What Do Employers Look for When Hiring?

Now that you’ve graduated from college, the challenge of finding a job begins. Since America is in the middle of a deep recession, hiring rates have gone down, and competition has gotten very fierce. There are a number of strategies you can use when seeking employment that will put you above the competition and hopefully help you land the job that you’ve always dreamed of. If demand in your field is low, you should especially consider following this advice when contacting potential employers. Whether you’re a writer, business major or veterinary technician, you can’t go wrong with this list.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

You have always been told how first impressions are everything. When submitting a resume, you should always attempt to meet the highest person on the company food chain. If you can manage, skip the hiring manager and go straight to the CEO. Hand in your resume personally, and wear a big smile and your nicest suit. Get a haircut that morning if possible, and make sure and go into the business at a reasonable hour, i.e. when they are not busy or in the middle of a rush. The last thing you want to do is come off as an inconvenience. You want to speak with such confidence that it’s almost like you’re the one doing the hiring.

RESUME

Your resume should be clean, minimalistic, and well organized. You don’t need to put a paragraph description of every single job that you’ve ever had. Try and sum up your experience in a well-formed sentence. Always apply any past job, even if you were a cashier at Wal-Mart, to the one you are trying to get now. For instance, as a cashier, you saw hundreds of customers face-to-face every day. You were a huge representative of, and the closest point of contact between, the customers and the business. Your managers loved you and could always count on you to handle big rushes with a smile on your face. At the end of your resume, you should encourage a potential employer to contact you with any questions they may have.

FOLLOW UP

This is an incredibly important step. Do not wait for the employer to call you- if applicable, show back up to the business a few days later, dressed in another nice outfit and looking as professional as possible, and ask if the business has had a chance to go over your resume. If you can’t physically go into the building, make a phone call and ask the same question. This shows your continued interest in the position, and is also a polite way to remind the company that they have a pending application. Oftentimes, the employer will look over your resume right then and there, and offer to set up an interview.

THE INTERVIEW

Part of the interview is about your actual resume. The other part is all about charm. You want to come off as memorable, but not cheesy. Don’t compliment the employer on anything if it’s going to come out forced. Remain cool, calm, and collected, and again- try and make it seem like you are the one interviewing the company. Make jokes (as long as they’re funny!) and prepare ahead of time for any potential questions that the interviewer might ask.

A few common questions include “what is your biggest strength”, “what is your biggest weakness”, “what can you bring to the company to improve profits”, “how have you dealt with disgruntled customers in the past”, etc. Most of these are pretty self-explanatory. Every answer you provide should have something, however subtle, that relates your past experience to demands that your employer-to-be will make of you. For the “weakness” question, you should actually list a weakness. Right after, though, tell them what you’re doing to fix it. A good answer is usually “I have trouble keeping my desk clean, but I’m working on the problem by using desk organizers and reminding myself to tidy up before every break”. This shows that you’re honest, and corporations will usually appreciate that.

WRAPPING UP

Now that you know some strategies for the three main parts of landing a job, you should be hired in no time. You have worked hard to get your college degree, and you’re so close to beginning the rest of your life. Remember, first impressions are everything, keep your resume professional and minimalistic, and remain confident and prepared during your interview. By following these three steps, you should have no trouble at all when job hunting, and your very first application is more than likely to be the job that you get.

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