By Michael Epstein
Some people are self-starters, they just come by it naturally. If you’re one of those people, congratulations. That innate skill will take you far in life. If you’re not, you should think about becoming one, because being a self-starter can make life a whole lot easier.
Take searching for a job, for example. Often times, clients arrange a meeting with me to help them find a job, but haven’t begun to set themselves up for a successful job search. In my experience, there are a few crucial steps that should be taken prior to investing hours of time with applications. The truth is that many people are either unaware that these skills are paramount to their success as an applicant, or they think their skills are already up to par. Working on these four areas will give you the leg-up that you need to stand out amongst the other applicants.
Computer Skills: According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, “more than 50% of today’s jobs require some sort of technology skills, and…that percentage will increase to 77% in the next decade.” At the bare minimum you’ll need to be able to type, but most positions require the use of Microsoft Office suite and Word document processing. These skills are imperative to your success as a job-seeker. You should be able to apply for the jobs you’re looking for using your own computer navigation skills. If you don’t feel like your skills are where they need to be, there are plenty of courses that are offered online, at local colleges, and even here at JCS Career Center workshops.
Organizational Strategies: The best thing to do before you start applying is to create a spreadsheet or document which will help you keep your search organized. It sounds like it may be easy to keep track of in your head, but if you’re applying for five positions per day, every day for a month, you’ve quickly hit 100 applications! You’ll want to have the dates of when you’ve applied, if and when you heard back, when you followed-up, with whom, etc.
Interviewing and People Skills: Has it been 20 years since you last interviewed? Are you a recent college graduate? Either way, you’ll want to refresh your interviewing skills. Keeping good posture, maintaining sufficient yet not-overbearing eye contact, and the correct way to answer the “what are three of your biggest weaknesses” question, are just some of the ways you can give yourself the keys to success.
Mindset: Now that you’ve covered the initial prep-work, keep in mind that looking for a job is a full-time job. It is a grind and, no, it is not easy. However, if you put in the work, stay positive and persistent, and utilize the skills above, you will find a job.
Searching for a job is one of those situations where the more you put into it, the more you’ll get out of it. Computer skills provide the fundamental basis for most jobs, organization allows you to stay on top of response in a timely manner, interviewing skills will help present you in a more professional light, and keeping a positive mindset will ultimately give you the perseverance to continue through rejection. Adding these skills to your toolbox, will enhance your job search and help turn you into a self-starter for sure.
By Michael Epstein, Account Representative, JCS Career Center
The JCS Career Center offers comprehensive employment assistance that helps job seekers of all abilities and skill levels find and maintain employment. Services include career coaching, career assessments, resume and cover letter services, interview preparation, job readiness training, vocational rehabilitation and job placement assistance.