5 Tips for Getting a Job
These are tough times for finding work. But there’s hope, especially if you follow these expert tips.
Back in 2007, Kathryn Rose had a job she loved, handling mortgage-backed securities for a large financial institution. Then the mortgage meltdown happened, and her department was shut down. She was eight months pregnant.
The profession she’d learned inside out just didn’t exist in the same way anymore. So Rose decided to reinvent herself.
It wasn’t easy, she admits: “It’s like jumping off a cliff and growing wings on the way down.” But Rose took a hard look at her past accomplishments, taught herself some new skills and reached out to friends and former colleagues. She started getting work—lots of work—as a social media and online marketing expert, and pretty soon was self-publishing books like the award-winning Step by Step Guide to Facebook.
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If you’re unemployed, finding a new job can be difficult. According to a study by the U.S. Department of Labor, in 2000, only 2 percent of people looking for work couldn't find a job within a year; by 2010, that number had risen to over 10 percent. For most people, the job search now lasts between 10 and 40 weeks—and in many cases longer.
But don’t despair; these practical tips from experts can help.
1. Give Them What They Want.
Don’t just send off your résumé and hope for the best. “Redefine yourself in terms of what the employer wants,” says R. William Holland, a job-search consultant and author of several books including Cracking the New Job Market: The 7 Rules for Getting Hired in Any Economy.
“Your résumé is not about you; it’s about what people want from you, and unless you give it to them, it will not get its 15 seconds in front of the hiring manager.”
Holland suggests highlighting words in the job description that specify what an employer’s looking for. Then make sure those keywords are “baked in” to your résumé, cover letter and all correspondence.
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Keep your résumé short and sweet, no more than two pages. Sometimes that means eliminating experiences that are irrelevant to the job you’re applying for; don’t feel attached to those things.
Even if you’re returning to the workforce after an extended time away, don’t underestimate your experiences, says Ford R. Myers, executive career coach and author of Get the Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring. “You should emphasize what you’ve been doing all these years: organizational skills, being able to manage projects, interpersonal skills, resourcefulness.”
If an interviewer asks about a skill you don’t have, gently steer the conversation toward a related skill you do have. “You want to convey your key strengths,” says Colleen Lauria, a talent manager and HR executive.