Finding the right job is hard. It takes relentless patience and drive, and it can be demoralizing for many different reasons. In the modern world, countless skills are needed for every profession, and as the world progresses at the rate that it does, that list of skills will continue to grow. In this post, we’ll cover what skills are needed to get a job in the modern world, applying to jobs and the initial interview, that way you can be better prepared when you apply for your next role.
What comes to mind when you think of the modern workplace? Is it technology, a fast-paced environment or social skills? Although all of those are important, the types of skills are becoming much more flexible. In the past, employers would hire a candidate that had the exact experience that they needed for the position, but because of technology and the internet, that position might change within a year or two. As the world progresses, being a willing learner is one of the most important traits that you can possess.
Having all of the relevant technical skills is great, and in an ideal world, everyone would know how to do everything. Unfortunately for many employers, the world isn’t ideal and instead they have to look for who can accomplish the goals set forth quickly and efficiently. When they look at a résumé that comes in, they might not be looking only for the exact tasks that the position will be doing, but instead if the candidate can learn quickly and be a versatile member to the team.
When listing roles that you’ve held on your résumé, think about the first word that’s used per line: developed, established, created, studied, designed, cooperated, etc. The common theme in these descriptors is that they all show action, and a willingness to learn. When a hiring manager looks at the skills that a candidate has, sure, they’ll be looking for management skills, time management, work experience and problem solving – and those are all very important – but they’ll also be looking into what else you can bring to the table, such as an entrepreneurial spirit and tenacity, two traits that lead to the company being better off.
Businesses aren’t just looking for simple cogs to fulfill tasks anymore; they’re looking for people who will innovate and improve the company in ways that they haven’t considered before. The proper candidate will learn on the job and add a unique perspective that will propel the company to new heights.
Think about it this way. If you were to go adopt a pet, something that you’d have a long, committed relationship with, would you be looking for a dog that does nothing more than eating, sleeping and unenthusiastically playing fetch? Absolutely not. You’d be looking for a dog that you can form a long-lasting relationship with, that can teach you along the way, just as you teach it.
Applying to jobs isn’t fun. Most everyone above the age of fifteen has at some point applied for a job, whether it was with a fast-food restaurant or some Fortune 500 company. We can all remember the butterflies in our stomach as we sent our résumé’s out, hoping to get an interview. Then, if you were lucky, you’d get called in to talk to the hiring manager. That’s when you get so nervous that your mouth dries up, and when they offer you a glass of water, you want to say yes because you’re parched, but you say no because you don’t want to seem too forward. Interviews can be stressful, awkward and downright miserable if you’re not ready, so what can you do to make them a more manageable experience?
The first step in having an easier job search is doing everything in your power to be more prepared throughout. Staring at your résumé for hours on end to make it more appealing to the employers that it’ll be sent to isn’t easy, but that’s because the job application process has changed. The world is all about customization, and there are no two companies that are the same.
According to Glassdoor, a hiring manager spends, on average, six seconds looking over a résumé. That’s just enough time to find something they like or hate on your résumé. If someone applied for a customer service position, and their first experience reads as follows, “controlled anger in order to work with customers,” then why would someone hire them. Now, I’d hope that no one would ever think that that’s a good bullet point, but you never know what some people are thinking. If instead they said, “worked with customers to make their experience as pleasurable as possible,” then the hiring manager will be much more likely to schedule an interview.
Even though it’s a timely process, résumés and cover letters should be catered to each and every company that’s being applied to. You’re selling yourself to these companies, and they don’t want to waste their time with someone that they don’t think is taking the process seriously. Think about the last time you bought from a telemarketer? Have you ever purchased anything from a telemarketer? Probably not, because their pitch is aimed at everyone who answers their phone. Now, if someone called a gardener and tried to sell them this “new and improved trowel,” then they might actually be interested. It’s the same for résumés.
What comes after researching and customizing a résumé? Hopefully that’s an interview. Once you get that call or email that says, “we’re interested in learning more about you,” it can feel like you’ve already got the job. In reality, this is the time to make a first impression, so more research is key. Walk into the interview with more knowledge than you think you need (and show up no less than ten minutes early) and get ready to share what you know. Hand them a hard copy of your résumé and get to work; tell them why you’re there. They might ask:
1. What do you know about the company?
a. You should know everything about the company, their competitors, their industry and how you can help them.
2. Why do you want this job?
a. This is when you hit them with your skills and why you applied to the job. Before you walked in, you should have refreshed yourself on what the position was looking for and memorized it.
3. How can you benefit our company?
a. It’s a question that feels strange to answer because you’re trying to seem confident and humble at the same time, but it’s your time to prove yourself. Are you good with people? Tell them that. Are you good at thinking on your feet and problem-solving? Perfect, tell them that, too. Tell them what you’re good at, because if you don’t, someone else will and they’ll get the job.
4. What’s your biggest weakness?
a. This is where you’ll be honest, but this should have a related answer to the position as well. Don’t say something like you’re too hard-working, instead tell them that something that you actively struggle with, and how you’re learning to fix it every day.
Then all you can do is wait, hoping that you were what the company was looking for. If it wasn’t, that’s okay. Everyone gets rejected before they find that special job. Keep at it and no matter what, don’t give up or stop being willing to learn.
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