It should come as no shock to anyone, recent college grads especially, that getting a job in today’s economy is tough. And while colleges and universities try to prepare their students as best they can for the post-graduation grind, the harsh realities of the job search still seem to catch many off guard. It’s not uncommon to have literally thousands of applicants for the same position today, and while some of these points may seem like common-knowledge, it never hurts to have a quick refresher to get you back on track, or keep you on the right path.
- Write a Succinct Cover Letter
Outside of your resume, this is the most important tool in getting you an interview. Once your resume passes the inspection, your cover letter is the key to the interview room. Think about it from the reader’s perspective. They probably have to read hundreds, if not thousands of these things in a week, maybe even a day. They don’t need a full page of fluff or a life story, no matter how great yours may be. They want to see that you know what the job entails, that you’re capable of doing it, and that you can show them these things in three, well-written and poignant short paragraphs… or less.
- Get Professional Advice
For those of you who have been out of school for a bit longer and are still struggling to land the right job, don’t be scared to enlist the help of a life coach or a similarly trained professional; they’re professionals at this sort of thing for good reason. Even if you just ask a past professor or mentor from your college for tips or a second set of eyes, you’ll probably be surprised at how willing people are to help each other, despite busy schedules. The chances are good that they too got some help along the professional path.
- Know Your Audience, Act Accordingly
Probably one of the biggest mistakes young applicants make when submitting resumes and cover letters is doing too little research. If you really want a job, you should learn as much about a company and a particular position as possible. Read the company website, learn about the major players already involved if possible, and figure out what they want. Tailor and tweak your resume and cover letter accordingly. This doesn’t mean you should lie, or pretend to have higher credentials than you actually do; I simply suggest that you highlight relevant points in your scholastic or professional history depending on the employer information you may uncover.
In an economy as tough as this one, making grammatical mistakes or delivering anything but your best is careless. That shouldn’t scare you; it should get you to re-read your work before submitting, and make sure everything is up to snuff. Employers aren’t looking to hire Yale and Harvard grads for every available position. They are looking for people with the right tools, and with sense enough to present themselves in an efficient and easily received manner.
Most importantly, be confident in your abilities and personal triumphs, and know that landing a job takes time, especially this day and age. Keep your head up, and keep pushing; the dam is bound to break sooner or later.
Amanda Green is a guest writer who has written extensively on the subject of business and personal finance.
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