Frank Jacobsen shares tips related to career development, job hunting, small business, and economic policy.
If you’re a millennial currently looking for a job, you’ve got your work cut out for you. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for people age 16 to 24 is 16.2%. The economy is getting back on its feet again, but companies are still playing things cautiously, which means job applicants with attractive resumes and extensive experience are getting hired more readily than those new to the workforce. There are, however, ways to set yourself apart from the pack – it only requires a little dedication and ingenuity. For some helpful job search tips, read on.
1. Follow Your Passion
Following your passion is important no matter how the economy or job market are doing – but that doesn’t mean you should do it to the exclusion of all else. If you can’t find a job in your preferred industry, your best bet is to take whatever work you can get and continue to pursue your dreams simultaneously. You’re going to have a much better chance of success if you’ve got funds coming in. It can ease financial concerns and help you devote energy to eventually landing the job of your dreams.
2. Review Social Media Accounts
Always be mindful of your social media accounts as they portray a very particular image to potential employers – and if that image is not professional or flattering, you’re doing serious damage to your prospects. Take a good look at all your accounts and delete anything that may be seen as less than positive. Remove any compromising photos, keeping in mind that hiring managers may have a conservative perspective when evaluating candidates. They may also take note of who you follow or like, so look at who you’re associated with and be sure to unfriend or unfollow any less than reputable characters or organizations.
3. Think Creatively
Hiring managers may receive thousands of resumes every day, almost all of which look alike. Try to put yourself in their shoes and ask what would set a candidate apart from the rest. Would you like to see an infographic resume, or maybe a link to a listing at an auction website in which you’re the product? Creative thinking like this can make you stand out from the pack, which is essential if you want to be recognized.
4. Hit the Road
Anything you can do to show an employer that you want the position more than the next candidate is sure to pay off at some point, so if your job search needs a reset, try pounding the pavement. Show up at the offices of the most desirable companies on your list, introduce yourself, and drop off a hard copy resume. You might find yourself in front of someone with influence, and even if you don’t immediately land an interview, you’ve at least made personal contact which you might be able to take advantage of at a later date.
5. Identify Your Online Brand
Think you don’t have an online brand? Google yourself and see. Chances are you have a footprint. Examine your search results closely. If you see anything untoward, especially if it appears on the first page, your best course of action is to post high-quality content on your social media accounts, or your blog if you have one, with the ultimate goal being to push the less-than-positive content down until it’s off the first page.
6. Perfect Your Phone Interview Skills
After your resume, a phone interview just may be the first impression you make on a potential employer, so it’s important to get this step right. Change your voicemail greeting to sound mature and professional. Do an Internet search to get a list of stock interview questions that managers are likely to ask, then prepare answers and practice them in front of a mirror. When you do get that coveted phone interview, make sure it’s scheduled at a time when you won’t be interrupted, and make sure you’ve got good cell phone reception if you don’t have access to a landline.
Your resume is an essential tool in your job search, so make sure you get it right at the beginning. You should only prepare it on your own if you have significant experience reviewing and creating resumes. And even if you do, have someone well-versed in grammar check it over, and seek advice from others whose professional opinions you trust. If you don’t feel you can create a perfect resume on your own, seek professional assistance. You face plenty of challenges in the current hiring market, but with the right amount of effort and research you can land that perfect job – it’s out there waiting for you.