Tired of your current job? Got fired? Got laid off? A masochist? If you are any of the previously mentioned then congrats, you are a job seeker!! *throws confetti* Job searching is about as fun as having your wisdom teeth removed. Actually, it’s less fun. At least the dentist will send you home with some sweet meds.
A couple months ago, I was laid off from a gig I had for over 6 years. Bummer right? I recently made it through the job search process and landed a new gig. In this BreadTalk, I will share tips, tricks, advice, etc to help you get the interview and get the offer. I can be hella verbose, so I decided to make this a two-parter. Part 1 is getting through the application process. Part 2 is Interviewing and Offer Negotiating.
*In the spirit of honesty and full disclosure, allow me to give a bit of background on myself. I have over a decade of experience in my field with four of those being directly related to the jobs I was applying.*
I believe the first step in finding a new job is identifying what you want. Even if your back is against the wall, you still should have an idea of what you want out of your next gig. I recommend jotting down your preferences: location, worth (notice I said this instead of pay), flexibility, etc. Think of all the things you want. Rank the top 3. My top three were: worth, location, and flexibility. I wanted my next gig to pay me my worth, not be a strict 8-5, and be as close to my house as I could. Now that I had that all settled, it was time to dust off ye olde resume.
I won’t tell you how to do your resume. I’ll tell you what I think are the keys to a great resume.
- One page only. I know you want to tell folks about your job slinging newspapers in 1998, but nope! I know you want to tell folks about every gig you’ve had since college. Nope! I haven’t job hopped, so 3 jobs were sufficient for my resume. Most recent gig gets the most airtime. Next gig gets less airtime. Third gig gets a couple bullet points.
- Use active voice. None of that “assisted”, “was responsible for”, “participated”. Try “Led”, “managed”, “coordinated”, “developed”, etc. Talk your ish here.
- I know what I did at my last jobs, but putting it into words was challenging. My pro-tip is to Google your job title and look for postings (ones you are NOT applying for). Use those for your bullet points. Appears that HR is more adept at making “I sat on Reddit all day and got paid” sound much better.
- I was a bit apprehensive about it at first, but adding an Interests section to my resume was a game-changer. I think this works more for folk who have many years of work experience. I believe every interview I went to, someone commented on one of my listed interests.
- The resume order I think works best is: Experience, Education, Skills, then Interests. No Comic Sans or Wingdings. 11 or 12 pt font. Straight black and white.
Okay, your resume is up and running. Time to hit the job boards. Long gone are the days where you could saunter into a company, drop off your resume, and kick back. Shoot, you can’t even get past Security to get to a floor to drop off a resume. Even if you did, HR would throw you and your resume out on your butts. Nowadays, the lion’s share of applications is done online.
My top ways to job search are:
- Indeed and LinkedIn – These two sites currently have the game on smash. Indeed is easy on the eyes and very comprehensive. LinkedIn takes a little more finesse to find exactly what you’re seeking. I’d give the slight edge to LinkedIn because it has a cool feature that allows you to share your profile with the job poster.
- Google! You can search for “Investment Bank” “City” and Google will give you a list. I’d do that for all the industries I was interested in. This is a good strategy because it gives you companies you may not have thought of. I landed a great interview with a company that was in my industry that I didn’t know existed.
Let’s say you finally located a job you dig. You’re ready to apply.**Pro-tip: you do not have to be 100% a match to a job posting. If you like the role and you fit 70% of the qualifications…APPLY!! Let them reject you, do not self reject.** Not so fast my friend! Behind that cute little “Submit Application” button lies an unspeakable evil. *cue scary music* There is an army of abhorrent algorithms called Applicant Tracking System (ATS) ready to scan your resume for keywords. If your poor resume does not contain enough and/or the right keywords, it gets tossed into the abyss which I think is the same place the mate to your other sock goes.
Years ago, some ingenious souls learned that you could trick Mr. ATS by slapping some keywords in your resume and changing the font color to white. We all feasted and prospered for a bit using this method. However, times changed, employers caught on and this trick doesn’t land like it used to. So what am I to do?
While perusing Reddit (why do so many of my stories begin this way? I digress), a very astute Redditor dropped a link that changed my job search. Calm down. I’m will share. https://cvscan.uk/index.php
This wonderful site allows you to copy and paste your resume and the job description. It will find the most used words in the posting and your match rate. Check out the screenshot below.
Currently I have a 45% match rate to the job posting I used. There is no guarantee the company’s ATS is looking for the exact same words. However, I believe if I have enough of these keywords, there is a good chance my resume will get past the ATS. Take a look at the words you are missing. Find ways to incorporate them that flows properly and makes sense. Don’t go randomly plopping “records” into your resume. Maybe you managed a records keeping system and forgot to mention it. Now would be a great time to do so!
Quite a few applications will have a questionnaire section in the application process. I’ll never condone nor condemn someone for lying. If you answer “No” to any of the questions they want a “Yes” for, you’re toast. I mean I perfectly understand if you accidentally hit Yes. Tis better to ask for forgiveness than ask for permission. However you choose to play this section is on you.
You’ve managed to make it through uploading your resume, typing in all the stuff you just uploaded, answering the questionnaire. Time to finally hit submit. Poof! It’s done. Well done champ!
Fast forward days, weeks, months later…you’re knee deep in NetFlix binge watching and your phone rings.
“Hello, is this SuperDuperJob Seeker? I’m Youneeda Job over at Widgets Corp, do you think we can get you scheduled for an interview?”
To be continued…