In this ever-declining economy, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find a job. Employers expect you to have more education, along with experience, which makes being new to the career field a severe handicap.

Unfortunately, unwary college students don’t understand how important getting experience is, and they think that their college degree will be enough to get them a job, but that is no longer the case. Almost every job field has become more competitive than ever, and you need to stand out as the best candidate in order to get hired.

Creating a Résumé

The first thing you’ll want to do is have an excellent résumé. If your résumé is poorly formatted, sloppy, or doesn’t have proper spelling and grammar, your application will likely be thrown away. Here are some tips for résumé building:

  • Use short sentences that are to the point
  • Don’t be too wordy or too brief
  • Leave some white space on the page
  • Use a preset format for résumé creation
  • Proofread it a billion times
  • Have a friend or family member read it over
  • Highlight any previous job experience you might have in the field
  • Focus on your best skills

Writing a Cover Letter

Once you’ve primed your résumé for viewing, you’ll want to write a cover letter for the job you’re applying for. The cover letter is where you have room to tell the employer why you deserve the job you’re applying for. In other words, this is a space to brag about yourself, which should, if applicable, include your schooling, your experience, and your fantastic personal characteristics.

So, if you are applying for a hairdressing position, you’ll want to say that you went to the best cosmetology school in Utah. You might not actually want to say that you went to the best cosmetology school in Utah in exactly those words, however.

It’s better to let the employer know why your cosmetology school was the best. Let them know about the certifications that the school has so that they know that you’ve been properly trained in the correct techniques of hairstyling.

In addition, I would personally leave out things from the cover letter that scream “poor me” because you need to be establishing an air of confidence with the potential employer. Show them through words that you are vastly overqualified for the position, and not that you need the position out of, well, need.

For instance, if you are a single mom, I might advise against playing that up in the cover letter. It could very well make you sound whiny, and that’s probably near the end of the employer’s list of what they’re looking for in a person.

Looking Good in the Interview

I can’t tell you how many times a mucked-up interview is the only reason someone isn’t offered a job. These things should be common sense to most of you, but, in case you’re new to this sort of thing, here’s a list of things to do:

  • Shower the morning of your interview
  • Don’t wear too much perfume/cologne
  • Dress nicely in business attire
  • Make sure you wear deodorant and have clean, good-smelling teeth
  • Bring a portfolio of your work if it is applicable to the position
  • Don’t act nervous if that is possible

Most of all, don’t worry! It’s not the end of the world if you don’t get the position, but you might as well increase your chances of being the lucky new hire.

Good Luck Job Hunting!

Now you’re job is to go and find somewhere to apply to. Find something that you are at least going to moderately enjoy. And, above all, don’t give up!

By Kassandra Konecny