Job hunting 101

File photo. (a loves dc / Flickr)

For those of you not attending spring or summer session, the school year has come to a close. Although the weather hasn’t improved much yet, hopefully it will soon. Perhaps, in celebration of the long-awaited fabulous weather, you might partake in a barbecue or two, indulge in an inappropriate and possibly sickening quantity of frozen treats, enjoy an ice-cold beverage at a local or faraway large body of refreshing water ideal for recreational swimming or water sports, or journey across the country or across the globe on an exotic and stress-free expedition. Or, like the average student, you may be scouting for summer employment.

When looking for a job, pick a position that interests you in some way, no matter how minor the spark may be. The more interested you are—whether you’re interested in working with or mentoring people, being responsible for meticulous tasks, or the pay scale—the more likely you are to be content with your time spent there, and even if you don’t expect the position to last much longer than the summer, listening to your gloating comrades’ tales of fun summer getaways will at least be easier to handle.

The secrets to getting a job are persistence and patience. Playing the waiting game while employers shuffle résumés and positions are vacated is the hardest part of a job hunt, but don’t let anxiety get the best of you. Remain positive and optimistic; just because you haven’t received a phone call from one company doesn’t mean you should stop there. Keep applying! It doesn’t hurt to pepper the city with your resume and your name. Who knows? Someone might have a job offer for you a few months down the road, and remember reapplying for a position later isn’t a bad thing either.

Know your stuff. While it’s alright for new employees to not know everything about a position, it does help if you research the company or business. Not only will this help the interview go smoothly, but you will also be informed, potentially preventing unpleasant surprises. Additionally, possessing knowledge about a business can ensure you know what kind of experience your employer is looking for.

Employers want every employee to have soft skills, or employability skills, which include communication, positive attitudes and behaviors, adaptability, problem solving and working with others. These are basic skills that can be learned throughout life, are oftentimes innate, and enable an employee to learn and grow in a job, cooperate with co-workers, and become a long-term asset within an organization.

Hard skills, or technical skills, are job-specific, with the necessity of each depending on the type of employment being sought. Some examples include the knowledge of various computer programs, measuring and calculating, speaking multiple languages, operating machinery or analyzing data. Job training or previous education can help endow one with these skills, but researching a business or contacting an employer can help ascertain the precise job requirements.

At the end of the day, after having distributed more copies of you résumé and shaken more hands than you have fingers, don’t be upset if nobody bites. Not everyone gets lucky the first time, or the second time, and don’t discredit yourself as a human being or adopt the belief that you’re a failure. The job market is an ever-changing environment, and employees are constantly leaving one business and entering another, so in the meantime, keep calm and carry on. The right job for you will appear if you seek it, and you’ll do fine, ducky.