Job hunting is one of the more frustrating things to do in life. While many companies offer online job applications, it can feel almost useless to send in a resume to the deep portal of a submission box. When there is no response, after weeks of waiting, it can feel like a waste of time and effort, and make the job hunter’s sense of worth plummet. Two-thirds of all jobs are gotten by personal referrals, so where does that leave the unconnected among us?
It takes a certain mindset to go into a job interview and come out on top. James Citrin, executive recruiter and author, has spoken before to Big Think about the three factors that need to be considered for any potential job prospect. He also points out that everyone needs a place to start off – the pinnacle of your career will be a result of whatever stepping stones you take along the way, so you just need to get it started any way you can. Working is better than waiting.
The jumping off point for any application is of course the resume. Citrin says as you start to get your feet wet in the job hunt, you should keep your resume at just one-page long, max. New grads aren’t likely to have a lot of job experience, but what they do have can neatly fill up one page, with internships, high school employment, and what experiences school has given them. No accomplishment is too small if it shows a valuable job skill like dedication or a level of responsibility, even if it was just shoveling snow or mowing lawns.
Something else to note is one of the main questions any job interviewer is likely to ask: why do you want this job? No employer wants to hear that it’s for the money. Of course the main point of a job is to feed yourself, but the employer wants to hear how this is a passion for you, that it’s the opportunities you’re looking for, or that the company has ideals that you support. An employer understands that people want money, but they can get a paycheck from other companies, too. The goal is to impress this particular company, and stand for more than just self-interest.
Citrin explains that career progression isn’t always going to be a direct move up the ladder, so manage your expectations and look for the value in each new role. Each company is going to offer different experiences. You may have to move laterally or slightly backwards at a new company, to get further in the long run. If the new company is going to teach you something the last company didn’t, it’s a good thing. From there, you can have a broader view of the world, and have more skills and experience to offer.
James Citrin’s book is
James Citrin leads Spencer Stuart’s North American CEO Practice and is a core member of the firm’s Board Practice. During his 22 years with the firm, he has worked with clients on more than 600 CEO, board director, and other top management searches and succession assignments. In May 2014, he was reelected to the Spencer Stuart worldwide Board of Directors for a fifth term, and has served as a director for 15 years.
James graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Vassar College in 1981 and served as a trustee on the school’s Board of Directors for 12 years, co-chairing the Nominating Committee. He received his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School in 1986, earning first- and second-year honors and graduating with distinction. In addition, Jim has served as a trustee and member of the Executive Committee of the Board at Wesleyan University for six years, and serves as a board member of the Cancer Research Institute, as well as the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island.