In todays’ job market, it can be challenging for youth to find a job when they may not have a lot of experience in the workforce. In May’s Tip of the Month, we talk about tools youth can use to land an interview.
Best Practices for Getting an Interview
A strong resume and cover letter is your best way to get an interview. Read the job posting carefully and tell your potential employer you have the specific knowledge, experience, or skills that they are looking for.
Focus on any skills and attributes you have that best relate to the position. For example if you were applying for a serving position, you could tell your potential employer that you believe in offering excellent customer service ensuring repeat business, have positive client comment cards from a previous job, have a positive attitude and problem solving skills, and/or that you are calm in a fast paced or pressure filled environment. If you tell them about your experience in planting trees and landscaping, they will move on to another resume that focuses on the skills they are looking for, so make certain your resume focuses on skills related to THAT PARTICULAR JOB. Don’t forget to do a little research on the business you are applying to. Reflecting knowledge of a companies values or how they operate, shows you take the time to get informed.
When you are confident your cover letter and resume are complete, make certain it’s spell-checked and reviewed by someone else (very important!), a fresh pair of eyes can help catch mistakes that otherwise may get your resume put into the ‘No’ pile.
If you are applying somewhere local (and the employer has not stated in the job posting that they do not want any phone calls or drop ins), consider dropping off your resume in person. If you make a good impression this can up your chances of being considered for the job. When dropping off a resume and cover letter in person, make certain to do a few key things…
- Ask to Speak to the Hiring Manager
If you just drop your resume off at the front desk you won’t get a chance to meet the person who may be in charge of hiring. If you ask to meet them it shows confidence and a ‘take charge’ attitude. The Hiring Manager will notice that you took a few extra minutes to do so.
It’s easy to be intimidated by introducing yourself to someone who may hold the key to your future paycheque. Just remember they are human too, and at some point they likely had to go through the same job hunting process as you. Smile, introduce yourself and shake their hand. Being polite and courteous goes a long way.
- Talk a Little
You don’t want to make your potential new employer miss their lunch break while you verbally highlight all of your qualifications, but you also don’t want to introduce yourself, hand them your resume, and experience an awkward silence. Have something to say planned in advance. ‘Hi my name is Katy and I was excited to hear about your job posting for a Server, as my skills would make me a great fit with ‘insert business name here’.’ Feel free to follow up with a question as it shows you are genuinely interested and curious. ‘I wanted to introduce myself and ask when you were planning on doing interviews.’ Having a conversation will make you more memorable, and can give your potential employer a lot of information about you; namely that you are polite, well spoken, well dressed, confident and interested.
- Dress for the Part
Proper hygiene and business casual clothes can really help you stand out. No need to go overboard, focus on the basics: being clean, hair neat, wearing dress pants or a modest skirt, and a button down top. The clothing style is optional, just make certain it’s not too casual, it’s free of stains and rips and in good condition, (shoes too).
These tips can help youth find employment, but above all remember it’s a process and we are here to help! Come visit us at the Career Centre for more information.