If you find yourself looking for a job – especially in a time when there are few jobs to be had – and aren’t having much luck, here are a few tips.
DO YOUR RESEARCH.
Learn everything you can about the company you are applying for. Unless you want your resumé to be just one in a huge pile of indistinguishable paper, you’ve got some homework to do. Getting a job is not a lottery. Contrary to what many people say, it is generally also not about “who you know.” It is about getting noticed … getting known.
Whoever is reviewing your resumé likely doesn’t know your name from anybody else’s. Unless you give them a reason to think you’re different … you’re not. Part of maturing as a prospective employee, and being more attractive to an employer, is showing that you’re willing to do the work. Don’t think the company should be grateful just to be receiving your application. It’s your job to learn about them, not vice versa.
If you just randomly click “submit resume” to a bajillion openings, you are highly unlikely to get great feedback. Why? Because it’s not targeted to any particular company. It’s like going to a shoe store and saying, “I’ve got a foot – somebody bring me a shoe that will fit and that I want” – without saying what size you are or what style you want. Sorry to break this to you, but no shoes are going to jump off the shelves and adorn you if you go in there that way.
Companies are looking for people who are a good fit for their particular role. You need to know what the company is all about and what that role really means in order to make that shoe fit.
TAKE THE FOCUS OFF YOURSELF
Here is the single best thing you can do: in your applications and interviews, stop talking about yourself, and start talking about the company you are applying to work for!
If you’ve ever gone to some event and had to make small talk over drinks or the like, you’ve probably had this experience:
Stranger X comes up to you and introduces himself. You introduce yourself back. Stranger X proceeds to talk about what he does for a living, what kind of car he drives, and generally how amazing he is in all regards. Chances are, at the first opportunity you look for a convenient exit, politely say how nice it was to meet him, and dash out of that convo. Within minutes … you’ve completely forgotten about him.
Fortunately, then you run into Stranger Y.
She introduces herself and you introduce yourself back. Immediately she responds with something about you. “Oh, aren’t you the one who wrote that article that time?” She then asks questions that convey sincere interest, such as not just “What line of work are you in?” but “Why did you decide to get into that?” Etc.
Be Stranger Y. Ask intelligent, informed questions about the business. Suggest why and how you would be able to contribute in the role they have available. Be creative! If you know about the company and convey genuine passion for how you can contribute to its success, you will increase your odds of getting hired exponentially. More than 90% of applicants don’t do this. Wouldn’t you like to jump to the top 10%?
WHY LISTEN TO US ON THIS?
We advocate for workers’ rights and represent employees in all kinds of industries in regard to their employment transitions and their wage/compensation underpayments, so we see all kinds of workplaces and how they function. We see a ton of companies that act dysfunctionally, of course.
We are also employers, and we try to learn from their mistakes. We screen, interview, screen, and hire applicants for our team in what we believe to be functional ways (since we have such a great team, if we may say so ourselves.). We find that applicants who understand that we are not just “some law firm” but that we are one who has a particular mission, operating under a particular culture, and in alignment with certain values tend to be a good fit. They have taken the time to learn about us and then to demonstrate how those aspects of our firm align with who they are as people. Bingo.