For many of you out there, it might seem impossible to find a job. Countless hours spent filling out applications, submitting an amazing resume, and an eye-catching cover letter, all seemingly for naught when you open the email that starts with the line, “We regret to inform you…”.
The most surprising thing about this, isn’t the fact that we can’t seem to get jobs. It’s that the market for jobs is actually doing well and will continue to improve. If that’s the case, where’s ours?
The answer: while the current general job market is indeed booming, it still varies by roles, skills, and industry. For example, I’m sure doctors are in no short supply, but a simple corporate 9-5 job could have hundreds, maybe thousands of people applying for a job. So, what can we do to help gain an edge over the crowd of eager applicants? To start, let’s take a look at the individual problems that we face.
Not Leveraging your Network
While hard skills play a major part in the workspace, soft skills are just as important. Being able to network with other people, build connections, and take care of these relationships will benefit you in the long term. This is the same concept that we employ when connecting with recruiters. We establish this network so we are able to gain access to a bigger network, and therefore increase our opportunities.
The main problem is that once we establish this network of connections that we interact with, how do we use this to increase our opportunities? The answer is simple, really. When looking around, just ask someone you know about any possible job openings in their company, or even another company they might have heard about. Another way to leverage your network is to ask for a referral from them. Hearing positive things from people other than you will definitely help give you a better chance.
Getting Lost in the Applicant Tracking System (APS)
For those unaware, the APS is a piece of software used by recruiters to help sort through the pile of applications they get throughout the day. The biggest disadvantage with the software is that as a piece of code, it determines how you look for the company based simply on your resume, rather than your people skills, and your ability to connect with others and establish a rapport.
The best way to optimize your chance with the APS is to make your resume shine. Additionally, this is also a chance to add more skills to your skillset. Some things you can do are do some volunteer work, learn some new skills, get certified in something, etc. The list goes on. And just because you’re up against a piece of coding, doesn’t mean you can’t employ your communication skills here. Remember to reach out to the recruiters, because they’ll typically still be the ones getting the last say over the APS.
Low Confidence and Imposter Syndrome
This is not uncommon. Even I suffer from low confidence and imposter syndrome. The fact that I barely remember anything I learned in high school, and yet now I’m a fully functioning adult boggles my mind. However, we know more than we think. In order to get past this, the simplest thing to do is look in the mirror and practice your answers. That way when an interviewer asks you a question, you’re not just stuck saying, “I don’t know why.”
Looking in the mirror and giving your prepared answers is one of the best ways to project an air of confidence, even if you don’t believe it to be real. In a court of law, lawyers will always practice their statements in a mirror, so they know how they look, and therefore perceived.
The process of job searching in itself is essentially a full-time job. Spending so much time making your application look great just for it to be rejected can be hard. But taking a look after each rejection and figuring out what went wrong is a great lesson. Learn to improve on what you think you did wrong, and how you can get better. With enough practice you’ll be able to crush that interview.
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