Taking Advantage of the Job Skills Shortage

Employers often say they can’t find what they need in job applicants. In the same breath, they also post a laundry list of required job skills to discourage candidates. In this market, a job seeker should be willing to challenge what’s necessary and read between the lines of a job post to know what’s really "required".

Recent grads or those early in their careers will often run across “entry” level jobs that require a few years of experience in very particular skill sets. Those with little to no experience will often ignore them due to the necessary list of job skills. From a business’s perspective, setting requirements low is a sure way to receive an avalanche of resumes.

Both sides are trying to deal with a somewhat unbalanced job market. Although the unemployment rate is down to 5%, many recent grads, 44%, are using their degrees as fancy wall-hangings at dead-end jobs. They’re also often competing with rebounding middle career individuals who took a hiatus from their careers to grab an extra degree. As for businesses, they’re having a hard time finding a perfect fit even among piles of resumes due to a lack of real job skills. There’s a miscommunication between both sides.

As a job seeker, it’s your job to fix that miscommunication, convince a business still looking for a “purple squirrel” that you’re the right person and land the job with a good salary. It’s a daunting task, and many of those looking for entertainment jobs can fail. We’re here to help.

1.Stand Out

It’s not the first time that this has been said. In fact, it’s the overarching theme to any job search, but it’s worth restating. You must stand out from the crowd. There are many ways to do so.

  • Think of anything that might show your drive and ability. If it’s a position that requires certain job skills to do a certain task, do that task and send an example along to show you can do the work.
  • A resume that catches the eye may be just what you need to stand out. Try for a tasteful yet crafty design meant to appeal to your employer and focus specifically on showing related examples, experience and results in the job skills the employer is seeking.
  • If you’re regurgitating the same verbiage that everyone else uses on your cover letter, it’s not going to do much. Try to write something that is truly unique and will stick in a reader’s mind long after it’s read. The cover letter is also a great place to add color to the resume in areas where you may not have specific expertise but can demonstrate a similar skill or show how you will still shine on the job.
  • Every business is made up of particular individuals, and if you can connect with those individuals on a personal basis one way or another, you’ll be much closer at eventually landing the job. Try to find a connection through your existing networks and get an introduction to someone at the business you are courting.
  • Push your communications outside of the standard resume send. Instead of resorting to email or snail mail, think of ways you can get your name in front of a potential employer. For example, some crafty individuals have used billboards or even hacked email accounts to make a blip on a company’s radar.
  • Focus your energy and be persistent. A job seeker is often competing against hundreds of individuals. By targeting a particular company and persistently trying to get your foot in the door, no matter the tactic, you have a much better chance at getting the company’s attention.

2.Become the “Purple Squirrel”

While many businesses realize that they may not find the perfect candidate, some prefer to wait for the ideal applicant to show up on their doorsteps. While it can be difficult to actively fight against this methodology, it is possible.

First, you’ll have to land that interview. If you stand out, that shouldn’t be too much of a problem. The second step is using that time to make your case. A great starting point is your elevator pitch. In less than a minute, you should be able to explain your career goals, how they fit with the company your looking at and what you have done in your prior career to achieve those goals. Aim for specificity in both actions and goals.

Also, be prepared to answer the questions pertaining to the company’s requirements. Acknowledge that you may not have experience or a skill listed, but explain why that is. Be ready to explain equivalent experience and job skills with confidence. To get rid of the “purple squirrel” mindset, you must become the “purple squirrel” with the confidence and charm necessary to convince experienced interviewers.

  1. Fight for Your Salary

When you don’t have the necessary requirements, but you have convinced a company to hire you, a company may try to lower the starting salary. Depending on the position, this may be fair. A company may be spending the extra time training you to help you do the job. Sometimes, however, you may have to stand your ground if you have a particular compensation in mind.

This can be difficult, especially in a weak job market for recent college grads. Again, the right confidence can do a lot. Realize that the company wants to confirm that it made the right choice in hiring you. You can leverage that feeling to push back during negotiations.

The miscommunication between those looking for entertainment jobs and businesses looking for employees can be a benefit if you decide to play your cards right. While everyone else is sending out resumes, you can take a proactive approach to the job hunt to start convincing potential employers that you’re the best fit for the job. To get started today, check out the 4entertainmentjobs.com board updated daily with open positions.

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