Finding a job isn’t easy. Although unemployment rates were only at 6.3 percent in the month of May, it still seems like obtaining a job after graduation (or at any stage in life) is getting much more difficult. You spend day in and day out on job sites applying for jobs that just barely meet your personal requirements, just hoping to get an interview.
But sometimes, it may not be that the market isn’t great for hiring, it’s that you’re not doing all you can to impress future employers. Here are a few tips that could help you stand out in all areas of the job-hunting process:
Proofread, proofread, proofread.
This might leave you saying, “I know this, you don’t have to tell me that.” But trust me, even the most seasoned editor can sometimes miss the smallest detail that someone else will pick up. Whether it’s an email expressing interest, a cover letter, your resume, or any other form of written communication, it should be flawless.
It doesn’t matter what your field of choice is, being able to write without grammatical and spelling errors is extremely important to proving you are worthy of a position. You could have the best resume out of all your competitors, but one simple mistake could cost you the chance to interview, or even mean you lose the job to someone else.
Always send a thank you note. No, not an email; a handwritten note.
In the age of technology, sending a handwritten note is a bit of a rarity, making those you do receive truly special. If you’ve ever received a handwritten note in the mail, remember how that made you feel. Now, imagine if you were a hiring manager and you had been receiving hundreds of emails after interviewing for a position, and then you get a hand written thank you from a single applicant. It’ll make an impression.
Keep in mind, a handwritten thank you note won’t secure the position all on its own. You actually have to present yourself in a professional manner at the interview and have the skill set the company is looking for. Even though it might take a bit more time out of your day to buy a thank you card and spend time writing out each word, it’ll say a lot about your character, and maybe even put you ahead of other potential candidates.
Don’t forget to research your place of potential employment.
Seriously, don’t forget to do it. You don’t need to be able to recite the entire history of the company word for word, but if the hiring manager says, “What have you learned about our company since we called you for the interview?” you better know how to answer.
If possible, try to find something about the company that wouldn’t just be on their website. Actually research the company. Anyone can go to the “About Us” section and read what’s there, but it takes more skill to find information that is in the depths of the Internet.
Even if you aren’t directly asked a question in the interview, being able to talk intelligently about the company in casual conversation with the interviewer is important. It may not be a part of the official interview, but employers are assessing you from the moment they see you and every conversation matters.
You can fluff pillows, but not your resume.
It might be tempting, but it’s not smart. If you submit a resume and it doesn’t accurately represent your skill set, what happens if you get the chance to interview? Many companies are resorting to skill tests to ensure that their future employees aren’t bluffing about their skills. If you don’t know how to make a killer excel spreadsheet, don’t say you can for the sake of impressing your employer.
Be honest, but express your interest to learn the skill. Being able to admit your weaknesses will likely impress the employer and shows that you realize you’re not perfect.
Networking happens whether you know it or not.
We’ve all heard it before, but getting a job is all about who you know, not what you know. A lot of the time, it’s the truth. If you know the right person and they know your skill set, it could result in an interview and a job. Sometimes though, networking happens and you don’t even realize you’ve done it.
For example, let’s say you’re in communications and you’re interning at a local business doing their newsletters and the occasional news article. After a couple months of interning, you receive an email from another local company. Turns out, they read your work through your internship, were impressed with your writing, and would like you to come interview for an open position.
Just because you aren’t actively going to socials or playing golf with a successful businessperson doesn’t mean you aren’t networking. Always put your best foot forward when it comes to selling your work because you never know when it could lead to something more.