Turning yourself into a competitive job candidate takes time and effort. However, you won't regret taking the time to rewrite and revise your resume, focus on what makes you unique, seek help from your network or pursue an advanced degree when you land the job that you want. Remember in the job hunt that as much as the process may be grueling and unrewarding in the moment, when you finally do get the job you want, you won't regret any of the hard work you put in to getting there.
With the approach of the end of the spring semester comes the anxiety-inducing and uncertain nature of the job hunt. With the amount of people out of work and on the job hunt during these uncertain times, it is now more important than ever to do everything you can to make yourself the most competitive job candidate that you can be. These tips will help you make yourself into a competitive job candidate so you can land a position you want.
1. Rewrite and Revise Your Resume
2. Focus on What Makes You Unique
3. Seek Help From Your Network
4. Pursue an Advanced Degree
The primary document that will reflect who you are as a job candidate, from your experience to your education to your interests, is your resume. In order to present yourself as a stellar job candidate, go over your resume multiple times to make sure it communicates what you want it to show about your experience and background. When describing your experiences in your resume, start your sentences with active verbs, showing that you took initiative and made things happen on the job rather than simply letting them happen to you. Another aspect of your resume to focus on is the story it tells. Having a lot of experience is great, but it can also seem disjointed and random if it isn't tied together well. Think about what you want your resume to communicate about you and how you can be a great candidate for the job you are applying for. Then, tailor your resume to communicate that story and identity you want for yourself.
In a similar vein, listing a lot of experience in your application is great, but you should also take the time to focus on what makes you a unique candidate. Your application should seek to answer the question, what do you bring to the table in this position that other candidates do not? When writing your cover letter, let your past experience and background inform the answer to this question. Inform the hiring manager what makes you unique and show how past evidence in your career communicates this. A good way to highlight any unique qualities that would help you on the job is combining something like substantial experience managing long-term projects with a personal passion for the industry that you are applying for through a personal anecdote. Your application should be about more than just your experience. In order to attract the attention of your application readers, it must stand out through your personal uniqueness as well.
Searching for a job can be an exhausting process. Luckily, there are millions of people that you can reach out to who have been through the process many times and should be able to help. Whether you know experienced professionals in your family, from your hometown or through your school, don't be shy in reaching out to them for help in your job search. Seeking help from your network is an easy way to get an extra set of eyes on your resume and cover letter to see if there are any ways you can improve them or get some last minute interview tips that can make a difference with a hiring manager. When you want a job, be prepared to pursue all avenues that you can that could help give you a leg up on the application process. Reaching out to experienced professionals in your network will help you put together a more complete and informed application.
One aspect of an application that can really give you a substantial edge over other candidates is an advanced degree. A degree such as an online masters in industrial engineering is easy to obtain, since it's online and can be done anywhere, and can certainly pay off through opening up a wide variety of new doors for you after its completion. Studies show that professionals with advanced degrees are more often commanding larger salaries than those that only have an undergraduate degree. If the job market is not one where you feel great about heading into a full-time gig right away, pursuing an advanced degree can be a great way to build experience in an area outside of the workforce as well as make yourself a more competitive applicant when the time comes to apply for jobs.
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