I guess you all can’t wait to hear those words and you are all probably nervous and wondering if that will be possible in today’s sluggish economy. I’m not going to lie, it’s tough out there, but you have to stay motivated, focused and confident. Differentiating and standing out is key during these trying times. I would like to give you some pointers on how to prepare for your future potential job opportunities.
Firstly, remember your resume is not an autobiography, use it as a tool to market yourself, see yourself as a product and your resume as being the ad for this product. Tailor your resume to the specific position you are applying for, employers use keywords of the characteristics the position entails to filter out resumes they obtain. Sharing from my own experience – I was being considered internally for a position in a fortune 50 corporation and was asked to submit my resume officially via the corporate website. I did so and waited for a response, after three days, I followed up with the hiring manager and was shocked when he told me he had not received my resume yet. Long story short, the job description for the particular position I was applying for required strong MS-Access knowledge which I had left out on my resume. My resume was filtered out and did not make it to the hiring manager. This is why I cannot stress enough for all, to use search engine optimization (SEO) techniques so as to incorporate the correct keywords for the particular job you are applying for within your resume.
Secondly, be candid. As you would all like for a corporation to be transparent externally and internally, the same logic should apply when it comes to your resume and interview. Don’t pad your resume and stretch the truth during your interview. HR specialists in most companies do check your background information and if you noted that you were for example, an expert at macro building or balance sheet analysis and you’re not, well 99% of the time the hiring manager was asking because you will probably be needing that skill to carry out normal business as usual and your first 90 days on the job will be tough, especially when you have to explain that you’re not quite the expert. Moreover, be prepared during the interview to elaborate on your strengths and weaknesses and to explain how you got through or managed challenging situations. Research about the company before you go for the interview and always ask questions when given the opportunity to do so, this shows interest.
Lastly, during economic downturn, companies tend to increase the hiring of temporary and contract employees. So don’t shy away from these opportunities. This will help you get your foot in the door and usually temp positions turn into permanent ones. Also, consider interning, this too builds on your experience and exposure for permanent hire. When you do get an offer on the table, do remember (maybe not your first job, but your second), that in most companies you can negotiate your salary and your vacation time. Do your research about average national salaries and benefits for that particular job position and level and always read up on the benefits (health, education/tuition reimbursement and 401K) a company has to offer and assess if those benefits fulfill your long-term needs.
Summing up, see yourself and your career as a product, don’t leave it on the shelf to collect dust, you need to continually redefine yourself and develop your skills through training, further education and keeping current with the times. Don’t wait for solutions, create them and be candid, speak up and remember success happens when preparedness meets opportunity.