by Alexandra Janvey, Head Editor, INALJ Iowa
3 Job Search Lessons from Baking
The first step to baking like a professional is being well organized. Things run much smoother and faster when all the ingredients and equipment you need are laid out on the kitchen counter before you even start to bake. Ensuring you have all the ingredients is especially important if a recipe is particularly time sensitive. There is nothing more frustrating than being halfway through a recipe and discovering there isn’t enough flour to finish.
The key to an effective and efficient job search also involves being well organized. Just like baking, there is a lot to keep track of when searching for a job. Times are tough, and finding employment can take time. A person could wind up applying for hundreds of jobs before finally finding employment. The amount of data that job seekers collect during this time can quickly accumulate into an overwhelming amount. There is so much information thrown at you that it would be easy to miss follow-up opportunities or to lose track of crucial information needed later on for an interview. That’s why being organized and keeping track of the different customized resumes and cover letters that you send is helpful. It allows you to keep a detailed record of all the jobs you apply for, track your advancement in the hiring process, schedule follow-up reminders, and makes all the different versions of your job applications easily accessible. It’s good to have this information to refresh your memory, especially in cases where there is a large gap of time between applying and getting called in for an interview. Being able to refer back to the specific resume and cover letter you applied to the job can help you prepare for an interview and make a better first impression.
The most valuable skill that baking has taught me is, without a doubt, – patience. Without even realizing it, baking has helped me develop my ability to be patient, which is something I sorely lacked. Not only is it an essential skill to have in everyday life, but is also useful when it comes to the job hunt.
The toughest part of both baking and job searching is being patient. Patience doesn’t come easily to many people and while our first instinct is to get things done as fast possible, that isn’t always the best course of action. This is certainly the case with baking, as it is important to take the time to do things properly for the best results. For example, in order for ingredients to better mix with one another, they should all be at room temperature before beginning. This means taking ingredients out of the fridge and waiting until they all reach the desired a temperature. There are often specific instructions to follow regarding the order and way that ingredients are mixed together. These kinds of instructions are critical to follow because they result in the best combination of ingredients and their respective flavors. There really is no rushing through baking, and taking time to follow the directions of a recipe will make a difference in the taste of the finished product.
Being patient is also important during job searching. Finding a job is currently very difficult and it’s not unusual for it to take months or even longer to get hired. But, just like baking, sometimes the best jobs are worth waiting for. It will help you remain a healthier and happier person during this long and difficult period, as well as result in better decision making. You have to be patient to be able to assess the situation, weighing the pros and cons of any job or career move.
Attention to Detail
Attention to detail is a quality all good bakers must possess because it is part art and part science. Measurements matter, small changes in a recipe or forgetting an ingredient altogether can result in significant changes in the final result. The difference between a tablespoon and a teaspoon of an ingredient can change the taste, and not adding the correct amount of flour can prevent bread from rising correctly. The amount of time that baked goods spend in the oven also matters and sometimes even five minutes can make a huge difference between cookies that are soft and cookies that are hard as rocks. These are just some of the reasons it’s so important to pay attention to even the smallest details when baking.
Paying attention to detail is also essential to various aspects of searching for a job, such as writing good cover letters and resumes, and interviewing well. There is a lot of paperwork and small details that need to be taken care of if you are going to be successful. You don’t want to miss or overlook anything. Employers want to see that a job applicant can follow directions and understand the position they are applying for, as well as what is being asked of them. The true test of a well-written cover letter is if it relates relevant experience and skills to the position they are applying for. Attention to detail also comes into play when you are trying to show interest and enthusiasm for a certain organization. It’s important to learn some things about the organization you are going to interview with and let that knowledge shows through during the interview.