Ask a Nerd! | Tips from an Orange County private tutor
Question: I’m a recent college graduate and have been looking for a job in my field for over a year. I have yet to receive an interview even though I only apply to jobs that are appropriate for my skill set and experience level. What am I doing wrong?
Brief: There are many reasons why somebody would not get called back for an interview in this competitive job market. There are far more applicants than there are jobs and resumes can be easily lost when sent through online sources.
Assuming that an applicant is applying to jobs that are either internship or entry-level, the main issues seem to be applying through online sources. Long gone are the days when somebody could show their winning personality by applying in person or send unsolicited resumes and cover letters through snail mail. Today, applicants have to be hyperaware of their online presence and how to make it work (READ: “The Top 5 Interview Pitfalls”).
1. Be everywhere
Young professionals have to be everywhere. Get on LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter etc… Students who have already graduated can start building their online presence now while they’re simultaneously applying for jobs in their field. The most important professional presence is LinkedIn, but every positive social media format is a good thing.
– Follow companies in the desired field of study to receive updates and stay in touch
– Share pertinent and job-relevant information on various public social media sites
– Connect with experienced professionals in the field as much as possible
Students who are currently juniors or seniors in college should build an online presence now. The longer the portfolio is active, the more students can add to it as time goes by. After a while, this can become exhausting so it’s recommended that jobseekers spend no more than an hour a day to preserve mental energy for work and study.
2. Be visual
A basic one-page resume is no longer enough to make somebody stand out. Applicants are encouraged to stand out on more than one platform. Consider adding visual supplements to the resume that are more likely to stand out from the pack and have a better chance of resulting in an interview or call back. YouTube videos, PowerPoint presentations, or any specialized computer program for a specific field are great ways to create a visual addition to a resume that doesn’t just tell a potential employer that someone can get the job done but also shows them.
3. Follow through
Many new graduates will send out an email or respond through the company’s website and never hear back. Although this is very frustrating, it’s important to remember that they can also hear back from you. Applicants are encouraged to follow through regarding their resume within a week of sending out their application. It’s important that applicants make their best effort to find a direct email to somebody at the HR department so that there is a better chance of it being read (READ: “Ask a Nerd! Grades and AP Class”).
Applicants should ask if the company would like any supplemental information or if it would be possible to have an interview. The worst the employer can say is “no”. Larger companies will often have things in place to make it difficult for potential applicants to get in touch. This is done on purpose and to prevent HR from having unsolicited calls and emails. Of course, applicants should be respectful of any specific instructions given on the company website; however, one or two follow-up emails should be acceptable. If a potential employer doesn’t want to talk to you, they will certainly let you know.
Some will say that social media and online forums are making it easier to apply for jobs while others will say it’s much harder. The emerging generation is left with this method of job search whether they like it or not. A heavy social media presence and appropriate follow-through are great ways to start getting closer to an interview.
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