Finding employment in any economy is a daunting task that demands quite a bit of time and energy. However, if you are living in an area that is experiencing economic hardship, sometimes finding work can seem like an impossible feat.
With so many people in the market searching for a job, how can you dramatically increase your chances of getting a job interview when the numbers are not stacked in your favor?
First, only apply for jobs you are qualified to do
If a position calls for a specific set of skills and educational level and you do not have the work history or scholastic background they desire, do not waste your time. In a competitive market place, the employer will have a substantial amount of candidates to choose from during their initial screening. Due to this large volume of candidates, a recruiter will always bypass the applicants that do not possess the main qualifications they listed on their job posting. This one tip alone will save you a lot of time and allow you to focus your efforts on pursuing opportunities that best match your experience. It will also help you avoid the disappointment of one more unsuccessful application.
Next, you need to ensure your resume matches the job you are interested in pursuing
Too often job seekers send the same resume to every position they apply for. This is a huge mistake. A recruiter will never consider you for a job if it appears your experience and skills do not match what they are looking for. Read through the job posting you are interested in a couple of times. If you have what they are looking for, make sure your resume reflects it.
Another common mistake made by employment seekers is submitting a resume without a cover letter. Not only should you submit a cover letter, but—just like your resume—you should update it based on the position you are applying for. The body of the cover letter should include the name of the position you are interested in, a synopsis of your experience and how your background would complement what the organization is searching for as described in the job posting.
Be ready to list references as requested during the application process
Not listing them will make your application incomplete and make a potential employer question the reason for this omission. So be prepared and get your references before the application process. Strong professional references are people you worked for, not the friends and associates you worked with. Personal references are usually provided so an employer can verify your character and should exclude family members. Community, religious and educational leaders with whom you are affiliated with would be ideal to list as personal references.
Most important: be a go-getter
Do not wait for the ideal position to find you. You must be willing and determined to find your ideal position. This includes calling and visiting organizations to express your interest in working for their company.
Finally, it is critical you leverage your network
Let everyone in your sphere know you are in the job market. Express what you are searching for and follow up on any leads they may provide.