The job application process is cumbersome for both jobs seekers and employers (I’ve been frustrated on both sides), and it’s worth reviewing at any age.
When I first graduated from college, I had the impression that I could easily get out of my waitress job and into a well-defined career path. My father, at age 60, lost his job of over 20 years and suddenly found himself in the job market as well. We were both naive about the amount of time and hard work needed to land a great job. Now, I hear it all the time: “finding a job is a full-time job.”
Throughout my career, I’ve gained experience on both sides – recruiting and job searching – and I have some advice for job seekers that I’ve learned along the way.
Advice for Job Seekers: The Application
The application is the way to the interview. You should ensure you meet the qualifications but also throw in something that makes you stand out from other candidates. Here are some other important tips:
Advice for Job Seekers: The Interview
The interview is a way for the employer to learn more about your qualifications, get a feel for your personality, and ensure you would work well with their team. While you won’t know exactly what the employer is looking for, there are plenty of things you can do to impress your interviewer and stand out from other candidates:
Advice for Job Seekers: A Final Word
My number one word of advice for job seekers is: don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Ask someone working for a company you’re interested in to connect you with a recruiter. Ask a family member who has HR experience for tips on your cover letter and resume. Or, ask a leader at your organization for career coaching.
At my previous company, I was interested in expanding my skills and growing my career, so I started applying for other positions within the organization. After a couple of unsuccessful applications, I was desperate for help and reached out to the CEO for guidance. I never thought he’d listen to a lower-level employee, but he did his homework and found out why I never got certain interviews or jobs. He then met with me and set me up with the HR director who gave me tips on how to “sell” myself and stand out from other candidates.
Now that I’ve had my fair share of successes (and failures) as a job seeker and experience as a recruiter, I can’t express enough how important it is for you to sell yourself during the application and interview process. This is your time to brag about your accomplishments – don’t be afraid to go for it!