I often use the analogy of dating when discussing the steps of a career search to college age audiences as the analogy resonates with the demographic since dating is an ever-present topic in their lives. So how are dating and applying for jobs similar?
Step #2: The “Ask Out” or Applying for Jobs
From the first installment, Flirting/Getting to Know You, I discussed the need to meet with people, understand what careers/fields interest you, and identify possible employers where there is a mutual interest on both sides. Now that you know you are interested in a particular company, and the employer seems to be a good match for you, we move onto Step #2.
With palms sweaty and nerves on high alert, you get the courage to go up to that potential special someone and ask her out on a date. “Mary, I have really enjoyed talking with you and getting to know you, would you want to have dinner with me this weekend?”
Talk to anyone who has ever asked someone out on a serious date (and not at 2:00a.m. as the Linebacker was closing ask) and they will agree that the “ask” is usually a process. Are you calling her? I would bet 98% of individuals have rehearsed what they are going to say. Are you making the ask in person? I see a shower, deodorant, and careful consideration of one’s outfit is in order. Do you recall making the call to ask someone to an SYR (dorm dance at Notre Dame)? Before calling, considerable thought went into who to ask, what to say, etc. Many of us have spoken to friends of that special someone to ascertain, will she say yes if I ask?
My point is that when a person is planning to make the “ask” for a date, the individual attempts to put his best foot forward by making a positive impression. Prior to the act of making the “ask”, one preps what to say, how to bring up the topic, maybe even responses to anticipated questions. All in all, there is more background to the ask then just the spoken words.
The same consideration and effort should be put forth with a serious application. Look over the job posting and research the employer. Have you spoken with someone inside the company and tailored your resume/application for the specific job? Just as I thought through how I wanted to present myself when asking someone out on a date, I think through what I want to highlight and how I want to present myself on my resume when applying to a job.
Too often, we send out a general resume to 500 job postings and are disappointed with the yield. The dating equivalent would be to go up to 500 strangers and ask them on a date. Will you get yeses? Probably, but it is not an effective method to begin a relationship.
Asking someone out or applying for jobs is not an easy step for many and should not be done on a whim in order to generate effective results. It is important to prepare and tailor your approach when applying for jobs (or asking someone out). Making a date feel special by listening and paying attention to her interests is important; just like highlighting your relevant skills and experiences to the potential employer will make the hiring manager feel like you care about this application and position.
Tomorrow: McDonald’s and Miss USA