If you’re a millennial searching for the perfect job opportunity, whether out of college or after your first entry-level role, you just might find yourself losing out to someone with more years of experience at the final hurdle. It’s not a pleasant feeling, and can lead to self-doubt and a dent in your confidence. Which is why it’s important to think about the parts of your job search process that you could improve on, from your resume to your interview style.
There are several factors that may affect a hiring manager’s interest, and it’s important to understand these factors if you plan on landing your ideal role at a company you admire. Career writers and experts have provided some of the common reasons companies reject many applications, such as lack of preparedness for the interview, failing to show true interest in the job or the company, lack of support from your references, and a lack of the right type of experience for the role.
If you’re already tired of being rejected, then this list will be a useful guide in getting your dream job if you’re in your 20s.
Research the company and the industry
The best way to beat even the most experienced applicant is by making sure you do extensive research on the company you are applying to, as well as on the industry that they operate in. An important tip from FXCM suggests that education is the best defense against mistakes. And although this specific information centers on trading, it has some interesting pointers in it.
It’s important to take away the idea that information is everywhere and can be accessed at will. Influencers in any industry will regularly publish market insights, whether in a blog, an interview, a Twitter post, or more professional publications -- and these are the sorts of things you need to have researched and to properly prepare for your interview. If you research diligently and arm yourself with enough information on the company and industry, you’ll be able to relate to the hiring manager better and impress them with your deep understanding of their business and their market.
Make your resume as competitive as you can
Prior to your first interview, companies will be reviewing your resume to screen you as either a baseline-qualified candidate or a poor fit for the role. If you make it past this first post with a strong resume, it you’ll be placed in a shortlist of applicants who fit their criteria for the position. Thus, it’s important that your CV is as competitive as you are.
The initial step is to follow the right format by including the most relevant and recent experiences for the role you are applying to, as well as all the skills you have that are vital in today’s competitive workplace. Including irrelevant skills, responsibilities, and accomplishments only distracts from the parts of your work experience that will actually help you land the job.
Next, consider the presentation of your resume. While you shouldn’t go for a cookie cutter template that you find online, you also should keep it relatively simple and clean. Hiring managers have a lot of resumes to read through when they first scan resumes, and your formatting should focus on readability rather than flair. Keep the fancy resume for in-person events like job fairs, or for when you land the interview and want to hand a nice-looking piece of paper to your interviewer.
Lastly, decide how you’re going to send your resume - you can either go the normal route of reaching out through the company’s automated application system, or you can email or InMail the hiring manager directly if you feel it’s appropriate. If you go with the latter route, make sure the job description doesn’t expressly say that applications sent by email will be disregarded. Either way, be prepared to follow up on your application properly within four days to a week after you apply.
Talk less about salary, focus more on the work
One common mistake that applicants make during an interview is asking too often about the salary rather than talking about the work involved. Even though your earning potential on the job is an important factor, it’s more important to show interest in the tasks you’d be responsible for if you were hired.
Talk about ideas and plans you’d want to implement immediately if you were to start the job tomorrow. Discuss the team’s past projects, whether successful or failed, and give your analysis on what went right and what went wrong. This is the kind of forward-thinking you should be showing, not the salary-focused obsession. Let the course of conversation reach the discussion about how much you expect to get from this job and how you can negotiate the salary afterwards.
Lastly, do not give up. Everyone has experienced rejection before finding the perfect job. Sometimes, you will need to start from the ground up. So, don’t take those entry-level positions for granted. Keep trying and learn from your mistakes. And don’t forget to enjoy your youth - it’s the only time you’ll have the freedom and general lack of responsibilities to do all the fun things you want to do.