I would like to dedicate this post to my dear crypto friends out there who have been making money through trading and at the same time hustling in between jobs to make sure they make enough for the year.
So we all know that the job search can be stressful and time-consuming, but it can make for a great moment for you to reflect on what you want next in your career, and to consider how to position yourself best for the future. It can also serve as an opportunity to make yourself more marketable to prospective employers.
1. Create a “soft skills” one-pager
Firstly, start preparing two documents before going into an interview. The first is your resume with cover letter that you will give your interviewer. The second is a document that highlights your so-called soft skills.
The soft skills one-pager is just for you, so you don’t give it to the hiring manager when you walk in. List the strengths you want to highlight in your interview on the left side of the page, and on the right, write specific examples that illustrate that skill. Do some research ahead of time so you know which soft skills are most relevant to the position. Use short sentences to jog your memory so that, if the interviewer asks “What is your greatest strength?” or “What will you bring to this role?” you’re ready with your answer.
Here’s what part of your one-pager could look like:
Self-starter: Always first to cover events and issues for my school newspaper
Team player: Camp wilderness guide; resolving misunderstandings as a team; picking up each other’s slack when we were tired
Instead of getting clammy and nervous when your interviewer asks what you bring to the role, you can throw on your most confident smile and say, “One of my greatest strengths is that I’m a self-starter; when I worked as a reporter for my school newspaper, I felt like I wasn’t covering stories that represented the diversity of our student body. So I spent time meeting new students and learning about cool events that were happening around campus. My supervising editor told me she appreciated the unique ideas I contributed to our monthly publication.”
Or maybe you’re applying to a marketing position where being a team player is a high priority to the hiring manager. You can tell them, “I love working as part of a team. Over the summer, I got to work as a wilderness guide at a summer camp. It was exhausting, but it taught me so much about working toward a common goal as a group. Because the other counselors and I had such diverse backgrounds, we had to navigate some tense misunderstandings. As we sat down and had honest conversations, we came to appreciate our differences and were able to work together as a unit.”
When demonstrating your soft skills in a job interview, focus on your growth and how that growth happened. Was there a challenge you had to overcome in your current job? How did you do it? This gives the interviewer a window into how you work and how you would handle challenges in the workplace.
“You don’t have to be the best person for the job, but if you prep the best, you’ll be able to get the job,”
2. Do some light social climbing
Starting from scratch? You can use social media sites to find local networking events related to your field while job hunting. LinkedIn groups are another great place to find upcoming events. You might also check in with your college alumni program to see if any more experienced grads would be open to meeting for coffee.
“When you hire someone, at the end of the day, you are taking a risk on [whether they] will be able to complete the job. So you like to go with people that you know or who have a good recommendation from someone that you trust.”
Networking can also be an opportunity to hear about job opportunities that may not be listed publicly yet.
Before going to an event, make sure you’re current on what’s happening in your field. Read a few news articles on current events and industry-specific news. You’ll be a more confident job seeker and more comfortable overall if you have a few conversation topics planned out first.
You’ll also want to brush up on your small talk (you can even try practicing out loud at home). When hiring managers are looking for a new employee, they want someone who is knowledgeable in their field and pleasant to spend time with. Show an interest in the person you’re speaking with (beyond their career), and you’ll leave them with a good impression.
Make a commitment to smartening up your social media presence this year, as i’ve mentioned the importance of self-awareness above in terms of improving how you are perceived by employers – and if there’s one aspect of how you present yourself that will definitely influence how a prospective employer perceives you, it’s your social media activity. There’s plenty that you can do across social networks to make yourself a more intriguing prospect for hiring managers, including writing about things you have learnt or have pre-existing knowhow in, sharing other people’s content that is relevant to your line of work, adding examples of your work to your profiles, and sharing successes with your social ‘friends’ or followers. Shaping how you are perceived, so that employers are more likely to see you as someone who is employable, rather than someone who isn’t very professional or is careless – not exactly qualities they will want in someone actually working for them.
3. Turn your personal experiences into professional ones
Volunteering is an especially good option to compete in the job market for anyone who doesn’t have much professional experience. Some people make the job search miserable for themselves by staying at home and applying to dozens of jobs a day. This might seem productive, but it’s a recipe for burnout and won’t help you stand out to potential employers.
To help yourself get a job, get out into the real world where you can do some good for others. The experience can help you remember that a job isn’t your identity, among many other things. Volunteering shows a hiring manager that you like to help people.
“Having volunteer experience, right off the bat, makes you look like a team player without having to say that you are a team player.”
4. Sharpen your story
Just because you don’t have all of the experiences listed on the new job posting doesn’t mean you’re not the best candidate. Give some thought to how you talk about your past.
“You don’t have to be the perfect candidate, and you don’t have to have the exact experience, but hiring managers love it if you can show that you completed something at a prior job by learning.”
5. Bulk up that resume
By taking the initiative to teach yourself new skills, you show hiring managers that you’ll be ready to adapt to new challenges and changes that pop up in your role.
If you have more time or are looking to transition into a tech-focused role, Thinkful offers online bootcamps with 1:1 mentorships.
Then plan to talk, for example, about how you took that InDesign course to sharpen your graphic design skillset. Update your social media accounts and LinkedIn profile to highlight your desire to be constantly learning and improving, as well as the new skills and talents you’ve acquired.
4. To this end, before starting your job search and to help clarify your thoughts, ask yourself these questions:
- What salary and benefits package are you looking for?
- What kind of role would represent a sensible step towards your long-term career goals?
- What technical and soft skills are you looking to develop?
- What kind of culture and work environment would you like to join?
- What might your ‘deal-breakers’ be?
- What are you prepared to be flexible about?
It’s understandable that your initial positivity and motivation may wane if your job search begins to last longer than you had expected, so you might want to follow our previous tips on how to keep smiling, whatever your job-hunting brings. That might include reminding yourself why you are seeking a new role in the first place, as well as learning how to deal with rejection constructively and giving yourself occasional time off from your job search.
Crucially, a positive frame of mind isn’t just good for your own wellbeing – it also demonstrates to a prospective employer that you can deal with unforeseen and unfortunate circumstances constructively. This is a skill in and of itself – remember, after all, that employers wish to recruit people who can perform strongly on the job, including by facing down and overcoming unexpected challenges and thriving and developing under pressure.