Job Search Strategy for the Under 30 Set – 5 Must-Dos to Get Hired
Here are two key differences in searching for a job after high school and/or college and searching for jobs listed through on-campus recruiting programs:
- There is generally no list of pre-published dates on when to apply and when you can expect to hear back. (This is why StartWire includes the ability for job applicants to receive automatic updates on where they stand in the hiring pool for applications submitted to over 7,000 companies.)
- Often positions linger on websites long after interviewing for a job has taken place and resumes have been reviewed. (This is why “the early applicant gets the job” and why we encourage you to sign up for job alerts and apply for positions within seven days of positions being posted.)
At present, the percentage of unemployed people between the ages of 18 and 29 is higher – 12.8% — then that of the overall population (8.2%). Fortunately, there is something you can do about it: These five strategies can help you clear hiring hurdles.
1. Start your resume with a summary – then put your “Work Experience” before Education.
When employers list jobs, they include keywords that they scan for prior to reviewing a resume with their own eyes. Use this trick to find the right key words and then create a 3-bullet summary that highlights your relevant experience for the job. This will help you get screened in for an interview as opposed to screened out.
2. Don’t say you are great in your cover letter. Ever.
Writing “I’m confident that I would be a great fit for this job” is a standard line in many cover letter templates. But it won’t help you get hired: Why? You haven’t seen the other applicants in the application pool – so don’t say you are a perfect fit if you don’t know who the competition is.
Instead: Focus on the job description and how your experience matches it. “I understand you seek ____________. I can offer you this.
When you show you’ve thought about the job and what it entails, it is easier for others to see you in it. Here are our exclusive tips on how to write a cover letter that sells you as a good fit for the job.
3. Don’t over-emphasize leadership skills. Show you can be a part of the team.
Showcasing leadership positions in sports and student organizations is a standard part of the college admissions process. But over-emphasizing this experience can kill your application for a job. Why? For entry-level jobs, most employers seek team players that can listen and follow directions as well as they can oversee a project.
It’s critical to show that your passing game is as good as your ability to serve as captain of the team.
If you participated on a project that ultimately made a big impact on your organization, give an overview of the team accomplishment — and provide information on the role you played to make that happen.
4. Interview as yourself – with your best foot forward.
Ever-spent hours reading suggestions on how you MUST answer specific interview questions? It’s easy to memorize suggested answers to questions, but one of the best way to come across as qualified in an interview is to come across as genuine, authentic, and honest.
Don’t misrepresent yourself – or sell your picture of who you’d like to be for the job that you will need to do if hired.
If you’re a planner and don’t like to work under pressure, share how you prepare in advance for working in situations that require tight deadlines. Don’t speak to your love of working under on a huge project with tight deadlines in a short time span — if such a project is actually a nightmare for you.
The best way to answer a weakness question is by sharing your own legitimate weaknesses – which you’ve found a way to address and work around.
Be yourself. And if you need examples — ask your friends and family for their observations on what they see in you.
5. Remember your mom and dad’s advice about not talking politics and religion in the presence of new acquaintances? It’s the same with money. Don’t talk about it until you are offered the job.
If you’re asked for information in advance, provide a range of salary averages for the job – or your compensation for your most recent position if appropriate. (Need salary averages? Glassdoor.com has great information on this, and you can get quick access to this via the Job details section of any job you’ve tracked in StartWire)
Follow these five strategies and watch your next potential employer nod as if to say – “yes, yes, yes!’ Then let us know how they work for you.