No matter how many people say that it is a candidate’s market out there, it sometimes feels like no one wants you – especially if you aren’t entry level anymore, but aren’t quite mid-level yet either.
If you are a year or two out of college, you are switching careers, or you have taken a break since your last job, chances are it is going to be tough finding a new job. Before coming to FastUpFront, I worked for a few years as a recruiter. I know that recruiters don’t like these types of candidates so much, and that you might need to look at alternate avenues – job boards cheapen you to prospective employers and recruiters will ignore you.
5) Be Assertive.
When sending in your resume some place, always call to make sure they received it and set up an interview. In all likelihood you’ll be told that they’ll contact you if they are interested, but your assertiveness shows that you are interested and that… you are assertive.
4) Creatively Cater to the Needs of Prospective Employers.
When interviewing, ask your interviewer exactly what they are looking for. Ask what their concerns are about you. Asking these questions (1) shows that you care about them and want to cater to them and (2) gives you the opportunity to be assertive and address their concerns.
If, for example, your employer is concerned about your experience level, then you can offer a reduced price (like minimum wage “free/reduced price-trial”. This unconventional approach only makes sense if you are having a very tough time getting a job. Even if the employer doesn’t take you up on it – the offer shows that you are assertive and creative. Yes, it also shows that you are a bit desperate, but you can position yourself by suggesting that you have some offers, but that you really love the company, team, position, etc.
What if you don’t meet all the requirements? I recommend being very upfront, and then trying to work out a mutually beneficial solution. Do they need someone who can work late? Offer to come in over the weekend, etc.
3) Letters of reference.
References mean less and less these days because companies are afraid of being sued for giving too much information. Many companies, when called for a reference, are only willing to tell prospective employers start date, finish date, starting pay, finishing pay, and if you are eligible to work there again. This information checks if you are lying, but it won’t convince a slightly skeptical potential employer that you shine.
However, if you have a good relationship with people at your old work, you can ask them to write a letter of reference for you. Because you choose whether or not to use the reference, you have the responsibility of what is seen by other companies, and your former employers will probably feel more comfortable with this route.
I suggest making a short questionnaire asking about your strengths, areas for improvement, what they liked about working with you, why you left, etc. The very fact that they liked you enough to spend the time writing a letter of recommendation says a lot to a prospective employer.
2) Be persistent
- If you don’t hear back after sending in your resume, be persistent until you get an interview.
- If you don’t hear back after an interview, or are told that they are not interested, then ask for specific feedback.
- Ask if there are other open positions.
- Re-iterate all the things about the company that you like, and your qualifications and ask if they can advise you of other’s in the industry they think might be a good match for you.
- Ask their advice about what you need to do in order to better meet their needs, in case there is another open position in the future.
1) Work With a Temp Agency
I don’t think I have ever seen a case where a responsible, good worker who worked with a temp agency did not get offered a full-time position in less than 6 months. Even if a company is just looking for a temp to replace an employee on vacation, they know that a good employee is hard to find. If you impress them, they’ll remember you.
Once you have had good client feedback from a few temp assignments, the agency will usually set you up on a temp-to-hire basis. When working through a temp agency, companies care much less about your experience, because they get to see you in action. It is very similar to the creative solution example from point #2, but the company pays more, with the added security of working through a third party. I believe that this is the best way to get a job when having a tough time.
The best part: You basically get paid to interview.