Like so many people over the last year, I found myself out of a job during the middle of a global crisis, but I took this setback as an opportunity to reevaluate what I wanted professionally and personally and ended up landing my dream job.
How many people can say they have their dream job, let alone that they landed it during a pandemic? I was so humbled when I was offered my current position, which is something I’ve always wanted to do, at a company where I’ve always wanted to work. While it might sound pretty rosy, it wasn’t an easy process.
I found out in mid-November that my position at my former company was going to be eliminated at the end of the year. Needless to say, I was devastated, scared and ashamed. While getting laid off wasn’t ideal, I had started considering making a switch. I took the time to reevaluate what I wanted out of a job and a company at this stage in my life and career. Then I got to work reaching out to my network.
“It’s not 100% about who you know, but it is a big help,” says Lauren Lewis, a partner at StaffBuffalo, a local staffing and recruiting firm. “Build your network constantly, even when you’re not looking for a job, so when you are looking for a job, it is already in place.”
Building and maintaining your network is critical
Lewis says one great way to do that is though LinkedIn, which has become more important than ever. She says it is critical to make sure your profile is up-to-date and stands out. You’ll also want a summary that highlights your achievements and shows your personality. Remember, you only get one chance to make a great first impression.
Build your network by connecting with past companies and colleagues, as well as people in your industry. Make sure to actively use the platform, by posting, liking, commenting and sharing.
“You get so much more traction on LinkedIn and other platforms when you are constantly engaging on the platform,” Lewis says.
As you start to apply for jobs, make sure to tailor your resume and cover letter to each job description. You may also want to reevaluate the format of your resume and consider current resume and cover letter trends. If you need more help getting started with your cover letter, try some of these links.
“So many times with resumes and the resume parser, they’re looking for specific keywords. Even if you are the most qualified person for the job, if your resume doesn’t have that keyword, you’re not getting recommended for that job,” Lewis says.
Be truthful, but don’t be humble. Sell yourself!
“One of the things that sticks out that people often don’t have in their resume is quantifiable results. There are a lot of different quantifiable things people can put in their resume. ‘I supervised a team of six.’ Make sure that number, six people, is in your resume. Those numbers are important to show what you achieved during your career,” Lewis says.
“See if you can used LinkedIn to find the potential hiring manager or somebody in that company you can talk to. That help gets your foot in the door to getting a job interview,” Lewis says.
“The hardest part is getting that interview”
The whole process can take a lot of time and can get pretty disheartening. Even though the job I ended up landing was the first one I applied for and the one I wanted most, I applied to more than 80 jobs.
I got eight rejection emails in one day!
Applying for jobs is a job in itself, and the process can certainly take its toll mentally and physically. It’s important to take a break, regroup, and refresh when you can, so desperation doesn’t cause you to compromise what matters most in your next career move.
“Keep forging forward and building your connections in that network so you can find that next opportunity. It is out there. You just have to stay positive and keep working at it,” Lewis says.
Tips for landing the interview:
- Build your network
- Reach out to your network to help
- Tailor your cover letter and resume to each job
- Look for keywords to include
- Be active on LinkedIn
- Be patient
- Be true to what you want in a career, job, company, salary, etc.
Now, that you’ve made it through the hardest part and landed the interview, it’s time to make sure you shine. Make sure to tune into our next blog to get more tips on how to ace the interview!