- Take time to further your education and certifications. This doesn’t mean you need to go back to college or traditional school, but there are also many learning opportunities inside most career paths that will set you apart. Take the time to get certified in programs and tools that will show you’re more serious than your competitors.
- Don’t sell yourself short. People ask for a lower salary than they should sometimes because they feel employers won’t agree to something higher, or they think that asking for too high of a salary might mean they lose out on the job to someone asking for a smaller salary. This makes you look desperate and you’ll start off undervalued. Instead, ask for the salary you require and that is fair. Value yourself, and your employers will too.
- Be prepared. Being prepared is very important if you want to find a job. You’d be surprised by how many people appear for a job interview with no prior knowledge about the company or the person they’re interviewing with. Taking a few minutes to get some basic information on the company and look into the person who will be interviewing you (if you know ahead of time) can help you find some common ground to discuss, allow more time to discuss you instead of just the company, and have an overall positive experience.
- Customize Your Resume. Have you ever heard of using a master resume when applying for jobs? A master resume is where you list out every single qualification and skill that you possible have across al your years of experience. They also end up being several pages, much longer than you could actually use to apply for a job. Then, when you find a job you really like, you can easily pull information from your master resume in order to customize your resume to match the exact skills and qualifications listed in the job application.
- Have Your Resume Edited. Having glaring mistakes on your resume can make you look unprofessional. You wouldn’t want to tell your employer that you’re detailed oriented, with a huge glaring typo in the same sentence. Professional editors are surprisingly affordable. Even if you don’t go the professional route, get a friend or family member who has an eye for editing look over everything. Have them edit your master resume and cover letter instead of each variation that goes out, and you’ll be able to catch most errors without bugging them too much.
- Dress for success. You might feel a little silly dressing up for a job where you know you wouldn’t regularly have to dress professionally, but dressing professional to any interview tells the interviewer that you’re serious about the job. When you are going on an interview, be sure to dress professionally, but still let your personality shine.
- Follow up. If the employer is trying to decide between a couple candidates that seem pretty similarly qualified on paper, but one candidate has sent a nice thank you messaged and followed up, that person is more likely to get the job over the one who didn’t.
- Be prepared with references. This might seem obvious, but there’s been several times when I’ve try to reach out to a reference only to discover they don’t have the same number or general contact information. Sometimes, the references don’t even seem to recall the person I’m inquiring about. Check your references. It would be a tragedy for an employer to call any of your references and find out you’ve been lying, or that the information is outdated. Give your references a heads up to let them know that they may receive a call about you.
- Show real value. Don’t just say that you helped your last company grow or increase revenue, say exactly how much you helped your last company grow and increase revenue. Using live numbers instantly takes your statement from something vague anyone could say, to something serious that can’t be ignored. Emphasize that you are the person who can help your new company meet their goals and make more money.
- Don’t tell big lies when you’re in your interview. Sure, most people tell small lies in interviews, and as long as you know you’ll be able to back up your small lies with a little extra work initially, it’s usually fine. However, bigger lies, like saying you graduated from a school when you dropped out early, can be a problem. The interviewer may double-check what you say, and it can lead to an immediate disqualification. Even if the employer doesn’t do a fact checkup, you won’t do well if you’re not in possession of the experience that they were looking for in the first place.
- Practice interviewing with someone before the actual interview. You can do this with a friend or a member of your family. This can help you an opportunity to get comfortable answering questions and coming up with answers quickly. Your partner can also let you to your demeanor and body language or subconscious habits that you answer questions. Even if you’ve gone through a list of questions and answered them in your head, speaking them out loud will make a huge difference in your confidence during the actual interview.
- Don’t just wait for companies to post jobs. Send your resume to any company that you want to end up. Let them know what kind of opportunity you’re looking for, and contact them to see if they have any current or upcoming openings. You could even stop by to see if any positions have opened up. They’ll remember you and may consider you an interview before the job is posted, which would eliminate a lot of your competition.
- Have reference letters with you. Many people are saying that they’re ready with their references, but it is smarter to have the reference letters with you. This will prevent the interviewer from having to take extra time to call references because they’ll already have easy to read, glowing references on hand. They may still want to call and follow-up with your references, but even in that case you’ll be several steps ahead.
- Make sure your social media is cleaned up. Companies considering a new employee will research their online presence. If your social media is heavy about topics your potential employer might find off putting, delete that content. Consider posting less content that could be controversial during the duration of your job search as well.
I hope this advice helps you prepare to land your dream job and sets you apart from the competition.
Have you landed your dream job recently? Or are you currently applying for one?
Let us know in the comments below so we can cheer you on.
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