We are in a labor market like no other. There are good paying jobs available in almost every industry. Because of the pandemic and how it continues to affect people, the dynamics of power have changed. Job seekers are much more selective about where they work and have more voice in what they want. (The current job market looks like what they call a â€œbuyer’s marketâ€ in real estate.) Nonetheless, there are some basics that applicants of all ages and levels of experience should adopt if they are want to find a job.
â€¢ Dress professionally. If you have an interview or attend a career fair, lose the leggings, jeans, and t-shirts. This goes for both in-person and virtual options. I’m not saying wear a suit and tie, or even a dress. Wear clean, ironed khakis and a nice shirt or sweater. (And yes, dress even if you’re interviewing for a fast food restaurant or retail job.) A professional appearance shows a potential employer that you respect them enough to dress like you’re meeting the Queen. from England for lunch.
â€¢ Give up the goal. Remember when we were taught to put an objective statement at the top of a resume? Objective statements tell a business what you want, not what you can deliver. Ignore it completely.
â€¢ Do not include references on a resume. Don’t even use the phrase “References available on request.” You only provide references if and when a potential employer has requested them.
â€¢ Develop a targeted CV. Businesses want to know what skills you will bring to their business. Make sure the content matches the job description. Include keywords – the skills, abilities and talents listed in the job description. If you’re not sure what that might be, just compare three job postings for a similar job title. You will see the same words used in all three. These are key words. Keywords can be things like communication skills, customer service, Word, Excel, Outlook, conflict management, social media, etc. Include the keywords found in the job description for the position you want in your resume.
Keywords are of crucial importance if you are applying for a job online. Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) uses algorithms to analyze resumes based on keywords used in a job description. Only CVs with a certain number of keywords are sent to recruiters. ATS was developed during the Great Recession to screen job seekers so that hiring managers only interview the most qualified candidates. Although it is not necessary today, the majority of companies still use applicant tracking software, even in Yakima.
â€¢ Prepare for the interview. This means preparing whether it’s in person, online, or even a quick meeting with a hiring manager at a career fair.
In addition to dressing to impress, research the potential employer and prepare sample answers to questions that begin like “Tell me about a time when.” â€¦ â€Know what the company manufactures or sells. Know the types of positions available.
I was recently at an in-person career fair and saw several candidates approach a recruiter and say, â€œWhat is your company doing? These people would have taken five minutes to google the company on their computer or cell phone before the job fair. And they might have found a job.
Another colleague told me that in a recent interview, within the first five minutes, the Applicant stated that she had been fired from her last three jobs. Yes really. Would you seriously consider this candidate for your own business?
If you are interviewing online, choose your interview location carefully. Don’t just hold your cell phone to your face while sitting in a car! (Yes, our own company interviewed someone this way.) And make sure your online nickname is professional. We also had an interview with a candidate with a screen name that included the word â€œboogerâ€.
Practice interviewing a friend, former co-worker, parent, grandparent, or teacher. Practice again.
Please, if you know of anyone looking for work, share these tips. I know that looking for a job can be intimidating, but there are tools to make it easier. WorkSource offices are open and available to assist you free of charge.