10 Tips for Getting a Job
Cover letters, tailored CVs, research, work experience... guest reporter Aaron offers ten simple tips for getting a job.
Getting a job is the hardest thing in the world (after Sudoku and Metro being on time), especially with all the empty shopfronts and staff cuts these days.
That's why I’ve come up with some tips for getting a job. If you follow this advice, based on my experience working in human resources, hopefully you’ll be getting paid regularly in no time.
1. Make Sure You Actually Want the Job
Let’s face it - what's the point in applying for a job if you don't really want to work there? Exactly. I mean, if you don't want to work there it will show in your interview.
Also, unhappy you equals unhappy customers/colleagues and unhappy customers/colleagues equal unhappy boss and unhappy boss plus unhappy you equals... well, you get the picture.
2. Write a Killer Cover Letter
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to not include a cover letter with your applications. Another of the biggest mistakes one can make is to print off thirty copies of a Microsoft Office template cover letter and think that that is okay. THIS IS NOT OKAY. Okay? Okay.
A cover letter is the most important part of any job application. It is your opportunity to shamelessly promote your skills and qualities. Potential bosses will always read the cover letter. Potential bosses will not always read your resume. Check out Youth Central's cover letter tips and templates to find out what a cover letter needs.
3. Tailor Your Resume to Suit
Once you have written a super awesome cover letter, you have to make sure you can back it up with your resume. Too often people will write their resume once, add in experience as they go and then just print off copious copies.
Computer says no. Do not do this. You should be updating your resume from scratch at least once a year. For each job you apply for, you should be customising your resume to match.
For example, if the job you are applying for requires teamwork skills, work out how your existing skills and employment reflect your teamwork skills and make sure this is included at the top of the relevant sections of your resume.
If the position includes administrative duties, make sure you include any skills in Microsoft Office, typing and time management. You’d be surprised how many existing skills you can demonstrate knowledge of. Check out Youth Central's resume writing pages to read more about writing an ace-triffic resume.
4. Follow the Application Instructions
A lot of the time organisations will have their own internal procedures for job applications. Make sure you follow these procedures, or else your application could get lost in translation/outer space/someone’s overflowing inbox/the trash accidentally on purpose.
If you are applying to a larger business, like Cotton On or Woolworths, you’ll often need to apply online, whereas smaller businesses are generally happy to take applications over the counter.
Always give the organisation a call beforehand to suss out the best way to go about applying for a job.
5. Prepare for the Interview
For those lucky enough to have been offered an interview: well done! That’s awesome. Now comes the preparation for it.
Bosses like it when their potential new employees are actually interested in what they do, and there will often be interview questions directly relating to the organisation.
Before the interview, jump on the company’s website. Search around for a bit, taking note of the services or products they offer, any current promotions and the company's strategic goals.
There will often be an "About Us" section on their website, which is a goldmine for this sort of information. This isn’t to say that you should know the complete history of the organisation, but you should pick out few things that interest you about the company and read up a bit about it - just in case they do ask.
Check out Youth Central's Getting Ready for an Interview page for more tips and tricks.
6. Be Yourself in the Interview
DO NOT BE NERVOUS, because honestly, what is the point? The worst thing that could happen is that you don’t get the job and really, that's not the end of the world.
The whole point of an interview is to get to know you, the real you.The people conducting the interview aren’t scary - they’re people just like you. Just smile, let your personality shine through and be as engaging as possible.
Show them that you aren’t a waste of their time, and that you would be a perfect addition to their team. There is nothing worse than an emotional ball of nerves offering one worded answers.
Check out Youth Central's Answering Questions in an Interview page to get some ideas of what you might get asked.
7. Ask Questions in the Interview
Show them that you really want the job by asking questions in your interview. Interviewers will be impressed by your initiative. It will also give you a chance to engage in conversation.
Whip out the facts and figures you researched in Step 5 and ask them about the position or the organisation. This is your chance to find out anything you’d like to know. Some good questions include:
- What would an average day be like, should I be successful?
- What would be the most challenging aspects of the job?
- What sort of culture do you perceive the organisation to have?
Check out Youth Central's Job Interviews section for more tips on how to get the most out of interviews.
8. Be Proactive, Be, Be Proactive
The more experience you have, the better. That’s easier said than done, which is why it is super-duper important to be proactive and look around for unpaid (gasp!) work experience.
Work experience is a shining example of a win-win situation. The employer gets a free worker for a week or two, and you gain invaluable exposure and experience in an industry you are interested in. Sometimes you might even get an actual paid job out of it.
The easiest way to do this is to ring the organisation directly, ask to talk to someone about doing work experience and see what happens. Swing over to Youth Central's Work Experience pages for more about it.
9. Volunteer Like the World Depends On It… Which It Does
Employers love volunteers. In fact, in some organisations they actually give you paid days off to actually go and volunteer. Volunteering is a fantastic, beautiful, precious, amazing, wondrous thing. I cannot talk it up enough, honestly.
Volunteering is one of the most valuable experiences to have for a couple of reasons. The first is that it shows that you’re engaged and dedicated, a trait that absolutely every organisation looks for. The second is that it gives you skills and experience that you would not be able to pick up at many other places, like genuine patience and self-awareness.
Lastly, volunteering gives back to the community. The one that you live in. You know, that one. Chuck a squiz at Youth Central's Volunteering pages to learn more.
10. Persistence Pays Off
Do not be disheartened if you don’t get the first job you go for. Do not be disheartened if you do not get the second or the third or the fourth either.
Firstly, it's not a reflection on your abilities or skills. Employers might have someone already in mind when they advertise or begin looking for new employees, and sometimes that might just not be you.
Secondly, think about the amount of people in the world who are also looking for jobs. Employers cannot give everyone who applies and interviews the job. There could be one hundred people who fit the bill, but only one can get it.
Thirdly, sometimes they might just go for someone with a teensy bit more experience than you, which just makes steps 8 and 9 even more important.
Just keep on applying, keep on volunteering and keep on looking for work experience. Eventually you will get that dream job.
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