Whether it’s lack of job history, a criminal record, a lapse in employment or any host of other potential barriers to employment, you can overcome. Make yourself an attractive candidate by following these helpful tips from Connections to Success Training Director Vivial Lopez:
- Create a 30-second commercial for yourself. Be prepared to enumerate your skills and how you developed them. Whether through jobs, volunteer work or helping a family member, your skills count.
- Identify your best features and tailor your presentation to sync them up with what the particular employer is looking for.
- Do your research. Know what positions and industries are a good fit for you.
- Be realistic. Be willing to start in an entry-level position and work yourself up from there.
Specific Tips for Specific Situations
When You Have No Job History
- Develop skills and create a work history through volunteering.
- Identify where you’d like to work and what title you’d like to have. Then focus your volunteer efforts on developing the skills that jive with your job ideal.
- Practice, practice, practice on selling yourself with confidence.
When You Have a Criminal Record
- Own it. Be upfront about it. Take responsibility for it. State when and what, but not the gory details of your crime. Look the interviewer right in the eye and then move on.
- Focus on who you are now, not who you were then.
- If you developed job skills while incarcerated be sure to phrase them correctly. Say, “while working for the DOC I learned …” instead of “while I was in prison I learned.”
- Share what you have learned from your experiences and what you have done since released, for example:
- Completed job training
- Gotten a GED
- Reconnected with family and the community
- Practice how to handle the felony question. Never minimize, justify or divert.
When You Have a Job Lapse
- Communicate how you have been productive since being laid off. Share that you:
- Have a part-time job
- Work on skill development through classroom and/or online courses
- Share what you’ve learned while under or unemployed and how it is a perfect fit for the job you’re applying for.
Confidence Goes a Long Way
Remember that, whatever your situation, you need to present yourself with confidence during an interview. Every employer is looking for a can-do attitude, along with a particular skill set. Demonstrate that through:
- Good posture. Stand and sit up straight.
- Eye contact. Look the interviewer right in the eye.
- Energetic body language. Exude your passion for success.
- Appropriate dress. Let Dress for Success help you.
The Job is Yours for the Taking
Now that you know what to do, go out and get it.