I am among a growing number of Trinbagonians who are well educated, experienced and qualified in my chosen field. Like many others, I have gone on numerous job interviews… and I mean numerous! Many of these employment interviews, I have left positive and excited about getting a phone call or even a new job opportunity. Unfortunately when time begins to pass without correspondence from the prospective recruiter I am usually left to wonder. WHY? If I fit all the employer’s prerequisites then who are these companies hiring ( if not me)? Narcissistic?, not really.
Granted, in Trinidad, a culture exist of “who ya know” and “ who knows you” which is what many of us leverage upon to get us through the door, and into nice offices with great pay packages. In 2016, many of my colleagues feel jilted that their experience and qualifications are at times not enough.
However, nepotism aside, it is still possible to land a GREAT job. Here are my top 5 tips that I have used along the way:
- DON’T GIVE UP / BE PERSISTENT
Sometimes we persevere for the things we want in life, not always getting it, but trust me if we are not persistent in our job pursuits they will never happen.
As an example; a young woman I know was looking for a job. She had been an intern at a company that wasn’t hiring, but she sent them a copy of her resume anyway and requested that it be kept on file. She called and checked on new positions every other week but the company had tightened up due to the economy. After 6 months of this, she went and placed her updated resume on file. The head of the department remembered her and they were chatting about some of the changes that had taken place in the year since she had been an intern. The young woman drove the three hours home. Guess what? There was a job offer from the company waiting for her on her answering machine. The head of the department admired her persistence in keeping after what she wanted.(1)
Networking, in our small twin island is one of the best ways to find out about vacancies in companies across Trinidad and Tobago. As a part time lecturer, I cannot state how much of a great help my students have been to me over the years in business and across multiple industries. One of the best things I ever did was join LinkedIn. It really provides great opportunities to build contacts and start conversations with potential employers. LinkedIn also provides an opportunity to gain insights into companies through their employees. Suffice it to say I declined two positions in my career that would not have been the best fit for me based on this insight. shhhh!!!!
3.CONSTRUCT AN ATTRACTIVE RESUME
I describe an attractive resume with a term I always use in my sales classes – “The silent Salesman”. A resume is the first introduction you provide to your potential employer, so make it a good one! Many persons feel loading up a resume with every conceivable activity, accomplishment, award or certification until the document is nine pages long is the best way to be short listed. The truth is most resumes are merely browsed by respective stakeholders so certain sections in it must stand out. Adapt your resume in these 3 areas and you will be well on your way to a more noticeable one:
- HEADERS : Limit your headers to no more than 4 or 5 core areas and the Cover letter – Career objectives, Education/Qualification, Work Experience, Community/ Professional Organisations. Too many headers mean too long of a resume and most of the salient points get missed.
- ACCOMPLISHMENTS – Highlight your career accomplishments within your work experience. Keep your work experience condensed, include your major achievements and avoid lengthy bullet points that identify your duties and responsibilities. Some key accomplishments should include for instance contracts/bids won, number of customers served, size of teams you’ve lead, process improvement percentages and so on.
- HEALTHY COVER LETTER – A healthy cover letter tells a prospective recruiter more about you and why you should be considered. Again, this should not be lengthy but should include a short summary of who you are, why you chose this job or company and what makes you an ideal candidate.
4. PROCESS YOUR EMOTIONS – Job hunting in an economic downturn can be one of the most frustrating things, not to mention the constant rejection that many face. It is only natural to get angry and upset, especially when the bills keep rolling in with no income in sight. Lisa Kappesser, author ofThe Smart New Way to Get Hired: Use Emotional Intelligence and Land the Right Job gives some great tips on managing these negative feelings over a long period of time. Some of these include writing, exercising, talking to a friend and yes even crying. My personal favourite is volunteering! One of the best ways to distract your mind from your own challenges is to focus on what you can offer to others.
5.SIGN UP WITH A RECRUITMENT AGENCY – Most people in Trinidad and Tobago go job hunting using the online recruitment platforms and searching traditional media such as newspapers. While these methods are great with increased mobility, what most of us don’t realise is that recruitment agencies actually provide a much better fit for us in prospective organizations than trying to do it on our own. Recruitment professionals can ease the job hunting process because of the connection they share with potential recruiters.
In short, job hunting continues to be a challenge even for the best of us. It is therefore important that we design a personal branding strategy in the pursuit of our career goals in order to give ourselves the best opportunity for success. Look out for our personal branding workshop coming in August.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Debbie-Ann Jollie is a Marketing Strategist and the principal Director of HashSpace Limited. She is a certified trainer with over 15 years experience in marketing management both in public and private organizations as well as through consulting.
- (1) Adapted from http://exclusive-executive-resumes.com/resumes/importance-persistence-job-searches/ dd 25.06.16