HOW TO GET HIRED NEXT WEEK.
A shortcut for your future.
Something that seems to be increasingly relevant within my social circle and the millennial (which, by the way, is a word I’ve grown to loathe) demographic in general is more and more of us are unemployed or searching for a new job and incidentally it’s harder than ever to find one. The majority of us have a CV with moderate customer service experience and a humanities degree from a middle of the pack university and as a result the value of those assets has dwindled away to next to nothing. How can you gain experience in your field if nobody in that field is willing to give you an opportunity to start with? It’s a paradoxical cycle and it is exhausting. The answer, however, is surprisingly obvious. As with most situations in my life the key is to stop being so god damn lazy. My Dad was right, who knew?
Now, I don’t want to sound like I’m contradicting myself here but… I’m going to so please just bear with me.
None of us have time to be reading posts like this on the internet so, I’m going to make this simple and quick like an ‘F’ student on sports day. Here are a few things that I have learned so far to convince your future employer that you’re actually hot sh!t and should be hired effective immediately before the next lucky punter snaps you off of the market.
POTENTIAL WEIGHS MORE THAN EXPERIENCE.
The first mistake you’re going to make is trying to blag your potential employer into thinking you can do the job they’re advertising. You can’t. At least in most cases anyway. Let’s face it, that job in Primark you had for two months when you were sixteen hasn’t given you any valuable experience no matter how proud of you your mum was for trying. You’re going to need training in your new role pretty much 100% of the time and that’s OK! In fact, your employer knows this! Don’t start spinning the yarn that your time at Subway taught you how to master Excel because you were in charge of the weekly rota. People in general (and especially interviewers) have a distinct knack of detecting bullshit. It’s an innate behaviour. You might think you’re fooling them enough to get through the interview stage but in reality, you’ve probably just blown it. What they want to hear is the sweet sound of potential and this goes beyond the role you are applying for. If you’re going to exaggerate anything, your potential should be first on the list. Of course, this isn’t to say you should go in without a good foundation knowledge, but you should allow yourself room for improvement and be honest to the skills that you do possess. Focus more on your hunger to learn and grow not only as a student of your trade but also as a person. Aspiration is attractive and good for your soul, so indulge in it. Be open to the fact you don’t know everything just yet and let your passion for the industry become the focal point of the conversation.
TEACH YO SELF
Whilst it’s OK to not know everything from day one, it’s wise to have a good base knowledge at which to start from. You don’t need to rely on your education or previous experience to achieve this. Thanks to the wonders of the internet you can teach yourself anything you can think of to an absurdly high level — and you should be doing. This is a totally free way of making yourself a better person and a hotter prospect to an employer. I would go as far as saying self-learning is the single most important tool in finding a job you love and moulding that into your future career. Fortunately, this is really easy to do and you probably already do it without realising it. Have you ever found yourself googling a phrase starting with ‘how to’? Start there. Master the how to’s of your industry and in doing so you’ll discover more and more questions to ask and expand your knowledge exponentially.
Further to this make sure to utilise all of the free resources you have available to you! Things like YouTube, podcasts, blog posts, wikis and forums all have communities sharing detailed information about your chosen subject from entry level stuff to higher levels of thinking that are developing and changing your industry as you consume them (I’ll link some resources I’ve used at the bottom of this article). The best way to learn anything is to learn directly from those with a passion for what they do, so seek out the creators who devote their content to one key subject area.
INVEST IN YOUR INTEREST
Though there’s so much information out there for free, you can only learn so much from somebody else. The rest is down to you and the mistakes you are capable of making. This is personally a lesson I have only fully understood recently. I have a keen interest in independent or small businesses but despite all my self-learning and naivety, I found when I tried this out for the first time — I sucked. Though I felt I was prepared (and maybe even more so than most) I learned some harsh lessons extremely quickly as I ran myself out of business and began sharing a bedroom with leftover stock. Surprisingly though, this doesn’t bother me. I learned so much so quickly that I just hadn’t had first-hand experience of before. Within no more than a week I was critiquing my own process and realising where I could make improvements. I think this experience is invaluable and I would highly recommend this to anyone, regardless of your interest, make sure you try it out for yourself and be prepared to fail miserably. In my case this was small business but my point here is that this is actionable no matter what you’re doing, start at the smallest level and try to grow. The unfortunate part of this is it can hurt your pocket. Ever hear the phrase you’ve gotta spend money to make money? I think investing in a venture within your subject area, in whatever form this takes, is more than worth the money you put into it. You can start almost anything for a relatively low start-up cost and you can flex this to suit your current financial situation. Consider it your rookie tax or an education fee.
SHARE YOUR PROCESS
The beautiful thing about this sea of available online content is that it is always growing and you should definitely contribute to that. Documenting your process whether that’s learning passively or actively is lucrative in so many ways. From an altruistic perspective, you are helping others who are in the same situation as you which accelerates their learning process and allows you to feel good about yourself for at least five minutes, which is always a good bonus. From a more selfish, and realistically more useful perspective, you are growing your presence online and this is growing ever more invaluable as we continue forward into a tech orientated world. Your social profiles are now a window into your personality and a good way for a potential employer to gauge how you interact with others. As well as that they’re a great way to make yourself look good. Naturally we correlate a larger follower count with success and often that’s not the case. By documenting your process, you will be regularly creating content and by regularly creating content you’re going to gain followers and start increasing your influence in your chosen field. The more influence you have, the easier you’ll be able to find opportunities to monetise or find a job.
All of these ideas are about increasing your perceived value as an employee and ultimately that’s the key to getting hired. Don’t dwell on how much you regret your university course choice, start making strides towards your goal by teaching yourself. Remember it’s not about what you have right now but instead the potential you are able to display.
An online learning platform which provides video tutorials from ‘experts’ in a chosen subject.
Replace ‘subject here’ with literally anything and you’ll find a community of people sharing information and asking questions about that subject.
Use the search function and the word ‘tutorial’ and you’ll more than likely find what you’re looking for, no matter the skill level.
It sounds obvious but search for specific questions and you’ll get specific answers. Start with something you don’t understand and go from there.
Find the influencers in your subject area and follow them. Engage with their content and research the things that they talk about.