Whether you are fresh out of college, looking for a career change, taking it to the next level or simply searching for a better fit, finding a great job can be tricky. To simplify the process, we’ve compiled a list of handy tips that will help lead you to a fantastic new work experience.
1. Set Immediate & Long-Term Goals
Obviously one of your immediate goals is to find employment, but what do you hope to achieve in six months? One year? Five years? Setting career and personal goals can be a great way to get focused before you begin a job search and a great way to find job options that truly fit your needs and goals.
2. Identify What You Want
Think about the type of work environment you want. Some people thrive in big corporation, while others prefer working at a smaller company. Some people thrive in a high-stakes, fast-paced environment, while others prefer a more laid-back setting. If you’ll be spending 40+ hours each week on the job, it’s crucial that you try to find an environment that fits your personality as much as possible.
3. Identify Special Needs
Some companies are more flexible than others. For instance, some companies allow you to stagger your hours, coming in from 7 to 3 instead of the traditional 9 to 5. Some companies allow you to work from home some or part of the time. Other companies might be open to job-sharing or working part time provided you meet set goals. If you need a level of flexibility beyond the traditional 9 to 5 workweek, it’s important to be clear about that, both to yourself as well as potential employers.
4. Research Companies
It’s not smart to simply send out resumes to dozens of companies without taking a look at the company mission and culture. Before you send a resume out, learn a little bit about the company needs and what they do and what they expect from employees. This helps you select companies that are a better fit for your skills and personality, as well as helping you answer and ask questions more thoughtfully during the interview process.
Learn To Network
5. Build Up Your Contacts
There are many available jobs out there, but they aren’t always posted online. Sometimes companies prefer to use recruiters to search for suitable applicants, and sometimes companies are just in the beginning stages of hiring and have yet to post, but truly do need a solid new employee.
If you have an extensive network of business contacts, this can make it easier to discover jobs that might not be posted. For instance, you might be talking about your job hunt with one contact who knows someone who is searching for a new employee. Your contact might be able to provide you with the name of the hiring manager or even contact their friend and recommend you for a position. The larger your circle of contacts, the easier it can be to find an amazing new job.
6. Set Up A LinkedIn Account
LinkedIn is a free service, and hiring managers and recruiters use it every day to find job candidates. If you aren’t using it at all or failing to use it to your advantage, you may be missing out on many opportunities. Resume writings services companies sometimes offer LinkedIn profile writing, and we highly recommend that you opt for this service to ensure that your LinkedIn profile looks dynamic and professional.
7. Get Your Group On
Join business or social groups can be a great way to build up your contact list. There are meetups for people from all sorts of industries, where you can get together and be social and make contacts. A word of caution – don’t be pushy in these situations. The building of contacts is a side benefit of meetups, and not usually the focus. The focus tends to be on gaining knowledge and sharing knowledge. Be sure that you bring something to the table when you join these groups.
The Social Media Dilemma
8. Be Mindful
If you think employers don’t stalk you on social media, you are quite mistaken. These days, almost all employers will Google your name and check out sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to get a sense of your personality. If your profile is filled with profanity, inappropriate pictures and other red flags, this absolutely can cost you a job. This might seem unfair, but employers aren’t just hiring you for your skills. They also need a person that will mesh well with other employees.
Likewise if your posts are indiscreet, this can be a huge turnoff to potential employers. Social media is not the place to air your dirty laundry about your family and other personal relationships. If your posts are whiny and constantly negative, this also is a bad sign. This type of personality can truly bring down the morale of an office, so if you keep it public, keep it fairly positive.
9. Tighten Security
One of the easiest ways to avoid social media issues is to simply tighten up your security settings so that very few people can see your posts. If your posts are not the problem, but some of your friends are, tighten settings so that people cannot tag you or post on your wall without your permission. If a hiring manager sees that you have tight security settings, this sends a signal that you are discreet and responsible about the image you present to the world.
