Job Hunting Tips
Updated: Apr 17, 2022
Alright, so this was actually a requested topic. Job hunting is hard work. It takes an emotional toll on an individual, along with bringing on a new level of anxiety - especially for new grads. I have been lucky enough to be given as many opportunities as I have over the past few years, but it wasn’t easy and I cried - many times.
To provide some insight for those who don’t personally know me and my “story”. I had consistent contract positions and internships in 2020. This meant that my positions and “new jobs” everyone saw on LinkedIn were very short-term positions lasting only 2-3 months. This was great to gain experience in different industries, but for someone like me who really zones into the organization and the process of tasks, it took me almost the full contract to really get in the right mind-space and get out of my shell personally then I had to leave. In addition to trying to wrap my head around a totally new industry in a short amount of time I was also constantly applying for jobs at the same time for when my contract ended. If you have been unemployed or on the job hunt, you may know that it takes a few weeks...or months… to find something let alone add in multiple rounds of interviews. This being said, although it looked fun that I had all of these different positions I was actually drowning in job hunting, unfulfilled job applications, and interviews that led to nowhere all year, while trying to keep it together in a short term role.
So here we are, a year and a half later, and I am ready to share all of my job hunting and interview tips that I have learned. I will be sharing 10 tips to consider while job hunting:
Apply to jobs This may sound obvious, but I feel like people hold back when they are applying for jobs and then wonder why it is not working. You have to apply for jobs, and you have to keep in mind that most job postings on Indeed and LinkedIn receive hundreds of applications. Even pre-covid life, I would be applying to ANY marketing job that I felt was within my reach whether they were in Edmonton, or if they were remote. If i was willing to relocate I would apply to those cities as well. I would, on average, apply to 250-350 jobs before I got a position. You have to apply to jobs in order to get positions.
“Recent stats (from Talent Works or livecareer) shows it takes 100-200+ applications to receive one job offer. In a further breakdown, you have an 8.3% chance of getting a job interview from a single job application. That means it takes 10-20 applications to get one interview and 10-15 interviews to get one job offer” (Career Centre, 2020).
*Note: I was still applying to positions that I felt I would be a good asset on, as well as jobs in my field. I was not applying to every single job. I was picking and choosing through the postings, but being mindful of the fact that I needed a job, and what I was willing to sacrifice and what I wasn’t (i.e. things like commute, pay, growth opportunities, etc).
Create a unique resume This is a huge impact on your chances of getting noticed. In a previous sales job I had years ago, we would put out job postings and receive 700+ applications. SEVEN HUNDRED. So, unfortunately for many, we went through the resumes and picked out the ones that seemed most appealing to the eye, then we went through that stack and selected resumes that had experience or skills that we wanted, and then we went through and picked people out to call in for interviews. So for many, their resume did not get looked at. I don’t like that it was that way, but you cannot bring 700+ people in for interviews.
You have to make your resume standout. I created mine on Canva or did it myself on Adobe InDesign. Canva has many templates that you can use, and you can adjust the colors and themes to fit who you are as an individual. This will help pull your resume out from the rest.
Update resume + customize This is something that is definitely a little bit time consuming, but totally worth it in every possible way. We were taught to customize our cover letters per company, but no one ever talked about the importance of customizing our resume for each company. This allows you to edit the language to really put yourself “in their shoes”. This will stand out to recruiters and employers as they are reading through it, meaning that you may have a higher chance of getting picked from the stack of resumes off their desks for an interview.
a portfolio This is something that I suggest beginning very early on. So if you are a new university student - this is your sign to START NOW. This is an opportunity to show off your skills and show your drive to be prepared.
So many positions as for examples of previous work, and being able to say, “Absolutely, feel free to check out previous work examples on my website: www.darienmonck.com” is so easy and professional. It also allows you to create and design a website - which some programs don’t teach you, meaning that you can call that an example (crucial for those with little experience to find a way to add more themselves).
There are many different website builders and some are free and some are paid. I prefer squarespace, and they do give 50% off to post secondary students for one year. I have also worked with Shopify, Wix, and Weebly - so if you need support reach out and I will try my best to help!
If you don’t want to create a website, you can create a shareable drive folder. Using platforms like Google Drive, Dropbox, or Microsoft OneDrive allow you to put all of your files in one place and create a shareable link to send out. This way you can easily send off a link to an employer instead of a handful of documents.
Prepare for interviews There are three key points I like to touch on while preparing for an interview.
#1. Just like job seekers filtering through job postings on where to apply, employers are filtering through candidates who will bring value to their team and genuinely want to be there. So it only makes sense to be prepared for questions like “Why do you want to work here” or “What made you apply to our job posting”.
#2. Create a pros and cons list regarding what you like about the company (pro) and what you would like to contribute to make it even better (con). You want to lay out why you would be valuable and how you can make it happen. #3. Prepare your “backstory”. Keep it relevant and recent, but simplified enough that it provides all of the right information. I like to keep it at 1-2 sentences for each.
Talk about your education experience
Talk about previous work experience
Talk about your dreams or goals
Talk about your hobbies and likes (people want to know what kind of people they will be working with - so don’t be shy to let them know a little bit about you!)
Ask for feedback from Interviews As frustrating as it is to receive a “thank you for your time, but we decided to go another route” email, it is important to learn from them. I oftentimes would reply to it asking if they had a moment to critique me and go over any future interview tips I could improve on. I would say 75% of the time, the recruiter was more than willing to go over this with me.
Apply to jobs that are out of reach If you have been wanting a sign that you should apply to that dream job that is out of your reach - this is it. You never know what could happen, and if you are passionate and confident about it then that might be what they choose over someone with tons of experience but doesn’t have the “right attitude”. Plus, you want to add more to your skills and experience, not just continue working at the same level forever. If you would like a bit more explanation on why this is a key point, I highly recommend reading this article!
Be confident and put yourself out there It is never easy putting yourself out there. I struggled with it because at first I didn’t think I was “experienced enough”, but how else do we gain experience other than doing? By doing so I was able to gain valuable connections, some of which have turned to friends even, and be considered for opportunities that I wouldn’t have known by getting referred from people. Yes, it is scary. However, if you are able to push yourself and get out of your shell now, imagine what you will be capable of later on.
Utilize LinkedIn I have a love-hate relationship with LinkedIn. It is definitely useful for professional connections, but it has morphed into a “Facebook for business” almost. However, I do have to admit that the life of a LinkedIn post is my favorite. I had posted about graduating - a very simple and relatable post - before Christmas, and it was still circulating people’s networks in mid-January. I was able to gain multiple new connections from that post and had several people reach out in terms of employment opportunities. Do not sleep on the power of LinkedIn! Engage with people, congratulate people on accomplishments, and be a supporter within your network. People take notice of those things and it can work well in your favour.
Find ways to gain experience Like I mentioned above, if you lack professional experience, it is important to find ways to create your own experience. This can be things like creating your portfolio or launching a side business while in school (one girl started making hot chocolate bombs and it took off!), or helping out friends and family with anything you can. You can use these things and call it experience, so take it seriously! You can also start a blog if you are looking for my writing experience - I can personally vouch for this! If you made it to the end - THANK YOU and I hope you have made some notes! These are the best pieces of advice that I can give to job seekers based on my experience, but am by no means a pro. I wish you the best of luck!