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Take A Walk on the Candidate Side (and how a mentoring program can help)

Take A Walk on the Candidate Side (and how a mentoring program can help)

Job searching is not for the faint of heart, let’s be honest. But finding an employer with a mentoring program can help.

Even as a Human Resource professional, a job search is daunting.  Last year, I found myself in job search mode after having been with the same company for four and a half years.  In all that time, I had been the resume critic, the interviewer, the phone analyst, the assessment expert.  Then I found myself on the other end.  Would you like to know my strength and weakness?  Strength: helping others get where they are trying to go.  Weakness: not having a clue how to help myself get there too.

  • Factor in the following barriers candidates face:
  • Introvert vs. extrovert
  • Job requisitions that are posted by law, when the position is essentially filled
  • Entry-level positions requiring 3-5 years’ experience
  • Positions requiring extensive education/experience but the salary is for the aforementioned entry-level position


I have my candidate pet peeves such as horrible grammar/punctuation (inexcusable when Microsoft is always judging) and resume submissions that come from Notepad.  Yes, I’ve had that happen. However, I have a question for my readers- whether you are the VP of Operations, CHRO, IT guru or the CEO of the company- when was the last time you had to look for a job?  No networking, not calling in a favor, not “who you know”, but as the average person who has found themselves in the most thrilling part of their life.  Here is what you can do in the event you find yourself suddenly in search of your next (career) adventure:

1.  Brush off whatever has caused, or is causing, your current search. Everything is a lesson learned and we all rise above. 

2.  Keep a running list of accomplishments and tasks. When updating your resume, that list will be useful. 

3.  Avoid buzzwords!  I am connected to several recruiters and HR leaders on social media and can say with certainty that buzzwords are becoming a buzzkill.

4.  If you are in between opportunities, set aside a few hours a week to volunteer.  Many connections and unrealized opportunities are found via philanthropic encounters. 

5.  Be patient, especially when having to apply via an Applicant Tracking System (ATS).  Not all ATS’ are created equally and maybe the company needs someone like you to help them understand the process from a candidate perspective. 

Finally, it is very easy to allow defeat and self-doubt to rent space in our mind during a search. As with an ATS, recruitment and strategy are not created equally. Keep notes of your varying experiences with companies- what you appreciated and disliked.  You never know where this “research” will take you!  And remember to check in with a network from time to time.  Whether it be your mentor, a close friend or a former colleague turned confidante! 

Sarah Marchese, M.Sc.

Sarah holds a Master’s in Industrial/Organizational Psychology and loves all things HR. She has worked as a department of one and on teams, currently as a Generalist. She has been recognized as HR Rockstar of the Year by Phoenix Business Journal and Employer’s Council in Arizona.