Persistence Is a Virtue: How to Nail a Job / Internship this Winter
Rejection. It’s one of the worst feelings we can experience.
At the word “rejection,” maybe your mind travels back to that special job opportunity—the one that never replied to your application.
You probably thought to yourself: “What did I do wrong? Was I just not good enough? What should I have done differently?”
The reality is that getting a job is a competitive task: not everyone can win.
But there is almost always a winner, and that winner can be YOU.
If you keep reading, you’ll find job-hunting tricks I’ve gleaned over the last several years from online research, personal experience, and the experiences of people I know.
The Résumé and Cover Letter
First of all, you should include a polished résumé and cover letter with every application. Increase the chances of your résumé being seen by submitting both a paper copy and a digital copy via e-mail.
A friend of mine who worked as a secretary said that when the hiring manager she worked for looked through applications, he only considered applicants who had submitted a résumé. He didn’t even look at the other applications.
Your grammar and spelling should be perfect. Have an upperclassman English major proofread your résumé and cover letter. If there’s just one typo on either of those, you’ll give the impression you’re careless and unprofessional.
While you’re reviewing your résumé, compare your qualifications to the job’s requirements. If there’s a discrepancy (e.g. you don’t have enough years of experience or are missing certifications), you should reconsider your application. You most likely won’t get that position. Devote your efforts to a more realistic goal.
An employer sees your résumé before he sees you. Make a good first impression. Look up professional résumé designs online, but exercise good judgment. Some résumé templates on the internet are great, but others are poorly designed. The design should direct the reader’s eye in a logical order around the page, emphasizing the important parts. Also, having more than one page for a résumé is not recommended—the employer won’t get that far. His first look at your résumé won’t be more than a brief skim.
Organized. Concise. Professional. That’s what you want in a résumé.
If you can, have a graphic designer review your résumé. Better yet: if you have a parent or family friend who’s a hiring manager or employer, send your résumé over to him for review.
Making a good résumé is a lot of work, but don’t stress out over it. Take your time with it. Keep it simple. Highlight your best features according to the job you’re applying for. Definitely include what’s known as “soft skills”—skills like teamwork, leadership, communication, and problem-solving.
Focus your accomplishments by being specific. If leadership is one of your soft skills, describe how you applied that skill; for example: “Delegated tasks to a team of five cooks every day for three months and trained a successor.”
If you don’t have relevant work experience, highlight achievements from your college career. List any proficiencies you developed that are relevant to the job you’re applying for (e.g. computer applications, programming languages, public speaking skills, etc.). If you made high marks on projects, you should include descriptions of those as well.
Also, focus on your volunteer work. In many occupations, volunteer work shows that you work for causes and not for pay or benefits.
But, again: keep your résumé simple. Employers are busy people—most will just skim over the content.
Don’t forget to check out the résumé and cover letter checklists on Eagle’s Nest under the Career Services tab!
Do you really want that job?
Then act like you do! After you submit your application with your résumé and cover letter, wait about a week. If by then you haven’t heard back from the hiring team, call and ask them if your résumé has been reviewed yet, or just write your prospective employer an e-mail. Express your interest. The difference between you and another applicant might just be your persistence!
Persistence, in a job hunt, is a virtue.
Also, familiarize yourself with the organization. Do your research. Know what they believe in and what their goals are. If you can, visit and ask for a tour. Some organizations even allow you to shadow one of their employees for a day. The better you know the company, the better prepared you’ll be for an interview to convince your prospective employer of your passion for the job.
If you don’t hear from the organization, make inquiries. Don’t give up until you know for certain that a hiring manager declined your application.
If you have an outstanding résumé and you’ve thoroughly researched the organization, you’ve already invested in your interview. But you don’t have the job yet—so you still have more to do.
You may need to get a new suit. Even if you know that a company has a relaxed atmosphere, err on the side of over-dressing—but dress appropriately. Stick to neutral colors. Invest in a little grooming. (French manicures are my personal preference.) Look sharp. Show that you’re serious about the job.
Clean up your social media. Many employers will research your social media when considering you for a job. Negative or controversial posts and trivial selfies generally work against you. But some posts and photos can be beneficial, especially those that portray you as being resourceful, hardworking, a good leader, or team-orientated. Clean up your “favorites” and “liked pages” as well.
Another way that social media can work to your advantage is if you have a LinkedIn account. If you don’t have one already, open an account today, and start developing it. Include a link to your profile on your résumé. Most employers nowadays do look up their applicants’ profiles!
Sell yourself—but don’t be arrogant. Definitely pray before your interview: ask the Lord to help you to be humble even though you have to portray yourself positively. Convince your prospective employer that you have something valuable to contribute to his company.
Have this mindset: your goal isn’t to “get” the job—it’s to “give” your skills and knowledge to the job. Keep your mind off of what the organization can do for you and focus on what you can do for the organization.
Throughout this job-hunting process, remember that confidence and persistence are key. I learned in an art class once that to be successful you have to act like the best version of yourself: channel the successful person you want to become! You’ll have a difficult time getting that job or internship if you don’t believe you’ll be successful.
Be confident in the Lord’s promises. Remember Psalm 84:11b–12:
[T]he LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.”
If you’re walking with the Lord, He won’t withhold a good thing from you. So if He does withhold that job or internship, don’t be dismayed. It just means it wasn’t a good thing!
So trust in the Lord and pursue. If that job is a good thing, He’ll help you obtain it.11