whaaaaat’s luck got to do, got to do with it?

or something like that right?  One of the hardest parts about always looking for a full-time job is the rejection. Nothing can prepare you for the crash into rejection-ville because you have to be optimistic when preparing a cover letter and CV, you HAVE to be confident that you are perfect for the job.

The Guardian Careers blog has a great article about what that deep dark “I’ve applied for 200 jobs and hate checking my inbox” place is like.  And like the author, I agree that you just have to keep adjusting. If one strategy doesn’t work, try another.  Keep moving forward, and don’t get stuck in that pint of Haagen Daz.

I’ve received some great career advice and CV feedback in the past few days from amazingly generous co-workers, and it’s facinating how simple it all is.  Literally. There isn’t some secret handshake out there (trust me I’ve tried it) and all it really boils down to is:

  • Tell your story – No one else has the education or experience that you do and the mix of it all makes for a good story when someone is reading your CV.  The hiring managers are looking for something more than someone who has essential critera A, essential critera B, and so on.  Someone who can tell a story with their past experiences will stick with them.
  • KNOW the Killer Questions – When reading a job description or person specifications figure out what are the essential criteria that the person they hire MUST have/do.  And then prove you can do them.  When there are 200+ applicants hiring managers have to be ruthless and “kill” most applicants if they don’t answer the Killer Questions in their application
  • Prove you can do it – Don’t just say “I am proficient at Microsoft Office and have excellent Excel skills” that means nothing to a hiring manager.  They want proof, not an essay about all the times you’ve used Word in your life, but examples.  Like: “I’ve used Excel to keep a database of over 200 charity donors”, “I have created report presentations on powerpoint and presented them to audiences of over 50 co-workers”, “I use Word on a daily basis to compose reports/emails/mail merge (if you are brave enough to ever use mail merge!)”  You get the point.  SHOW them
  • staR – Most people know you are supposed to answer questions with the (S)ituation (T)ask (A)ction R(esult) model in interviews, but most people forget the R.  A little birdy told me that they hired someone recently because she was the only person who actually pointed out the results she accomplished in previous jobs.  You know that horrible interview question, “Tell me about a time you disagreed with your line manager, and what happened” Well, yes, the story is important, but what the hiring managers are waiting to hear from you is what the RESULT of the disagreement was.  Did it improve your relationship with your boss because you now communicated more clearly? Did you learn that you had to produce work at a higher level and therefore were more efficient at your job after? RESULTS RESULTS RESULTS.
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