5 Things to Remember When Job Hunting

There's no way to sugarcoat it: Job hunting is THE WORST. I can vividly remember applying for jobs as my undergraduate career was coming to a close. I recall spending the three months prior to graduation searching for new job openings on my phone at 2am. Fast-forward two years, I find myself job hunting in the same obsessive fashion as I approach the end of my Master's program. Typically, I like to live by the three C's: cool, calm, and collected. But I'll be honest with you... these were some of the least calm, least cool, and least collected times in my life.  
There's no doubt about it – searching for jobs is completely overwhelming and utterly exhausting; because it's not just about the money (although, yes, money plays a huge motivating factor). You want purpose, you want to be successful, you want to set out on the career path for which you worked so hard. And for heaven's sake, you want to finally stop telling well-meaning family and friends, "I'm still figuring things out."  
So, from one friend to another, I want to fill you in on some things I learned along the way.  

Jenna Gladfelter​

1) Create a stellar resume – I'm going to linger on this first point, because I think it's so important. Somehow over the years, I've become official resume editor and career advisor for my friends. At my last job, one of my responsibilities was hiring staff. Here are a few tips for you to represent yourself well.  

  • Keep it pretty- Aesthetics are key. Your resume is a direct reflection of you – your work ethic and your potential worth to the employer. If your resume looks sloppy or slash-dashed, that sends a poor message. Be sure to represent yourself well. Nowadays, you can Microsoft Word offers all kinds of resume templates. You can Google resume templates. If we're being honest, there's really no excuse for a dull resume anymore.  

  • Keep it concise- I was told once that you get one page for each decade of professional experience you've acquired. I'm not saying that's law, but I think it's a fabulous guideline. As a general rule, if you're fresh out of college, or even in your twenties or early thirties, there is really no reason to have such a lengthy resume. Most likely a good deal of it is filler. Employers don’t want to see that, nor do they have time for that.  

  • Keep it relevant- If you've been out of school a few years, please don't put that summer you worked at Rita's before junior year of high school on your professional resume. It's just not necessary, and again, it looks like filler. If you've just graduated from college and are applying for an entry level position, include your internships, any jobs you had during school, and any volunteer work. As you gain more professional experience, you can systematically remove the oldest experience. For instance, when I applied for the job I currently have, I had still included an internship from my time in undergrad, despite the three years of professional experience I had under my belt. However, if I were to apply for another job now, there's no further need to include my internship. Not only would it push me over my one page limit (gasp!), but I have so many better things I can showcase now.  

  • Keep it upbeat- Use action words. Just Google "resume action verbs", and I promise you won't be disappointed. Quantify when you can (e.g. "Provided oversight and guidance to a total of 50 direct care staff"), but also be sure to add accomplishments (e.g. "Assisted director with revamping of existing program"). Don't sell yourself short. Brag it up with some jazzy verbs!

2) Construct a beautiful cover letter – When I first started applying for professional jobs, I gave cover letters a wide berth. I'd only apply to jobs that either didn't require a cover letter or if they were "optional." You know why? I was lazy. Plain and simple. But you know what I discovered? Once you construct a beautiful cover letter, you can reuse it...over and over. You need only make some minor changes to ensure it fits each job to which you're applying. Why is a cover letter so important, you ask? Because this is your time to shine. This is where you can go into detail about your previous jobs, really narrate your professional experience thus far. Then drive it home with why you'd be the strongest candidate for the job.

Oh, and don't forget to mail a handwritten Thank You note after the interview.

3) Apply, apply, apply – Now that you've got a stellar resume and a kicker cover letter, it's time to apply. I know it can be overwhelming, but don't limit your options by failing to put yourself out there. You know that saying "You miss every shot you don’t take"? That's exactly what I'm talking about here. I've had several friends who were looking for new jobs become so disappointed because the one or two jobs they applied to never reached out to them. And then they gave up the hunt. That's the definition of putting all your eggs in one basket. It doesn't hurt to apply, even if you're not 100% sold on the job or the company. You always have the power to say no later. 

4) Don't sell yourself short - Oftentimes, the job description makes the position sound much scarier than it really is. Don't be intimidated. Read between the lines. That responsibility they're talking about... what's the underlying skill that's required? Have you used said skill before in a previous job or internship? Great! Now see #3. 

5) Don't get discouraged – As Mr. Churchill once quipped, "Never, never, never give up!" You've got this. You WILL find something! Just like women have the intuitive ability to smell desperation on a man, employers can quickly sense self-doubt. Stay confident. You would be a welcomed addition to any employer. You just have to show them!


Now, go forth and WERK!

Jenna was born and raised in farm-country Pennsylvania. After attending college in Virginia and grad school in Maryland, she worked her way back up the East Coast to New York City. Her first job out of school was working with adults with developmental disabilities which she found to be incredibly rewarding.. Now she finds herself advocating for the rights of senior citizens in NYC.

Inspired by books penned by strong, comedic women such as Tina Fey, Carrie Fisher, and Jenny Lawson, she hopes to one day write a book herself. Among her family and friends, she's known for her Julie Andrews obsession, leaving umbrellas everywhere, and knowing useless pieces of trivia. In her spare time, she loves to try new restaurants, binge-watch Netflix, wander through botanical gardens, and eat insane amounts of popcorn.