It’s going to be a bumpy road.
So here’s my loose change.
The only thing they don’t teach you in college.
- Focus your search
- Find your niche
- Wear your passion on your sleeve
1. “Professionalize” you email
If you are still using “PrettyBallerina110@something“ or “ILoveBacon290@somethingelse“ or any other email that reminds us uncomfortably of the 90’s, it might be time to do some spring cleaning. As you go forward, you want to put your best foot forward and impress. You email address might be one aspect of your resume you haven’t addressed yet, and if you are still using a college email, this might not be a big concern. However, sending off your resume with a ‘childish’ email might be a big turn off to recruiters.
Some quick fixes?
Try using ‘Firstname.Lastname@(whichever service you use)” or “FirstinitialLastname@(whichever service you use”
Already taken? Try to keep your new email as uncomplicated as possible. While being expressive and being creative isn’t a bad thing in life…on your email and your resume, you should always take the safer option. Be professional.
2. Pick a font. Yes, just one font.
Comic sans, Papyrus, and Courier were all awesome fonts in their heyday: people put them on everything and they were much beloved. Fast forward to the 2000’s and most people have dropped the silly fonts for more clean and consistent fonts like Helvetica and Arial (and some Times New Roman too). If your resume has alternating fonts or multiple colors, it might be time to make some minor adjustments. The first (and best) change you can make, is set all the writing on your resume in one clean legible font. I feel confident in saying that no employer will see the humor in a resume written entirely in Wingdings or Dingbat. Similarly, while Chalkduster is playful and child-like…it can come off woefully childish; much like wearing a Barney the dinosaur tie into a corporate interview. If you do nothing else, make your resume all one consistent and clean font, and do it soon.
3. Check your spelling.
This might sound a bit silly, but always check you spelling every time you revise a resume. Between auto-correct, spellcheck, and whatever else is built into your word processor, there is always the off-chance that a company name, employer name, or job title can be woefully altered by accident. Always check that your name is spelled correctly , as it is the first thing an employer will see (and it just looks dumb if you mess that up). This also applies to everything else you do in your job search; check your contact’s name, check the company’s name, and check any name you’re going to have to put down in writing. Never EVER misspell an interviewer’s name in an email, and better yet, turn off spell check and do it by hand. Your resume will thank you.
Recently, I had a fundamental moment of clarity. For months I have been driven to find ‘the job’: the one placement with the full-time title, the dream salary, and the security of knowing I would be ‘safe’ job-wise. After taking some time to think seriously how I had been approaching my job search I realized it felt like something was missing. Perhaps stuck on a feedback loop of ‘click Linkedin profile, check salary, submit resume, repeat’, my job search felt like it was becoming stagnant. After speaking with several people and asking for some solid career advice I realized my major mistake: I was too fixated on the position, and was ignoring the real factor that should have been influencing my decision, passion.
In college, a lot of emphasis is put on ‘the job’: perfect your resume, wear the right clothes, don’t mess up your interview or you won’t land ‘the job’. Sure, wearing the perfect black pumps might help you stand out, but even the best patent leather should never outshine your passion to be a part of a company. A fundamental shift in ideology is often needed to see past the fine print and determine “Is this where I want to be”. Granted, in this economy there is more stress put on moving out, making rent, and surviving financially….if you are reading this, you are likely a recent grad, or know one who is feverishly rifling through Linkedin in a frenzied search for employment. At the core of every decision you make, you should be able to answer the question “Am I passionate about this?” If you can confidently say “Yes, I can’t imagine being anywhere else”, then taking a leap of faith on a competitive job listing might be exactly what you should be doing. Think less about your search as a quest for a position, and more as a quest for a place that fuels your passion.
If at first you fall flat on your face, don’t get discouraged. Just because you can’t work for the company of your dreams today, doesn’t mean you should give up hope: follow them on social media, read the articles they post, and keep at it. If that means going out of your way to interact with them on Twitter in relevant insightful ways, do it. If you can prove you are passionate about what they do and want to be a part of it, you might just get that chance. And if your passion doesn’t catch their attention, don’t lose faith. When you are that passionate about what you do, you never know who might take notice.
I hope this has been helpful to anyone still looking!