Improving your chances of getting hired fasterChen Wan Lim
With rising global uncertainties in the political arena and economic growth, the local employment landscape has been evolving, fast adapting to the needs of the industry and its future outlook. The first mass casualty in retrenchment was in the banking and oil and gas sectors. On a national scale, it is estimated that more than 50,000 people lost their jobs in 2015 and 2016, excluding those accepting voluntary separation schemes. Further to that, Penang’s manufacturing sector could now face another wave of retrenchment as demand for semiconductors waned globally. As such, one could expect the job market to be flooded with competition from highly qualified people vying for a limited number of jobs. Here are some tips of improving your chances of getting hired faster:
Tip 1: Search for the right job – be specific
It is tempting to randomly drop your resume at every doorstep, or in a more common case, every email inbox – this is not the right way to go about getting a job. Be specific and use job search engines to look for the specific roles you want. Use specific keywords such as “Aeronautical Engineering” or “Pharmaceutical production”. This way, you will get only relevant roles as opposed to random job openings. This saves time and increases your chances of chancing upon a relevant role.
Tip 2: Customise your resume for every application
The thought of customising your resume and cover letter for every job application may sound daunting. But trust us, it is well worth the time and effort spent. Firstly, a customised letter addressing the specific hiring manager ‘Mr Lee’ sounds much better than ‘To whom it may concern’. Secondly, hiring managers do appreciate customised letters and resumes as it displays sincerity, diligence and effort. Also, highlight key skills which are directly applicable to the role and company you applied for; this will make screening easier for the hiring manager and it will also increase your chances of getting called for an interview.
Tip 3: Go old school
In the age of the internet and job search engines, getting a job through referrals is still relevant. Go through your mobile phone contact list and call some of your ex-colleagues, clients, acquaintances whom you think can help you connect with companies that are hiring. Getting a job through referrals often bypasses the general vetting and screening processes and gets you connected directly with the hiring manager. Getting referred also increases your chances of success, as your referee would have put in a good word or two about you.
Tip 4: Dress the part
There is no such thing as dressing too well for a job interview. Always look your best and make a good impression. The saying, “First impressions make a lasting impression” cannot be truer. Always attend interviews with well ironed shirt/blouse, polished shoes and pressed trousers. Also, always be prepared with all your supporting documents such as university certificates, recommendation letters etc. There is nothing more annoying to a hiring manager than a poorly-dressed, ill-prepared job applicant.
Tip 5: Practice makes perfect
Attending interviews is an experience on its own. The more you attend, the more experience you get. As such, practice answering common questions you encounter in the interviews you attend. Practise answering common questions with ease and accuracy, as well as use technical jargons associated with the industry you are in to display certain level of understanding of the role you are applying for.
Tip 6: Follow up
During an interview, be sure to remember the names of your interviewers and get their contact details to send a thank you email after the interview – That is the first step of following up. The second step is to allow a couple of days to pass by before sending another email following up to see if you made the cut. Following-up gives the perception of urgency and also your determination of landing the role.