Title Card - Job Market Monster

Slay The Job Market Monster

We all know that it can feel difficult to get ahead of the job market, especially when the job postings themselves sound like they are describing the long-lost fictional hero of the field you are applying to. Seriously, some of these job postings have so many requirements and skills that it’s enough to make your head spin. Not only that, but they put these skills under the essential category rather than the asset category, which in theory means that they are telling everyone that this wall of skills is the benchmark for joining their company.

The real question is, how close to the actual posting are the people they end up hiring? Most of the time, it’s not actually all that close. My father once told me that there had been a few occasions where he got a chance to look at some of the job posters for a few of the positions that he worked for, and he couldn’t believe that he was even hired for the positions at all based on their demands. Yet, he has always managed to work well with his bosses and they were usually pleased with the quality of work that he puts out. In short: his companies didn’t need all the skills they listed on the poster, they just needed a good sampling of them to allow the potential employee to be confident in their work.

This is why it is often suggested that if you have over half of the skills listed on a job poster, you should ABSOLUTELY be applying for it. Again, because the person they are describing on their poster is likely one in a billion to find, it would be foolish to hold yourself up to that ridiculously high standard. Besides, what’s the harm in throwing your hat into the ring? The worst that they can do is pass on your application. It’s better to have the hiring manager filter you out than for you to filter yourself out of the process.

What this means is that you have to be confident in yourself. Step up to the plate and show off your skills, you have more than you think you do! Think about all the different things that you do which you can frame in a different light. Do you enjoy spending your time scrolling through social media and crafting the perfect post? Social media is now one of the skills you could add to your resume. That side project where you take your art you make for fun and sell it on Etsy? Graphic design and e-commerce experience. Almost anything can be looked at from a skills perspective, you just have to know how to spin it. These could start to fill in some of the “holes” in the skills they are asking for on the postings.

Now that you are confident and have a broader set of skills you can bring to the table, maximize your chances on each application. Tailor your submissions to each job’s needs and expand it to its fullest potential. Hit on as many skills as you can, use their own buzzwords found in the job posting to ensure their own talking points are ringing true in their ears, and write an outstanding cover letter. Make sure your documents are spell-checked and grammar-checked for the highest levels of professionalism. If they ask for one to three references, provide three. Doing the minimum doesn’t show off: take every opportunity to flex your employment muscles.

Speaking of doing the minimum, even if you complete a stellar application, the application itself (regardless of quality) is the minimum you need to get at least noticed for the position you are applying for. To go that one extra step above and beyond, expand your search to find someone real who works for the company you are looking to apply for, and hopefully in a similar position. Ask them questions like how their job is, if they enjoy it, what they did to get their job, any suggestions they might have for you to improve your chances, and if they would like to remain connected to keep talking in the future. You never know when a connection might come through for you, and you’ll probably learn quite a bit from those who already have experience in your field.

Here is the last piece of advice that is probably the most critical piece of all of this: don’t give up. Even with all of these tips and tricks, they are not a foolproof method to finding work immediately. No doubt about it, job hunting takes effort and work, just like a real job. Don’t diminish the quality of your work just because you feel as though you’re getting “nowhere”.

Perseverance is key, and all that hard work will pay off in the end. The job market might be tough, with tons of people applying each and every day, but it isn’t impossible. Given enough time and effort, you will break through, and you will certainly be glad you did.