A Tailored Approach to Job Searching

by sysop in Looking for a Job

73224077There are generally three aspects of fashion that determine whether or not a garment is worth its weight in salt: Fit, Fabric, and Style.  Each element is critically important to the look and comfort of the clothing for any smart shopper.   When applying for jobs, you can use this same hierarchy of knowledge to help improve your ratio of interviews to applications submitted.  You don’t go into a store and buy the first shirt you find on the rack, just as you don’t need to apply for every job that catches your eye.

The Right Fit:

Finding the right fit, both in fashion and the job search, is the most important part of achieving desired results.  Know which positions you are looking for, and determine whether you are a good fit for a role, and whether a role is a good fit for you.  There is no textbook definition of a “good fit” as it will vary from person to person. But ask yourself these three questions:

1)      Will I find fulfillment in what I am doing?

2)      Do I agree with the organization’s vision and mission statements?

3)      Do I possess the skills, background, and experiences necessary to perform the required roles, responsibilities, and expectations outlined in the job description?

If you can honestly answer “yes” to each of these criteria, there is a high probability that the posting is a good fit with your career objectives.

Fabric:

Any fabric starts with the many threads that make it up, whether for a shirt, or pants, or a skirt. Similarly, job postings are made of individual threads of responsibilities, requirements, and preferred knowledge.  It’s important to go over all parts of a job description, and match the needs of the organization with your personal skills and experiences.   You don’t have to move past an application because you don’t have 100% of the requirements, but don’t apply for positions asking for 15 years minimum experience when you only have an internship and campus volunteer work under your belt.   Manage your expectations, but don’t be afraid to reach a year or two past your current experience to fill a dream job opening.

Style:

Style is adding your personal flare to help you stand out from everyone else.  In a job search, this is commonly done through your cover letter and resume.  Too often applicants blast out a generic resume to hundreds of jobs and hear back from only a handful, if they’re lucky.  Break the mold. Identify how you fit into an organization and match your skills to the position’s needs to stand out.  Break free of Times New Roman 12 point font.   Use your unique knowledge, background, and point of view to paint a picture that makes the organization feel as if they have to hire you, and keep it relevant.  Your study abroad on modern art in Paris is a great story for an interview, but probably won’t help you stand out for that domestic tax reform policy analyst position.  Leave it out!

Following these steps will not guarantee that you’ll hear back with an interview for every job application. By tailoring your search and application, you are helping to set yourself apart and create your own unique style.   Happy searching!