You may think the best way to get a job is to search online, update your resume, and blitz it out in response to as many postings as you can find. But you’d be wrong. As it turns out, about 80% of jobs are not posted online. So no matter how many applications you send out, you’re still only working with about 20% of what’s out there.
There are also a number of common myths and misconceptions that can derail even the most tenacious of job seekers. Debunking these can do a world of difference. Here’s two things to remember:
- You don’t need a great deal of experience (or sometimes even any) to get your dream job.
- You don’t have to settle until you get that job.
So where does that leave you and your job search?
You must always be prepared with a pitch
The best thing for job seekers to do—and this won’t come as much of a surprise—is network. Network, network, network. That means first and foremost, coming up with a convincing and charming elevator pitch. An answer to the ubiquitous question: “So tell me about you.” You’ll need to craft this perfectly to show your goals, experience, selling points, and just how perfect you are to match a potential employer’s needs. Then you’ll need to rehearse it until it comes out of your mouth as naturally as an exhale.
Be sure to include a goal statement at the end. “I’m …. and interested in …. and currently hoping to transition into … ideally in the X industry.” Stating your job search need as a goal ensures that you’re never outright asking anyone for favors; you’re simply stating who you are and what you’re looking for, which won’t annoy or offend any potential contacts.
The shorter and simpler, the better–just be smart
When you’re working on your resume, be sure to err on the side of brevity. DO include bullet points to maximize easy reading, but don’t include too many—and make sure the ones you do include are each doing something for you. Make them as results-driven as possible, rather than heavy on the job description. Lead with your best bullet.
Once you get an interview, be sure to be as well prepared as you were for networking. Though, there, the big question is “Tell us a little about your biggest weakness.” You may have been told that the best strategy here is to claim that you’re an incurable perfectionist. The internet, more often than not, will counsel you in this direction. But the Internet is wrong. You’ll just sound insincere. The better strategy is to choose something you’ve actually been working to improve. Explain how it was a challenge to you in the past, and what you’ve been doing, actively, to turn it into a strength instead. Give an example of your progress just to prove you’re not full of baloney.
It's okay to make demands
Once you get an offer, be sure not to roll over and accept the salary without question. It is okay and expected to negotiate. A few tips:
- Don’t be the first person to suggest a number. The person who speaks first in this arena always
- If they ask you to give a number first, deflect. Say that you’re negotiable, but you’d like to hear their range to see whether it fits for you.
- Do research before going into negotiations. Figure out what is standard at that company and in that position within the industry. And don’t ask for a number extremely outside of that range.
- Tell them instead that you’re being considered in the range of the top third of that bracket, but ensure that you’re negotiable.
If you let go of some of the most common misapprehensions and job search myths, you should have a much better, clear-eyed approach that will likely start to get you the results you need.
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