A Community of Professionals Ages 21-45 Brought Together By Events
As a career counselor in Boston, I often give clients or groups advice on how to target their resume, tailor their cover letter or customize their elevator speech. The question that almost inevitably comes up in each situation is, “But what if you’re applying for any job you can get? How do you present yourself if you can’t be targeted?”
Since this seems to be a fairly common issue, let me lend some perspective. My first and best answer is:
1. Don’t do that! I know that many people are in a situation where they just need a source of income pronto and I respect that, but you’ll likely be more satisfied if you give your career choice some thought. I realize that this is much easier said than done, but if it’s at all possible in your situation, it’s well worth the effort. More than that, however, is that it’s difficult to run a targeted networking campaign, target good companies to work for, and target your own personal “hire me” sales pitch if you’re applying for just anything.
2. Be specific within your generality. When giving your elevator speech to let people know what you’re looking for, at least try to give some specific examples. It’s much easier for someone to help you if you’re looking for a job in “HR, marketing or advertising,” than “business.” Also, regardless of how wide a range of jobs you’re applying for, tailor your resume and cover letter for each one!
3. Don’t spam companies with job applications. Even if you’re applying for just about anything, that doesn’t mean you should literally do that. There are jobs you’re in no way qualified for (no matter how awesome you are!). There are other jobs you probably wouldn’t take even if they were offered. Also keep in mind that large companies with online job application systems will know if you’ve applied for everything from administrative assistant to CEO and are less likely to take you seriously if you spam them!
4. Be enthusiastic (and knowledgeable) about each and every job. Your cover letters and resume summaries should always reflect your sincere (or as sincere as possible) interest in and targeted presentation for every job. There’s no point in applying for a teaching job with a cover letter that talks mostly about your skill with computer programming. Even more importantly, in an interview, make sure you research and know what the job is you’re interviewing for and that you are enthusiastic about the one job specifically.
5. Stay positive, or at least act positive. Similar to number four, hiring managers don’t want to hire someone just because they need a job. They want to hire someone who’s going to be a positive, enthusiastic employee who’s knows what the job is and is excited to work for them (hopefully for the long term). It’s perfectly understandable to be discouraged in your job search as it can be difficult and frustrating, but do your best to put on a positive face for the interview and other interactions.