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Self, Work

5 Tips to Increase Your Chances of Finding and Getting a Job

Even in this job-hunting climate.

It’s always been difficult to get a job, but the COVID-19 pandemic has made the job hunt much harder. Fewer jobs and more competition is now the name of the game. Here are a few tips that I think will help you to find and get a job even in this job market.

1. Have a well-formatted and creative resume and cover letter.

This is an obvious but crucial step. Be sure to do the following:

1.1 — Check your resume for grammatical mistakes and spelling errors

I will never forget a story I heard while in college about a meteorology student who applied for a job but had meteorology misspelled on their CV. Easily fixed mistakes are one of the reasons many people never hear back from a job. Please triple check your resume and cover letter for mistakes. If needed, get someone to review it or use Grammarly.

And yes you need a resume and a cover letter. Having a cover letter helps you because many people get tired of creating a new one for each position. It’s a great time to elaborate on some of your work accomplishments and why you would be a great fit for the position. Just make sure to save something notable to say when you are at the job interview.

1.2 — Find a unique resume template that ideally has a matching cover letter template.

Recruiters, on average, look at a resume for about 7 seconds. Having a properly formatted resume isn’t only aesthetically pleasing, it encourages the hiring team to read your resume for a little longer.

If you are artistically inclined, edit the template to make it your own. Adding a little color (or a lot for more creative or visual fields) to your resume and cover letter will help you stand out. However, make sure that your resume is appropriate for the field and position to which you are applying.

1.3 — Word each bullet point under your work experiences as an accomplishment or an achievement.

The hiring manager is looking for not only your previous work responsibilities but what you will bring to the company. They want to see people who will thrive and contribute to the overall success of the company. If you show that you have a track record for going above and beyond and/or have a unique set of skills, they will be more likely to place you on their shortlist.

This is even more effective if you can quantify your accomplishments. If you were able to streamline a workflow to be 30% faster and 15% less expensive, put that on your resume. Hiring managers like dollar amounts and percentages. Just make you can back up your claims.

2. Utilize your network.

With at least 70% of job openings going unlisted, you’re going to have to network hard. It’s called a “job hunt” for a reason. Everyone has a network, whether you realize you have one or not. Just remember that networking isn’t only about what others can do for you. It’s a give and take situation and it can take time to build up a repore with your network. But if you maintain your network, it can be very fruitful in your job finding endeavors. Here are a few network sources most people already have.

2.1 — Social Media

Chances are you are like most people and have some kind of social media presence. That’s already one network you have at your disposal, even if it’s small.

Use your social media presence on all platforms you use to let your network know that you are open to new work opportunities and what kind of work you are interested in doing.

Using appropriate hashtags can increase the audience of your post to people outside of your network, increasing your chances of success. Hashtags like #jobhunting and #openjobs are two popular tags you should check out to start off.

2.2 — High School or College Alumni Associations

Most people graduate from school and never look back! I’m guilty of this myself, but if your school has an alumni association or social media group get involved.

Many alumni associations have resources available to alumni that help them with finding a job. This includes jobs that are being only advertised there or advertised to the alumni association members first. Not only that, but there are fun and interesting events put on by alumni associations that can help you meet other graduates who may be able to help you find your next job.

Having anything in common with someone who can hire you or be a recommendation for you at a position will greatly increase your chances of finding a new position. But nothing beats a personal connection. Take the time to know people and help others when you can. And don’t stop participating in this group after getting a job. Stay an active member and remember to pay it forward.

2.3 — Honor Societies or Clubs/ Hobby Groups

Similar to the previous tip, some groups that you’ve joined while in school, like an honor society, are lifelong memberships. You may have forgotten about them, but many offer their members training or opportunities to network with other members.

Clubs and hobby groups can provide a similar opportunity to network and meet people who may at least know of job prospects you haven’t heard of on your own.

You can find some groups in your community at a site like meetup.com if you aren’t already involved in a group currently.

2.4 — Email contacts from conferences and webinars

Email your resume to people you’ve met at a conference or whose presentation you’ve attended. Presenters at conferences usually place their email and job title at the beginning or end of their presentation.

Email your contacts your elevator pitch with your resume attached. Even if that person doesn’t have any opportunities available, they may know someone within the company who does. And if you send them your resume most people will look at it just out of curiosity.

3. Prepare for the interview!

You know the old adage, those who fail to plan plan to fail.

3.1 — Research the company

This may seem obvious but remember to research the company. You don’t want to end up asking questions that their website already answers. Also, it helps with other aspects of your interview preparation.

If it becomes obvious that you don’t know much about the company, it may appear that you don’t really care about working there.

Never underestimate the power and influence of enthusiasm.

3.2 — Practice common and industry-specific interview questions and answers.

Really think about your answers to common or industry-specific interview questions and ways to tie it to your previous experiences. These experiences don’t have to be paid work experiences either. Volunteer opportunities you’ve participated in or leadership roles in extracurricular activities count too!

There are many online resources to help you prepare for the interview. One being this list of 46 interview questions and answers.

Remember, you’re allowed to use notes in the interview. Don’t be afraid to look down at them occasionally or write a few down if you think of any good points to bring up during the interview. Just don’t look down at the notes for the entire interview, eye contact is key.

It’s also good to take a moment to think about a question you are being asked if needed. You don’t want to say something inappropriate or embarrassing. It’s also a great practice because some interviewers think it’s good when people take a moment to think things through.

Remember to always stay positive about previous work experiences. Being negative, no matter what the situation was or what happened to you previously, guarantees you will not be hearing back from them.

3.3 — Practice good posture and body language while answering questions.

Nervousness before an interview is not only expected it’s pretty much impossible to avoid. But to show confidence despite that is of utmost importance. Be sure to practice not only what you will say, but how you will say it with appropriate body language.