10. Use Social Media To Your Advantage
Of course, social media isn’t just a tool for evil; it also can be a great resource. Your social media posts can showcase your positive aspects, such as your positive approach to life or perhaps your commitment to volunteerism. You also can use social media to link back to your blog and spread industry knowledge or share something helpful. Hiring managers can be swayed into calling you in for an interview if you have a great social media presence just as they can be dissuaded if your presence is negative.
Enter The Resume
11. Resume Writing Services Can Help
We’ve made it to Tip 11 without even mentioning your resume, because you need to think about 1-10 before you even make it to the resume stage. Once you get there, it can be smart to hire a professional service to create this document as this can ensure that your resume is error-free, correctly formatted and with grab the eye of a hiring manager.
12. Hiring A Pro Is Not Enough
Hiring a professional is important, but in many cases, you will need to make adjustments to some of the resumes that you send out. For instance, you might want to omit a skill or add a skill depending on the job posting. You will need to update your cover letter and customize it to include the name of the hiring manager, and possibly change a few lines here and there to better fit the job posting.
13. Keep Things Consistent
If you decide not to use resume writing services and create your own resume, be sure that you keep the style and format consistent throughout your resume. Use the same fonts and typefaces for each section and list your work experience and education in reverse chronological order. Your resume should be crisp, clean and easy-to-read, and, typically, one page in length.
14. Consider Applicant-Tracking Software
These days, it can be smart to have two resumes although the actual content will be about the same. While a hiring manger appreciate a bit of artistry in the style of your resume, applicant-tracking software only understands very basic formatting and language. If you have a clever design, save this as the resume you present directly to a hiring manager.
If you email or upload a resume, this need to feature a plain design and include specific keywords, typically words you’ll find in the job description. This includes skills and certifications you need, as well as work experiences and educational levels. Software does not understand words such as “guru” or “expert.” Do not call yourself an IT guru if a job posting says “IT Manager.” The software is designed only to search for words such as “IT” and “Manager,” not something clever or quirky.
Before The Interview
15. Update Your Look
These days, many offices have a laid-back vibe, at least as far as apparel goes. That said, this vibe does not extend to the interview process. Even if the hiring manager is wearing jeans and a t-shirt, you should still be dressed in business apparel. Get your hair trimmed and wear freshly-pressed clothing. This simply shows that you take yourself and the interview seriously, and that you want to make a good first impression.
16. Set Your Alarm
A single spelling error on a resume can kill your chances of gaining an interview. Likewise, showing up late to interview also can kill your chances of attaining a job. It’s best to get there super early and perhaps wait in a nearby coffee shop than to be even two minutes late. Show up five minutes early in professional attire and bring along a briefcase with a pad of paper, a pen and copies of your resume.
17. Practice Your Interview Skills
Ask a friend or family member to act as the hiring manager and have them ask you some typical interview questions. If you have some problem areas, perhaps you were fired from your last position, you should devote extra time to explaining these issues in the most positive way possible.
18. Write Some Questions
Hiring managers like it when you show some interest and ask some questions. Research the company so that you can ask thoughtful questions. You can ask about expectations and responsibilities, but the first interview is not the time to ask about salary and benefits, that comes later down the line.
During The Interview
19. Turn Off Your Phone
Don’t leave it on vibrate. Don’t just silence it. Turn it off or leave it in your car. Enough said.
20. Listen & Take Notes
When the hiring manager speaks, be sure to listen. Sometimes we get nervous and just work in auto mode and don’t really interact. If you ask a question, listen to the answer and take some notes so that you can ask follow up questions or just gain a deeper understanding about the job position at hand.
21. Make Eye Contact & Sit Up
Sit up straight and look the hiring manager in the eyes from time to time. You don’t want to simply stare at them the whole time, but you also don’t want to stare at the floor or your notepad. This can be a great aspect to practice when you are going through general interview practice sessions with a friend or family member.
After The Interview
22. Send A Thank-You Note
As you leave an interview, it’s obvious that you will want to thank the hiring manager for their time. However, it’s smart to follow up with a thoughtful email or handwritten note, again expressing your thanks and reminding them that you are happy to answer further questions at any time.