Advice for Job Seekers from a Professional Recruiter
By Gabe Evans
Because of my position within a staffing firm, family and friends always come to me for advice on how to get a new job for themselves or someone they know. I love being able to help individuals find new jobs, but these tips aren’t some magical secret hidden in dark corners of the HR world. Any job seeker can use these simple steps, no matter your experience level.
1. Make your resume worth reading. Your resume is all recruiters and hiring manager have to judge you by until someone brings you in for a face to face interview, so take the time to make it worth reading. I want to see what true skills you have, what you are actually doing at your current position (or your past jobs), and what software, tools, equipment, machinery, etc. you are using. Instead of copying and pasting the old job description that you applied for before you got that position, take some time and consideration to what your actual job duties are (or were). I recommend making this list in a bullet point fashion, as it is easier for a hiring manger to read and cuts straight to the point. Finally, proof read every word 3 times on your resume. Misspelling of words, software, and even equipment makes me assume you are already lying to me on paper.
2. Post your resume on every job board you can find, but make sure to refresh weekly. Posting your resume on boards like Monster, CareerBuilder or Dice is a great way to have companies and recruiters you may not even know about see your resume. Job board databases will hold every resume placed on it until the user decides to delete it. Recruiters know this. When we are searching for a particular skill set or job title in a certain area, and don’t have the time to look through every resume ever posted on the board, we narrow our searches down to the most recent resumes. Typically, I began by searching resumes posted in the last 90 days and go from there. If you haven’t refreshed your resume within that time frame and still need a job, I may never find you, EVEN IF you have every requirement I am looking for. The fix is simple. Take 5 minutes of one day each week and refresh your resume on these boards. Your user profile should have that option located in clear view to make it extremely easy to do.
3. Apply to jobs you are qualified for. Many job seekers think just because their resumes are posted online they will be contacted by the right people. False. If you are really looking for the next opportunity, actively search job boards for new positions listed. Newspapers are another good place to find local companies hiring. When you find something you are truly interested in and qualified for, (not just think would be fun to do) apply to the position. If there is a name and number, call and follow up with your application. When you apply online your resume is sent into some type of resume receiving and tracking system. It may take someone from that company a week (or more) to get to your resume. By calling and following up with your application you have the chance to not only talk to a real person, but show you are truly interested in the opportunity.
4. If you get asked to interview, do your research on the company. It drives me crazy to hear of someone going into an interview without knowing enough about the position or the company they are interviewing for. I hear hiring managers complain about this all the time. Take 30 minutes to look at the company website, get to know their product, customers, and anything else you can find out. Even if the interview is “a casual meet and greet over coffee” don’t be caught not knowing. An in-depth study of the company may be overboard, but knowing the basics can go a long way in getting you a second interview. Also, come with questions to the interview. If an interviewer has talked for 30 minutes and you don’t have follow-up questions, a red flag will go up immediately.
5. Dress for Success. It is that simply. Dress like you want to be successful. Sure, some jobs allow T-shirts and jeans, but unless the hiring manager or recruiter tells you to dress otherwise, a coat and tie is always impressive. Being over-dressed is OK, but coming in and standing out for the wrong reasons will automatically place an X on your name.
6. Follow up after the interview, send a Thank You note. Ask with whom you can touch base with in a few days. Let the hiring manager and company know that you are very interested in the position and the company. Get business cards and names of everyone you speak with. Don’t expect them to do all the work. You may be in a 3-way tie with two other extremely qualified candidates, but sending your thank you note or email to express your interest it could quickly raise you to the top of the list.
7. Look For Contract Jobs. Sometimes it is easier to find a job that is hiring on a contract basis. This can be a great opportunity that may grow into something bigger. Don’t be afraid to take contract jobs, especially if you have been looking for a while. I know there is a scary aspect to contract positions because you fear it will end and you will be left job hunting again. While it’s a possibility, companies typically do everything in the power to not let go of a good contract worker unless they have to. I could tell countless stories of CAD Drafters and Software Developers that went to work a 3 month contract and stayed for 3 times as long. Many have even been asked to join the company full time! The trick is to treat the position just like it is full time. Give the company your all. Don’t spend half the day working and the other have looking for a new job because you think the contract is going to end. If you have a good thing going for you, show your value, and take responsibility to keep it going! I tell my contractors to “make it impossible for them to let you go. Be the absolute best employee they have, regardless of status. “
I hope this information is helpful. When these tips are put to correct use I have seen individuals find new opportunities extremely fast. Even those that have been searching for 6+ months have been able to apply these and find a new opportunity within the next month. Keep your head up and don’t be afraid to ask for help. M Force is here to help in any way possible. Matching the best talent to the best companies is not only our job, it’s our passion.
Chattanooga Account Manager