Going Back to Work? How to Land the Job You Never Knew You Wanted

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I spent most of the afternoon today making calls to men and women who had submitted applications or resumes to my company online. Some of them impressed me. Others not as much. If you’re ready to return to the workplace or make a job change, here are a few tips that may help you land an amazing job you may not have even known you wanted. 

1. Know what you want and what you need. What type of job are you looking for? Are you wanting full-time or part-time? Will you work weekends? What salary/hourly rate are you looking for? Do you need benefits? Do you want room for growth, challenge and leadership opportunities? Be ready to answer these types of questions with clarity. Bonus points for knowing why you want to work at that company and how they impact the community!

2. Know what you’re good at or why you’d make a great addition to the team. A job interview is not the time for modesty. Be prepared to discuss your strengths and weaknesses (in a positive light). Think about the different jobs you’ve had before and what the common thread is. I recently had a discussion with my boss in which I was asked in what ways my talents were being under-utilized and what else I could contribute to our team that perhaps they didn’t know. I have had a variety of jobs in my adult life that don’t really follow a clear career path, but what I realized after reflecting on the question was that my common thread was influence. I’ve been a teacher, a recruiter, a saleswoman, an admissions officer, a Bible study teacher–quite the random resume, but what I love is connecting with people for the purpose of impacting their lives for the better. It was a lightbulb moment for me. What is the common thread for you that makes for meaningful work?

3. Dress for success. I’ve learned this doesn’t necessarily come naturally for everyone, so a good rule of thumb is to dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Look at the company website or social media channels before you interview. You can even ask what the dress code is for the company before your interview or your first day. At the very least, ladies, clean hair and nails, make up done so that it is not a distraction, and shoes that show you are ready to work–not hit the town for date night. No cleavage. Ever. And, no tight or revealing clothing. If you’re not sure, ask your mom or a girlfriend that works in an environment similar to yours if your interview or first day outfit is appropriate. You typically can’t go wrong with dress pants and a nice blouse or blazer for an office job.

4. Be honest and open to change. Be open to a new challenge or a role you’ve never considered. I am embarrassed to say I actually told my last interviewer that I didn’t think I was qualified for the job I was interviewing for! It took the woman reading my resume to show me how my skills matched what she was looking for. I was intimidated to say the least. I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into when I accepted the job, but I could tell that I resonated with the team I would be working with and was excited to take the challenge to learn something new. In the last 18 months, I have learned so much and grown in ways I didn’t know I needed to–and I’ve been given more responsibility and opportunities to serve, lead and encourage others to do the same.

Girl, you got this! Put on your fancy pants, prepare well for your interview, and go get that amazing job you never knew you wanted!