Life happens. Sometimes you outgrow a position, or sometimes it outgrows you. Whatever the reason you’re considering new employment opportunities, an essential step in your job search is to determine whether the positions you come across are suited to your personality and skill set. Once that's confirmed, you'll be better prepared to secure a job that's tailor-made for you. The following tips will help you get started.
Tip #1: Review the job posting carefully
Don’t just look at the job title – that is not enough; you need to review the key responsibilities and qualifications that are required. Be honest with yourself, do you really meet the criteria? Don’t sell yourself short! You likely have a lot more to offer than you realize. Highlight the job’s skills, duties and qualifications, and then cross-reference them with your own skills and experience. See if there is a match for at least 75% of the requirements.
Tip #2: Research the company
Don’t just apply blindly!
Research the organization’s website to find out who they are and learn more about their mission and programs. Do a Google search to learn more and check social media posts to see what others have to say about the organization. Read both positive and negative reviews to find out as much as you can about what it’s like to work for them. Determine whether the organization's standards and values align with yours. Go beyond the virtual and stake out the physical location; observe the people traveling in and out and take note of how they dress and interact. If possible, find a mole or use a source like LinkedIn to find someone who already works there to gain insight into the interview and hiring process.
Tip #3: Always send a cover letter with your resume
Don’t reuse cover letters!
Ok, I get it. Most people hate writing customized cover letters, but do recognize the value of sending targeted cover letters with their resume. Let’s keep it simple, short and to the point: three to four paragraphs. Spelling and grammar are important, but so is content. Customize your cover letter to the job posting, as it is expected you will have multiple cover letters for various positions. Don’t forget to highlight your experience, skills and qualifications, indicate your interest in the position and use standard business format.
Tip #4: Prepare for your interview
Don’t be late!
Arrive ten to fifteen minutes before your interview, professionally dressed to impress. Create a portfolio of your work and be sure to prepare two or three questions to ask at the end of your interview. Don't forget to ask about next steps! Familiarize yourself with a variety of job-specific interview questions. Take advantage of practice interview questions and visit Employment Service Centres where employment counsellors can assist you with practice interviews and creating the perfect ‘elevator pitch’.
Now that you’ve overcome the hurdle of identifying the right position and preparing the perfect application, it’s time to go out there and nail that interview!
Shineece Wallace has over 10 years of experience in human resource management and is affiliated with the Canadian Society for Training and Development (CSTD). Shineece is the Facilitator for the Bridge to HR Program at Job Skills and her primary areas of training are in Human Resources Management, Human Rights Code, Professional Job Search strategy, and Workplace Culture/Social Norms.