training or non-accredited education you have as well along with the institution’s name.
Underneath the “About Me” is where you list your “EXPERIENCE.” If you’re going for your first job, you probably don’t have much “professional experience.” Don’t fret! It is more than acceptable to include volunteer work, school committees, tutoring, web site work, internships, etc.
Essentially anyone who can vouch for your greatness except your mom. Preferably, references should be professors, former bosses, coaches, colleagues or anyone you have worked with in a professional or organized setting. Before sharing their contact info on your resume first ask them if they’d be willing to be a reference. If they agree provide their name, email, telephone number and relationship to you (“teacher”, “coach”, “child-care employer”, etc.)
STEP THREE: Embrace the Cover Letter
Take this seriously. Very often the cover letter is what gets you the job, as it allows you to write on a more personal level and express why you want the job. This is the place where you can stand out from the rest of the crowd. So why do so many first time applicants blow off the cover-letter? Because it’s a lot of work. Each job should have a personalized cover letter, because every company is different. First, make sure you do your research.
If you’re applying to be at the concierge desk at a mid-priced “kid-friendly” hotel, your cover letter is going to be very different than one for a swanky, hip luxury hotel. Whereas in the former you’d want to highlight your friendliness, teamwork and experience with children, you’ll want to showcase your professionalism, communication skills and attention to detail for the latter. Downloadable cover letter templates can be found at apollostemplates.com
STEP FOUR: Get on the Prowl!
When looking for a job online sites like indeed.com are helpful, but keep in mind hundreds of people are looking at the same jobs as you. So don’t underestimate the power of hitting up the people around you! Networking is key when breaking into any industry. Make it known you’re looking for a job. Do your parents have friends that work in the industry you’re interested in? Got a favorite professor? Be sure to let them know you’re in the market for an opening.
Additionally, the internet is an amazing place so you can also reach out to people and influencers who you don’t know. If you find a person or business online that you admire and can see yourself working for send them a cold email, a Linkedin DM, or a DM on social media, you never know who will respond and what doors it could open. Like they say: “It’s all about who you know.”
STEP FIVE: Don’t Give Up and Don’t Get Down
True, it’s rough out there – but a job rarely plops itself on your lap. If you haven’t heard back within 10 days, give them a call or shoot them a follow-up email. Don’t be scared to go for a job you think is a long shot. While looking for a job is a scary prospect, you are more qualified than you think and you’ll never know who is willing to take a chance on you if you don’t ask.