3 Strategies for Tight Job Market

The job market is tight, and the folks on the news would have us believe the "sky is falling." But rather than run around like Chicken Little, getting nowhere, make time for your job search and concentrate on these three areas: Resume, Interview Skills, Follow-up Strategy.


Your dad may have hired 50 people over the past 20 years. Your mom is likely proud of every accomplishment you've had since you were born and thinks there is probably room for that on your resume. However, it is likely that neither of them is a professional resume writer, career counselor or career coach. This is the time to seek out a professional! Use your best friend / English major to edit for grammatical/spelling mistakes; brainstorm with parents, supervisors and friends to come up with your skill set and personal traits; but find a professional to review your resume before you start posting it on job boards and sending it out.

Oh...and Microsoft...they don't specialize in resume writing either. Don't use their templates! Finally, don't let someone else write your resume. This is YOU on paper, and this paper will be what interviewers ask questions from, and you should be familiar with it!

Career Development Services offers several services. Use our handbook (also available in 303 Martin Hall) to get started. If you really feel that using a template would help you, try our free resume builder, Optimal Resume. Just know that it still needs formatting work when you open it in Word. Email your resume for feedback with e-Resume drop off service or walk-in between noon and 4 p.m., M-F, or call 844.4744 to schedule an appointment.

Interview Skills

So have you done it, gone on an interview without preparing? Maybe the "wing it" method has worked in obtaining on-campus leadership positions, but when you get asked questions like "Why should I hire you over other qualified candidates?" your answer should have some depth to it! Here is an example of how you might answer that question, "After reviewing the job description and the mission of xyz company, I feel my proficiency in account management, customer service, and strategic planning make me a unique candidate." (But the things you list need to actually BE important to the position and company!)

Here is another question: "What do you know about our company?" There is a difference between wanting a job and taking a sincere interest in working for the hiring organization. There are no shortcuts to answering this question successfully; you have to conduct research.

And here is a tricky question that is really looking for your weakness, "What areas of your abilities would you like to improve upon?" Choose an ability that needs improvement but isn’t an integral part of your job.

Career Development Services offers Mock Interviews (call 844.4744 to schedule) and also provides Perfect Interview to get you started.

Follow-Up Strategies

Want to stand out? Write a thank you letter after the interview. You aren't finished impressing them when you walk out the door after the interview. So many people have stopped writing thank you notes that if you write one, you will likely stand out above the rest. Also, if you haven't heard back from them in the time they say they would, follow up. I had a student who didn't receive an offer because of the size and it got blocked. If he hadn't followed up he would have missed out on that offer!

Last thought...

Following the advice above will make you more confident. Confidence leads to more interviews. More interviews leads to job offers. Job offers leads to career satisfaction.

Resource: http://www.salisbury.edu/careerservices/students/JobSearch/EconomicDownturn.html

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