Job searching is a stressful season at any period of your professional career. Being well prepared and supported has been the key factor in my personal and professional life. With a plan and purpose, you are bound to find an opportunity. Below are five tips that job seekers can use to ensure they are well prepared to present their best selves to a potential employer.
1.) Recognize Your Skills
Employment usually focusses on an individual’s ability to perform the job. Whether acquired through learning or a natural ability, this is the foundation of why employers have a required skill section: to ensure they hire someone who is qualified, or at least has similar skills. How to know if you are qualified? First, I would like for you to think about what you are good at. Be as transparent as possible. You can reference past experiences where you learned technical skills such as a computer system or even times when you practiced public speaking. Those are SKILLS! Once you have reviewed your skills, your next step is to assess your values. If you need some help with this, please reference Module 1: A Targeted Plan, which is available on Workforce Solutions YouTube channel.
2.) Understand Your “Why”
Know and be able to explain why you are interested in pursuing an opportunity. Knowing your “why” helps the employer paint a clear picture of your interest and allows them to potentially see you in the role. Your skills, values, and career aspirations will help you formulate your “why.” Whether a long term or short-term opportunity, your “why” sets you apart from your counterparts.
3.) Personalized Resumes
The resume helps the employer see an overview of current and past experiences professionally, academically, and personally. This is your personal brand summarized into one or two pages (try your best to keep it to one page). The resume should be personalized to the job you are applying for with keywords that match the job description. Resumes can be so complex that I would recommend visiting the Workforce Solutions Module 2: Job Readiness Toolkit on the Workforce Solutions YouTube channel for detailed instruction.
4.) Preparation for Interview Day
In addition to any questions related to your background or skills for the job, be prepared to answer behavioral questions by using the CAR (challenge, action, results) method. This requires you, the interviewee, to explain the challenge, then discuss the actions you took, and conclude with the result. Questions that require you to answer in this format can be tricky and confusing if you do not clearly lay out your response. You might ask, “How do I know what questions should be answered in the CAR method?” Well, the internet will be your best friend when researching the best behavioral interview questions regarding the positions, and even the company. ALWAYS remember to take everything off the internet with caution. Fortunately, at Workforce Solutions, we have designed Module 3: Sharpening Your Interviewing Skills to help prepare for the entire interview.
5.) Follow up is key
Making the first impression in the interview takes 2 to 30 seconds when participating in an interview (more likely about 10 seconds or less). Your attire, introduction, and resume presentation assist in making a good first impression. This can be positive or negative, so be sure to know how to dress for your interview, who you will be speaking with, and to follow the modules mentioned in the previous tips. Toward the end of your interview be sure to ask at least a couple of questions (such as when the position will be filled) and request a business card. The business card should be used to follow-up within 24 hours via email or written letter. Make it personalized by including details from the interview. But remember to thank the employer for his/her time and include why you are qualified for the job. Not too lengthy though – keep it clear and concise! The employer will appreciate that and could be the differentiating factor that assists you in getting the job. Please see Module 4: Closing the Deal for further reference.
Alexandra Howard is a new member of the Texas Gulf Coast Regional Navigator Team for Workforce Solutions. She will be collaborating with community partners in the Gulf Coast Region to educate and train employers, Workforce Solutions staff, and job seekers to assist in advancing company growth, career, and academic mobility. Alexandra has prior job experience in recruiting on behalf of the employer and candidates. Understanding the skillsets job seekers provide and the necessities of the employers aids in maintaining a successful Adult Education & Literacy Integration. She has a Bachelor of Business Administration from Sam Houston State University and is currently obtaining a Master of Public Administration from Texas Southern University.