Heather McKenzie has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and a Master of Education degree in Curriculum & Instruction, both from The University of Texas at Austin. She later returned to graduate school for a Master of Science in Counseling from North Carolina State University and is currently a licensed therapist in North Carolina, USA. She enjoys writing and training on a range of topics, including effective leadership strategies, decision making, self-development, and living intentionally.
A Step-By-Step guide to getting hired
Finding employment has been especially tough for a handful of years now. Already a nerve-wracking situation, the job search has become a paralysing experience for many and can even leave you feeling dejected and without hope. Never fear, this step-by-step guide to getting hired will ease your worries and set you in a solid direction for success.
Revisit your past experiences. Before you start applying for jobs, review what you loved best about past positions. What did you feel most confident and satisfied doing? Jobs that allow you to do these things are likely to be the best fit and the easiest for you to ace in an interview. What are your main skills? What past achievements set you apart? Knowing these things will help you identify the best jobs to apply for and your fit and passion will be evident to potential employers. Avoid the mistake of applying scattershot to all sorts of positions that you don’t really want to have. This approach can steal your enthusiasm and excessive rejections can be extremely deflating.
Speak with your former colleagues and employers. Remind yourself what you are good at and valued for as a co-worker. Consider asking for recommendation letters or have a simple conversation about what former supervisors thought you were great at and which strengths they saw in you. Let your connections know that you are looking for a job and directly ask if they would be willing to advocate on your behalf. Be specific about exactly what you would love to do and articulate three basic traits you would like them to be able to highlight about why you would be a good employee.
Tap your social network. Let family, friends, Facebook, and LinkedIn contacts know that you are searching for a new job. Ensure that you have a polished profile on LinkedIn with updated work history, skills, and photo. Connections come from all sources and are the most effective way to get a foot in the door with a potential employer. Join a professional organisation in your field if you haven’t already. Attend their upcoming events or even volunteer to assist at gatherings in order to create new connections.
Craft a top-notch resume. Research indicates that potential employers spend about three minutes perusing a person’s resume or cover letter prior to making a decision about their fit. First impressions are key. Have trusted colleagues or friends take a look at your resume and ask them what it says about you. Are your top three traits the ones that come across to people who read it? Float your resume and cover letter past a mentor in your field for guidance about things to highlight and things to cut. Use a professional resume service for extra support to get it just right.
Polish your interview skills. If you’ve been invited for the interview, the employer already believes you have the qualifications needed. You now need to show them that you can be a good fit for the role and can articulate your experiences and skills well enough to match that of your resume. Practice out loud with a trusted person who will give honest feedback. Prepare like you would an exam: review the company’s online information and read through the job description and expected duties. Know how to respond to the following questions: “Tell us about yourself,” “Why do you want to work here?” and “What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?” Have your own questions ready to show your curiosity about the position and the company beyond what is available online or in the job description. A winning question is always: “What would a new hire need to do and possess to be really successful in this position?”
Follow-up. Regardless of how the interview went, it’s important to follow-up a few days later with an email to thank your interviewer for their time. This allows you to clarify any unresolved questions during the interview and keeps you in their minds for the position. Additionally, courtesy goes a long way in business.
Feel prepared about your future job prospects? Enthusiastic about what lies ahead professionally? Harness that energy and start right now by taking the first step towards your new job.