I don’t have a character flaw that causes me to still see the good in most people. This vision commonly stems from knowing when I can help someone help themselves. I can wash your car for you a million times, but if I can help you learn just once – or if just doing it right once myself takes care of the situation – I will. My charitable goodwill is not a handout: I donate the time and effort if I think it will be the extra oomph someone will need to get out the gate. The time I spend is measured and biased. Being that it’s my time, if you have a problem with this, you can jog off.
So, let me give some of this time. I worked retail management for nine years. I saw some crazy applications – I mean, downright batshit-insane. So, I knew (and now, know,) finding a new job is a complete pain in the ass, regardless of the economy. There are, literally, more jobs than there are people to fill them, depending on what you’re looking for. I mean, there can only be one president at a time, and I know at least 230 Million people that say they’re more than qualified for the job.
These advertise for you. They want programmers, engineers, burger time specialists, and masters of macchiato. Commonly, the only ones available to work these spots are retail sales associates, bankers, astrophysicists, and car detailing technicians. The employment that is available isn’t always what you can do.
So, you may be saying to yourself, “No shit, Cletus: this is nothing that I don’t know. I have wasted my precious time spamming classifieds on Craisglist for this buttnugget of wisdom, you dick.”
Simmer, friends. I do actually have some straight-forward advice.
Let’s start with the most basic: advertise yourself. Look, you did do something before you did what you’re doing now. Sit down and think about how what you’ve done can be used for where you’re going. There’s the basic stuff, such as a cashier being, “fiscally accountable as cash handler of sales operations.” Did you just talk to customers, or were you, “engaging customers with open-ended questions designed to promote multi-unit sales?” Then there are the more obfuscated ones. If you met such-and-such a sales goal, don’t just say that on a resume. Just because I can fart ‘Ode to Joy’ is no indication of the amount of skill and expertise that went into, “Learning and performing alternative musical performances publicly.” Just because you’ve learned this lovely jargon at one job, doesn’t mean that it’s universally applicable. Write down your achievements as if relating them to someone that has no clue what you’re talking about. Or, as it has been related to me: like you’re talking to a senile septuagenarian. What does being the number one seller of Alex’s Lemonade stickers entail? Did you create a sales technique to engage customers? Did you establish a sales quota? Were there little micro-meetings where you would share what works best with your team? Did you threaten to punch everyone in the neck if they didn’t buy, or did you favor a soft-close sales technique?
Don’t sell yourself short. You are trying to promote, in three pages or less (with a resume), how awesome you are. Not how awesome you think you are. Don’t use hyperbole or misleading information – the last thing you want is to start an interview backing out of a lie. Use actual examples, goals, dreams, and personality traits to your advantage. Sure, the last job might have made you feel stressed and worn out, but why? Did you just throw yourself that strongly into your work? By doing this, did you learn a few things about being a self-motivated person? Did you learn about building a better work environment for your team? Was through things that you did or did not hear? - morale and support that was not offered?
Don’t oversell yourself. Seriously, don’t state your time as a burger flipper was food safety and health inspector, as well as loss prevention specialist for your location. If you can tell me enough about you, then reading what you’ve done is just an icing. Too much icing and the cake is ruined.
When you interview, you have as much right to ask questions as they do. This is a funny one that a lot of people don’t think about it. Research where you’re going for an interview beforehand: if you can’t be comfortable being attached to a product or company, don’t be. It will just wear you down, and it’s an insulting disservice to the company to continue working like that. I refused to even interview with companies that I thought were complete nonsense, or, that had ethically averse standards. Equally, it’s impressive as all hell if you can spout back some of what the company is all about. Bonus points if they have a philanthropic initiative that you are aware enough of to be deemed ‘knowledgeable’
Most interviews start and stop at the resume – don’t let them. If you’re going to introduce yourself with a sheet of paper, make sure it’s the best damn piece that’s ever been in someone’s hands. Keeping in mind, they’ve had a few delightful pieces before you. Don’t go gimmicky or cheap – colored paper, perfume, singing telegram, etc. If you can be as awesome as I know you all are, then you’ll do just fine getting out the gate. You might have a boot print in your ass, though.