Things Every Job Seeker Should Know Before Starting Job Search
Did you just graduate from college? Or maybe you have been taking a break from the corporate world to take care of family or other business? Either way, if you are thinking of entering the workforce, that is a big step, a goal to be proud of. You have made a huge decision and to make sure it favours you, you have to give it your best. The job market is highly competitive and some things might have changed while you were away or still in training. Therefore, to become an active job seeker is to be fully prepared so you can quickly and successfully pass this stage and cross over to the fulfilled employee stage. We are always rooting for you and always want to make your career journey easier. That is why we have prepared this article just for you! You can call it a checklist of all the things you need to know, get ready, and have at hand before you start your job start. Dig in!
- Prepare Your Mindset: Before you start job seeking, you should condition your mind, give yourself the pep talk, and needed encouragement. A positive mindset helps you give job-seeking your all. This also means realizing that getting a job is a job and then committing to reaching your goal no matter what. Realistically, there might be times when you may feel like giving up because you are not getting the right answers or no answer at all. A strong mindset will help you deal with any hurdles on the way like rejection mails or no replies. Having a positive mindset will ensure you make the most of your experience and determine to never quit no matter what.
- Update All Necessary Documents: These include your CV or resume, cover letter, motivation letter, and certificates. All job applications require visible proof of them or at least some of them. This means that they are a must-have on your job-seeking journey. It would be time-consuming stopping an application halfway to create a CV or letter. It could also be an awkward situation when an employer asks for one and you can not provide it. These documents have to be up to date and designed according to the current and official format. These documents will introduce you to would-be employers even before they can associate your name with a face or meet you in person. Most times, these documents are first scanned by the software. So make sure they are organized and neat, use keywords and keep an eye out for typos. Use official font sizes and styles like Times New Roman or Calibri. Remember though that these documents are not one-size-fits-all. Their contents should vary according to the role you are applying for but the overall theme especially for your letters should be confidence and a strong pitch selling you as a desirable candidate. Bonus Tip: Once your documents are prepared and drawn up, save them in a folder on your computer or mobile device. That way, you can always pull them up and tailor them to your needs. You can easily send them too as Word or PDF files if someone requests soft copies. Have printed copies to put in a file or folder to maintain the neatness and crispness.
- Build a Skill Set: Before you start clicking the “apply” button on job recruitment sites, build relevant skills. You may wonder, “I already have a degree” or, “So am I to stay jobless until I have taken a masterclass or spent additional months after school learning some expert-level tech skills?” Well, you are lucky to be born in an age where there is an abundance of information at your fingertips. You can learn virtually anything online, from a new language to building and designing websites. The good side to this is that you can learn in-demand skills from the comfort of your home or take classes on the go and even get certified in some cases. Soft skills like leadership and communication skills are some of the most sought-after qualities in candidates by recruiters. Hard skills also give you an edge. When you add your skills to your CV, it makes your personal brand stand out and could help you reach the requirements of a job even if you did not get that skill in a classroom. That increases your chances of getting callbacks or interviews when you start applying.
- Carve a Niche: You need a job obviously, but applying for every job you see might be likened to travelling without a destination in mind. The popular “I can do any job” attitude of job seekers is always a result of a dire need for a job and it is never good to present yourself as a desperate job seeker. Imagine this scenario: You assure the hiring manager that you can do anything and it turns out the job requires operating heavy machinery you never even knew existed. Uhm, can you really do everything? Applying for jobs you are not qualified for could lead to a lot of rejection emails or worse, ghosting from hiring managers. That greatly affects morale. To avoid that, be specific about what you want to do. Next, search for jobs in that field or in related fields. Narrowing down your search ensures that you are applying for jobs where you have more chances of getting hired. When you have decided what industry you want to work in, the job is not done. Research on the field you want to delve into. Read too. Yes, opening a book does not end within the four walls of a school. Most recruitment processes require a series of online tests or in-person assessments. If possible, study and read articles and materials related to the profession. That would greatly increase your chances of scaling through recruitments in your choice of career.
- Build a Strong Professional Network: This should start as early as when you are still in school. Build connections with people who you view as prospective employers, mentors, and experts in your field. Attend seminars and workshops or related networking events. Take up volunteering opportunities. Use social media too. It has proved to be a great force in connecting people of like minds. Try apps like LinkedIn that even go as far as giving job alerts. Avail yourself of the opportunity to meet valuable contacts. You are shy? Do not worry. Practice your pitch before these events. Start small and in no time you will be a guru in making small talk and starting meaningful conversations. Some job seekers have even reported getting jobs at networking events.
- Do not be Shy to Ask for Help: If you find yourself at crossroads where you cannot make a decision, speak to someone immediately. It could be a friend or family member who has recently gone through the job-seeking stage. Or better still, talk to an expert in the hiring career like a career coach or a recruiter from a trusted recruitment agency. Do not wait till your problem escalates before asking for help. When you ask for their services, get involved too. Work hand in hand with them to reach your goal of securing a job.
- Learn Interview Etiquettes: Sad but true, some job seekers do well at the beginning stages of a recruitment process but fail to secure the job after an interview. Before you get invited for an interview, learn and practice interview etiquette in front of a friend or even your mirror. That will help you exude confidence which is a coveted ingredient. Learn the correct way to sit, shake hands, dress, maintain eye contact, and speak. In fact, learn everything. Practice possible interview questions you could be asked and those you can ask. Even if your interview is online through a meeting app, speak and act like it is in person. Your interview is an opportunity for the hiring managers to meet the candidate behind the CV. Sell yourself to them and exceed their expectations.
- Apply, Apply, Apply: We hope you have checked off steps one to seven off your to know list. If you have stuck with us and read this article to this stage, then you probably know all the things you should know before officially starting your job search. Now you are prepared, it is finally time to click the “apply button.” Make sure your applications are always correctly filled out and free of typos. Fill in all required fields. Take into consideration of spellings and dates and make sure your details correspond with what is in your documents. It could help to have another pair of eyes go through your application before clicking “submit.”
Even if you do not land a job with your first job application, do not give up. Give it your all and in time your efforts will pay off. When necessary, backtrack, go back to the drawing board and go through this to-do list to make sure you are doing everything right. You can always save this article. We are cheering and rooting for you as you go through this beginning phase of your career!