It’s tough to find good-paying work in the 2020s.

Fortunately, there are some old and new career hacks that still deliver solid results for people who are willing to try.

Some are more long-term tactics than others, but all can help qualified candidates land interviews and jobs in industries that offer rewarding career paths.

Many of today’s fresh college grads are discovering the wisdom of hiring a certified resume writer.

READ MORE: How to Successfully Write a Resume and Pass an Interview

Likewise, those who aim to complete a degree for the first time realize that student loans are available and can serve to cover some or all the expenses associated with earning a four-year diploma in a job-ready field.

But even with an impressive degree on their resumes, the most talented job seekers need to know how to conduct themselves during a live interview.

The first step after graduation is getting reliable advice from experts.

Consider the following techniques that can get your foot in the door of the companies you most want to work for.

Don’t Write Your Own Resume

It might seem counterintuitive, but there’s great value in not composing your own resume. Modern human resources (HR) managers and hiring agents at all levels use AI-based algorithms called ATS (applicant tracking systems) to select the most promising candidates before the interview phase of the hiring process. ATS is designed to focus on specific keywords that hiring agents want to see.

Those who are not familiar with how the system works and who don’t know the particular words have trouble crafting a resume that can get them an interview.

That’s why it’s worth the modest investment of about $200 to get a resume that uses the right words in the right way.

Use a Student Loan to Pay for a Degree

Obtaining a four-year degree and financing it at the same time are two separate but inextricably linked tasks. The most efficient way to complete both is to take out a private student loan that covers tuition, books, and other school-related costs.

The grand total can be too much for the average person to source from savings or a college fund. In truth, most students need to round out their personal resources with loans to pay for a typical four-year degree.

The good news about borrowing is that there is plenty of money available at competitive rates. Additionally, there’s no need to begin repaying the balance until after you get a diploma.

Learn Effective Interview Techniques

There are dozens of no-cost and low-cost ways to hone interview skills.

But what if you’ve never sat for a single interview and are beginning from a base of no experience?

The internet is an excellent resource for picking up the basic tools needed to meet with hiring agents and answer their questions intelligently.

Fortunately, most interviews follow a basic, traditional format in which the company representative asks about a dozen questions over a 30-minute period or longer.

By taking an online class and watching several recorded sessions, it’s relatively easy to gain the core conversational skills that are required to come out on top.

Keep in mind that many otherwise qualified candidates miss out on job offers because they perform poorly in live face-to-face meetings with company representatives.

Get Expert Advice

Experts include mentors, paid vocational counselors, and employment agency workers who know the lay of the land. Avoid relying on what friends tell you or what you read on random websites.

Instead, go right to the source.

Licensed employment counselors know the latest hiring trends and can give you valuable, targeted advice about how to answer specific interview questions, dress for an in-person or online meeting, and negotiate for a decent entry-level pay rate.

Build Your Brand & Reputation

In addition to posting a virtual resume on sites like LinkedIn, create a website, assemble a portfolio, do a few guest blogs in your area of expertise, and clean up social media accounts.

It’s important to maintain a simple website that includes a full resume, a longer bio section, samples of relevant projects, and a list of the types of jobs you’re looking for.

It’s safe to assume that all interviewers will look up your name on major search engines. What are they searching for?

First, they prefer to see if your social media footprint contains unseemly content of any kind.

When they uncover a photo, comment, or anything else that might reflect poorly on the company, they’ll cross your name off their list. For that reason alone, it’s imperative to scour any controversial items from your socials.

However, candidates who create an extensive, professional LinkedIn profile have a built-in advantage in the hiring process.

Company reps also view your webpage and sift through any work samples posted there. Try to keep all personal data up to date and design a personal website that is both attractive and informative.

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