As we continue to hear positive reports about the state of the economy and a declining unemployment rate, it may be easy to feel confused — if the unemployment rate is so low, how am I still having such a hard time finding a job? In part, it might because commentators aren’t looking at the full story. When you account not only for folks who’ve been about of work for 15-plus weeks, but also consider those who are underemployed, “marginally attached,” or “discouraged,” the effective unemployment rate has been sitting around 10 percent for the last year now at least, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. So how are you supposed to find work among such stiff competition of other job seekers?
(Photo Credit: Death to the Stock Photo)
While hunting for jobs for months on end can get discouraging, sometimes a change in your approach can be all you need to find that spark again. With that in mind, here are a few things you can focus on to become the ideal job candidate.
1. Show Proven Work Ethic
According to a survey from CareerBuilder, intangible personality-based skills — what are known as “soft” skills — are just as important to 77 percent of employers as technical skills. Soft skills, according to the survey, include things like being dependable, having a positive attitude, and showing a strong work ethic.
While in most job interviews, you won’t actually have the opportunity to spend time on the job, there are still plenty of ways that you can show off this work ethic. Start by drawing upon specific anecdotes from past work experiences that display those soft skills. Then work in some positive, actionable ideas for how you would assume that role within this new job. You’re going to get hired into a position because you’re good at that job, so don’t be shy about showing that off.
2. Arm Yourself With Credible References
According to Forbes, job references can make or break your application process. If you aren’t confident about what your reference is going to say about you, then it’s important that you do a little bit of ground work before blindly listing names and phone numbers on your next job application.
One of the more effective approaches to finding the right references is to simply reach out before you apply or put someone’s name down. Give them a call and ask if it would be all right for you to use them as a reference.
Over the course of the conversation, ask if they have any specific memories of good work you did for them. If they don’t, that might be a sign that you won’t have a glowing review when your potential future employer comes calling. If it’s a positive conversation, go ahead and put their name down — with permission, of course.
3. Balance Eagerness With Openness
According to a study conducted by Bullhorn, a recruiting software company, 43 percent of job recruiters would consider blacklisting candidates who applied to irrelevant positions, or those for which they weren’t qualified. You may feel ready to take on your dream job, but it’s possible that you still need to put in some grunt work in a lower position that more meets your qualifications.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t reach, or apply to jobs that are outside your primary field of study. Just remember: it may not happen overnight, but it will come with time and effort.
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