With about 70% of communication being nonverbal, it is important to practice beforehand how you will present yourself physically along with what you will say at the interview.

Using open body language will help you to appear confident, even if that isn’t the case. Also, open body language is friendly. You don’t want the interviewers to think of you negatively. According to Very Well Mind’s article and Lifesize’s article, a few examples of open body language are:

  1. Use variations of vocal tone to emphasize points or convey ideas.
  2. Smile throughout the interview, just be sure to not overdo it.
  3. Maintain eye contact at least 60% of the time or look into the camera when doing a video call interview.
  4. Angle your body towards the person you are speaking to; you don’t want to look like you want to leave as soon as possible.
  5. Have proper posture and nod your head throughout the conversation, this shows interest in what is being said.
  6. Be mindful of your facial expressions, you don’t want to accidentally make the interviewers think you are confused, angry, or just not paying attention.

Avoid touching your face, playing with your hair, and fidgeting. Try to keep your arms and hands relaxed or use them to gesture for emphasis while speaking.

3.4 — Think of a problem the company may be currently facing and give them a solution to solve that problem.

Now this one is a little hard to prepare for before the interview, but if you can figure out a solution to a possible problem they may be facing.

It not only shows that you are engaged and dedicated to what the company is working to accomplish, but it shows that you take initiative to solve problems as they arise.

This will also make them want to have you around for future problem-solving needs.

3.5 — Ask the interviewers well thought out questions.

Near the end of the interview, you get your time to really shine! Interviewers hear the same run of the mill questions all of the time. Asking thoughtful and unusual questions will definitely make you seem like an even more remarkable candidate to the hiring team.

It not only shows that you’ve considered your place in the company, the position you’re interviewing for, and how your unique skills and experiences can contribute, but it also will give you a better idea of if this position is right for you.

You can also use this time to get to know the interviewers a little more, as they may be your boss or coworker if hired.

Here are two articles, an Indeed article, and a Career Sidekick post, with a list of great questions. You can use a few of these, but make sure to think of your own questions too, or customize the ones listed here as needed.

One question I do recommend you always ask is, “What are the next steps in the interview process and when will I hear back about your decision?” These questions help you prepare for what to do after the interview.

4. Wear blue to the interview

Blue is among the best colors to wear to an interview according to this Careerbuilder survey of 2,099 hiring managers.

If there are other good colors to wear why do I think blue is the best contender? Well because blue is considered a universal favorite color.

According to color psychology, blue is associated with feelings of trustworthiness, reliability, and stability. These are traits that most jobs are looking for in a person when making a hire. Wearing blue will subconsciously make the interviewers associate these traits with you.

Chart showing what emotions colors evoke.
Color associations with various emotions. (source: UX Studio)

Blue not for you? Here are a few other great colors to wear and their associated traits according to the Careerbuilder survey and color psychology:

  • Black: leadership and sophistication
  • Gray: logical or analytical
  • White: organization
  • Brown: dependable
  • Red: power, strength, and success

Unless you are entering a creative field you should avoid these colors:

Green, Yellow, Orange, or Purple are associated with creativity, but they might be too distracting for a typical interview setting.

5. Send a thank you email and follow up email after the interview

You’re not done after the interview is over, unfortunately, but at least the hardest part is behind you. Now you need to keep the communication channels open between you and the job you’re vying for.

5.1 — Send a thank you for interviewing email

Send a thank you email the same day you have your interview. You can wait until the next business day to send it, but you really shouldn’t wait too long after the interview to send it. Typically with this, the sooner you send it, the better.

In general, the thank you email should:

  1. Thank your interviewer by name for taking the time to get to know you and your qualifications better.
  2. Reiterate your interest in the position.
  3. Bring up something that was specifically discussed during the interview. This can be something that you found interesting about the position that you didn’t know before the interview. Also, reiterate how your skills and experiences are a great fit for that position.
  4. Let them know that if they have any questions or need any additional information, they shouldn’t hesitate to contact you.
  5. Tell them that you are eagerly awaiting their decision. If they told you that you would hear back on a certain day, be sure to add that date to this part of the email.

There are some great sample thank you emails online, just be sure to customize it and proofread it before sending it.

5.2 — Send a follow-up email if you haven’t heard back from the position

If you know that you have completed all of the required interviews, you should send a follow-up email if you:

  1. Don’t know when exactly they were going to make their decision for the position. In this case, you should follow up 7 to 10 days after the interview.
  2. If they told you a day that you would hear back from them, but they still haven’t gotten back to you. You should follow up 1 to 3 days after the date you were told you would hear back.

The follow-up email has similar elements to the thank you email.

  1. Reiterate your interest in the position.
  2. Reiterate how your skills and experiences are a great fit for that position.
  3. Tell them that if they have any questions or need any additional information, they shouldn’t hesitate to contact you.
  4. Tell them that you are eagerly awaiting their decision. Remind them, politely, that they said that you would hear back from them on {enter the specific date here} and you just wanted to touch base with them to see where they are in the interview process.

Just like the thank you email, there are some great sample interview follow-up emails online, just be sure to also customize it and proofread it before sending it.

All of these tips together should help increase your chances of finding and getting a job. These are the steps I took to get my first job after college when I moved back home with my family with absolutely no job prospects. Exactly a month later, I was starting my first day at a job. If you need help with gaining more relevant work experience, check out these 6 Ways to Gain Relevant Work Experience for a few ideas that may help you!

I wish you the best of luck with your job search and hope this article was helpful. Happy job hunting!

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  1. […] your resume is filled with great and relevant work experiences, check out these 5 tips that should help increase your chances of finding and getting a job. I wish you the best of luck with your career endeavors and hope this article was […]

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