Ask an Expert: Resume Preparation and Job Hunting with Catherine Hardin


Have a question for our experts? This line is open until Friday, May 6th. Our expert will then answer the top questions and we’ll post their answers right here and on our Facebook page.

Q: What’s the most important thing to know or do while job hunting?

 

A: It is very important to have a realistic understanding of the job search process. I tell our residents that “looking for a job is a full-time job!” It is important to contact and connect with as many employers as possible daily. It also may take several weeks for an opportunity to present itself, but if you are persistent and do not give up, eventually that opportunity be there! Also, network with everyone you know! The majority of jobs are on the “hidden job market” which means they are only advertised by word of mouth and you can only find out about these opportunities by networking.

Q: I’ve applied for tons of jobs but haven’t received anything. What am I doing wrong?

 

A: It often feels like sending out your resume and cover letter to an online job posting or company ad is like shouting into the dark! You often do not get a response or, if you do, it is a form letter that was sent to all applicants. It is important to be realistic that the hiring process may take several weeks. It is also important to be savvy and learn what companies are “legit” and what companies are not. You should also learn to recognize a recruiter posting vs. a company posting. If you find a particular job that really interests you, go after it! Contact the company or hiring manager directly (unless it says not to in the posting) and try to follow up on your resume with a phone call or email. Being persistent shows confidence and interest, but you don’t want to be overly aggressive which can back fire.

It feels like a majority of ads on job boards come from staffing agencies. These agencies are constantly looking for A+ candidates to recruit for the businesses they represent. It is much easier to get an interview with a staffing agency than with an actual company! I think job searchers can greatly benefit from staffing & employment agencies; however, these companies are in business for themselves and you have to be assertive and in business for yourself by contacting them regularly and advocating for yourself.

Lastly, make sure you are applying for jobs for which you are truly qualified. Cover letters are crucial too! A hiring manager is really wondering “why should I hire this person?” and if you can answer that question by stating your interest in the company, the great skills and passion you will bring to the position, you will really catch the hiring manager’s eye!

Q: I’m not very good at interviews. How can I make myself seem more outgoing?

 

A: Enthusiasm is they key to winning an interview! I truly believe this. You have to have a positive, upbeat attitude and express sincere interest in the position and company. Companies often weigh attitude and personality over and above actual job experience. One way to express enthusiasm is to smile! Smile and nod to show you are actively listening to everything the hiring manager is saying. Ask relevant questions too . . . just don’t ask about salary or benefits during the first interview. Do your homework! Read the job description thoroughly and research the company beforehand. This will demonstrate your enthusiasm for the position! Always remember to thank the employer for their time and send a thank-you note within 24-48 hours of the interview!

Want more? Check out our previous job hunting Q&A with the NCAC!

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