Job Hunting Skills to Train

Author: Frederick Ezekiel Pasco

Job hunting can be a job in and of itself. Ideally, it’s a planned process with a reliable return on investment. You invest a set amount of time and get a certain amount of responses. At the same time, you are your own boss (for the time being of course). Job hunting can bring out the very best in people, but for the unprepared, it can also bring out the very worst. Sometimes it will also show you aspects of yourself you didn't know existed. When I think of my own experiences with job hunting, it’s fair to say that job hunting is often a point in our lives that has the opportunity to be self-actualizing, a process of becoming.

It is also a journey. One way or another it will end, hopefully with a positive outcome. To traverse the journey of self-discovery that is job hunting successfully, you will need to have these key skills or traits.

1. Adaptability

While many of us would love to be a CEO, but it's rare to be at the top of the ladder right when you get started. You may want a certain position but be more qualified for another at the moment. This is normal and sometimes it can end up taking you to places you never thought possible. A key skill in job hunting is being adaptable to what the job market needs and what you can provide.

We all have different journeys and if the situation calls for you to go into a position that you may or may not have thought of when you started job hunting, fear not, it just means that you have different options available to you. Who knows, you may grow more professionally in this position than you would have in what you were originally looking for!

2. Perseverance

I can’t stress this trait enough. The inevitability and reality of job hunting means that you're going to receive rejection emails and rejection calls, if you hear anything at all, some of the time. If this starts to get overwhelming or too frustrating, it’s okay to pause in your job search every once in a while because of this. Times are tough and your mental health should take priority.

When you do pause, however, remember to come back. From experience, when I took a weekend off, it gave me a better overall disposition towards the work and process of job hunting as well as the time to readjust my job search plan or routine to produce better outcomes.

You may not get the job you initially thought you’d have when you first started job searching but trust me when I say that there will be many more opportunities for you to succeed. Just remember to keep on pushing. As Maya Angelou said, "You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated"

3. Phone Skills

Before graduating, our university gave us a lecture about the different types of interviews that you may encounter while looking for a job. One of the key things that I acquired from that lecture was the prevalence of phone interviews. I didn’t think about it much then but I soon started realizing that some companies will call applicants out of the blue to streamline their recruiting funnel. As useful as ATS bots can be to companies, nothing beats human conversation.

This phone interaction determines if you are somebody they’d like to interview in person or, as is becoming more common in these times, via video conference. While job searching, remember to be vigilant and that you are putting yourself out into the world. If you allow the company you applied for to contact you via phone, you will be receiving calls sometimes out of the blue. The frequency hinges on how many applications you sent out.

During any phone interview, remember to be confident. Speak confidently and with purpose, but don’t take over the conversation. Remember that interviewers are often not JUST looking for someone to fill a position, they’re also looking for someone that they’d like to be coworkers with. While speaking with confidence is important, be wary of letting it transition into arrogance or condescension. This is not the interview proper so don’t put all your eggs in one basket. You’d like to reaffirm your interest while at the same time keeping them interested in you.

4. Informed Improv

You can practice your answer to the question, “tell me something about yourself” all you want but that's just one piece of the puzzle. Interviewers can sometimes be creative in the questions they ask. Questions like what dog you’d like to have, asking you to solve a math question, or what song you'd perform on American Idol. Don't worry. These questions are not intended simply to stump you. There is a method to the madness; it’s a test of how your cognitive processes work or how you’ll approach an unexpected situation. They want to get you out of your comfort zone and get to know the real you.

To be unfazed during these scenarios, make sure you are the master of your resume. You know yourself better than your interviewer. You can’t take tell them every little detail about yourself, but you can provide them with answers that are self-validating and will put you in good standing in their eyes.

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