Even in the Worst of Times, Best Prepared Candidates Still Get Jobs

By Dumont Gerkin Owen Ph.D.
NABBW’s Women & Work Expert

How is it that even when the times get really tough in the job market, there are always individuals who find jobs.  Are they smarter than you?  Too young, too old? Better qualified, cheaper or are they the best-prepared candidate out of the applicant pool?

So how do you, as an applicant, become the employer’s best of the best?

Work harder and smarter than your competitors

  • The average advice is to spend twenty hours per week for a part-time job and 40 hours a week for a full-time job.  It’s best to treat it like a job and schedule your workweek and goals.  Don’t forget to schedule some relaxation:  You don’t want to wear yourself out.
  • Still you can make your work easier and save time by creating a well-organized “tool kit” that contains all of the information you will need:  sample cover letter, resume, references, a computerized system to track your activities with contacts, copies of transcripts, thank you notes, etc.  This will save a lot of time as you fill out on-line applications and resumes.

Research  (I know I keep hounding on this, but it’s an essential element of a successful job search.)  So what to you need to know?

  • Know yourself – Personality, skills sets, career interests and values.  A self-examined individual projects authenticity.  Authenticy can’t be faked, so employers are more responsive to those who present an authentic image.  Job seekers who need help identifying their authentic self can benefit from assessments with a qualified career professional.
  • Know your target.  You must be clear about your targeted occupational field or industry, and the company to which you are applying.
  • It is important to demonstrate that you are up to date on current and future developments in the industry and the challenges faced by the employer.  This sounds like a lot of work and it is.  Successful applicants, however, report that they spend an average of four hours preparing for an interview.  As time goes by, you’ll find that your research will take less time as you learn about your targeted field or industry.
  • One question in every recruiters mind will come up in some form in the interview:  “Why do you want to work for us?” Be prepared.  This is your chance to demonstrate all of that research you conducted and suggest solutions, show your understanding of current practices and trends and ask questions that illustrate your extra preparation.
  • Make your research librarian you new best friend.  They are more than eager to help with research projects.

Now go back and look at the title of this article again.  Remember, you can be the applicant who gets the job….if you do your homework.

A Certified Career Management Coach, her mission is to inspire experienced professionals to realize their unique passions and qualifications, and provide them with strength, resources, and strategies to achieve their job search or career transition.

She has a background in recruiting and directing university career centers spanning over 20 years. As with many of her clients, however, she came to a point where the career she had worked so hard to build wasn\’t working for her anymore. It was one of those “aha” moments! Dumont realized that her true passion was using my expertise to help others. That\’s why she started coaching… to assist others in living their true passion!

Learn more about Dumont on her website, Career Windows Online, or contact her directly via email or phone: (216) 321-1268. Dumont lives in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.