This week, the conversation centers around how to gain valuable work experience, distinguish yourself from competitors and better market yourself to employers when you don’t have enough work experience.
4/22/14 – Interviewed by Scott Proietti
1. What are the three best things to do if you are out of the workforce and currently looking for a job in today’s market?
JL: If you are unemployed, your full-time job is finding a job. Therefore I would first recommend shooting out as many resumes as possible in as many outlets as possible. This means scouring sites such as LinkedIn, monster, etc. You should be firing off at least 30 resumes a day. The best analogy for this is throwing mud against a wall. Throw as much of you can and see what sticks. When you are desperate for employment, you need to get yourself as much exposure as possible and distinguish yourself from those around you.
Two, always submit a cover letter! Putting together a well thought-out, one page cover letter explaining who you are, what you can bring to the table and why you are interested in this specific position will immediately put you ahead of 90% of the other applicants. I personally have never been contacted back for a job when I don’t submit a cover letter. Cover letter’s are the applicant’s way of putting a personal touch on the dry, standard resume. Don’t expect to be seriously considered for a follow up interview without submitting a cover letter.
Three, use the resources that are specifically available to you. Did you go to a private high school? Tap into that distinguished alumni base. There are always alumni members who are partial to the old alma mater. How about BobCat Career Link? Only Ohio University students and alumni have access to those specific, advertised positions.
2. What are the best ways to distinguish yourself from your competitors in today’s job market?
You have to follow up! Always and all the time. I got my current position because I called the hiring manager every single day asking if the position had been filled yet. You have to want the job, and the recruiter and hiring manager need to know you want the job. Quality work experience is not going to get you a job by itself. You have to distinguish yourself, and show initiative and keep at it.
3. Having just entered the job market a couple of years ago, what’s your best advice to upcoming college graduates who will be looking for a job and need to distinguish themselves from their peers?
My best advise to upcoming graduates is to not get intimidated or frustrated by a potentially bleak job market. Don’t be afraid to go outside your comfort zone for a job that maybe isn’t exactly in the industry that you are looking for in order to gain employment. The point is to secure a job after graduating to get your life going. If you take a job you don’t necessarily see yourself doing for the rest of your life, it’s okay. I think on average, people tend to switch companies every 3-4 years. That’s definitely quite a change from our grandparents’ generation when employees often stayed with their initial companies for their entire careers. Get the job, learn what you can, and switch when the time is right. Do not risk going unemployed coming out of school because you didn’t get into the industry you wanted. The longer you go unemployed after graduating, the bigger hole you are digging for yourself.
4. In your opinion, what do managers and supervisors look for the most when considering job applications?
Managers and supervisors are looking for people who want the job. The candidates who get hired are the ones that show constant initiative, distinguish themselves, and follow up with their hiring point of contact.
5. What are the necessary skills that each and every job seeker should have when applying for a job?
Every job seeker needs to be able to validate why they are worthy of the position they are applying for. Distinguish yourself! If you can’t come up with a good answer when the recruiter asks, “Why should we hire you,” then you are not going to get that job.