Finding a job (much less the right job) in today’s busy, bustling market can prove to be very tricky if you aren’t prepared. Today, KLS is here to quell a bit of the anxiety associated with the oftentimes Herculean task of job hunting! Keep reading to learn ways in which you can present the best possible version of yourself to potential employers, and how to instantly ace that coveted interview once your foot is in the door.
Thanks to the digital age, unless you decide to drop off a physical copy to each company you choose, your resume will very likely be screened by an applicant tracking system, or ATS. An ATS is designed to scan your resume for keywords and data to give employers a visual idea of where you might rank in comparison to other applicants. The ATS also allows employers to search for those same key words and specific skill sets that may set you apart from others vying for the same position. While some people attempt to circumvent the system by peppering their resume with stock phrases that typically appeal to employers (or in the case of an overly-enterprising college friend of mine, adding a secret paragraph of buzzwords in tiny white text), there are much better and more honest ways to optimize your application and guarantee that you earn the perfect job through merit.
For starters, don’t get trapped in the mindset that your resume has to be static! Instead of uploading the exact same document to each job you apply for, modify your phrasing to best fit the job’s description, as well as taking the time to expand upon the work experience section of your resume in order to give a clear idea of the ways in which your previous experience will translate into your new position. A cover letter is another fantastic way to ensure that you stand out from the pack. Your cover letter not only provides you with the chance to insert an individualized voice into your application, it also showcases your writing abilities and your personality – two very important things that employers would not otherwise be privy to if you rely solely on the dry, technical algorithms of an ATS to shoot your resume to the top of the list.
While you shouldn’t try to trick a tracking system, nothing says you can’t apply to jobs that you aren’t 100% qualified for. If your resume is able to convey that you have the makings of a great employee, you may be surprised to find that many employers are perfectly happy to train you on role-specific software systems or skills. Make it clear that you’re willing to learn, and employers will absolutely take note. The most cookie-cutter candidate isn’t necessarily always the best candidate.
Lastly – and I cannot stress this enough – be open to your options. As I’ve mentioned in a previous blog post, debt collections very well may have been the last field on earth I would have chosen to pursue, but now? I have a career for life. Whether you have a highly specialized degree or a high school diploma, don’t pigeonhole yourself! You’ll never know what opportunities await you until you dive into the job search with an open mind.
Once you’ve scored an interview, there are a few more tips to keep in mind. Chances are, nearly every prospective candidate who interviews before and after you will present some version of the following: a dedicated, hardworking, highly-driven team player who excels in solo situations or group projects, takes both initiative and direction, adores criticism (constructive or not), willingly stays overnight to catch up on any backlog of tasks, possesses a photographic memory, and bakes a mean pineapple upside down cake. You aren’t a robot, so don’t act like one! Forget the standard platitudes and call on your own unique life experiences to explain why you truly are the top person for the job. Practice beforehand by researching both commonly asked interview questions as well as the history and operation of the company – a surefire way to impress an employer is to create a connection and show that you’ve done your homework. Make sure to be on time, try your best to stay calm and confident, and always reach out once an interview has concluded to both reiterate your desire for the position and express your thanks for an employer’s time and consideration.
Now that you’re prepared to find the job of your dreams, allow me to share some exciting news – KLS is hiring! If you think you’d fit in with the rest of the wonderful KLS family, make sure to check out the link below. We’d love to have you on our TEAM!