50 Proven Job Search Tips for Serious Job Seekers
by Wes Weiler
In Interviewing, Job Seekers, Resume, Social Media
It’s a tough job market out there.
It’s not uncommon for hundreds of resumes to flood a company for just one position. This means that it’s a buyer’s market for employers and you’ll need to bring your A-Game to stand out from the crowd.
Every day we work with employers and recruiters to find and hire serious job seekers. One advantage for you is that we’ve been able to compile the best tips from top companies and recruiters.
Here are 50 of the top job search tips and strategies that we’ve uncovered:
1. Do Your Homework: Always research the organization prior to interviewing. Knowing some of the company’s successes and accolades, such as awards and charitable actions, shows that you have done your homework.
2. Have a Focused Plan: Create a list of companies that you will systematically contact. Prioritize companies that are a close match to your experience and skills.
3. Schedule Networking: Treat networking like a job. Fill your calendar with events and follow-up regularly.
4. Arrive 10 Minutes Before the Interview: Arriving early relieves the stress of possibly being late and demonstrates that you are responsible and dependable.
5. Professional Email: Don’t use your “party email” for follow-up. Get an email address that is simple and professional.
6. Get Business Cards: Make a point of asking for your contact’s business card. This will ensure that you have correct titles and spelling for follow-up.
7. Stay Updated: Set up Google Alerts for each of your top employment prospects. Review the latest news before your interview.
8. Practice Your Writing Skills: All professional positions require excellent writing skills. Take the time to upgrade yours.
9. Customize Your Resume: Take the extra step of customizing your resume to fit the industry. Simple, generic resumes fail to catch the eye of hiring managers.
10. Proofread 3x: Make sure that you do not have any grammatical errors on your resume.
11. Bring Copies of Your Resume: Don’t assume that everyone will have copies of your resume. Make sure you bring a few extra, “clean” copies with you.
12. Streamline Your List of Pertinent Experience: Older (seasoned) professionals should list approximately 15 years of relevant experience. This will streamline your resume and focus attention on your best experience.
13. Use Active Verbs: Strong active verb usage adds “punch and power” to your resume.
14. Be Careful with Acronyms and Jargon: Make sure that any acronyms are spelled out to avoid confusion. Try to eliminate jargon unless you are 100% sure your interviewer will understand the reference.
15. Send Your Resume in the Right File Format: Pay attention to the guidelines for sending in your resume. Failing to comply with file format standards can hurt your chances for an interview.
16. Make Your Resume More Reader-Friendly: Research shows that employers take from 2.5 to 20 seconds to scan a resume. Use bullet-points and bolded titles to make it easy for them to focus on the highlights.
17. Axe Weak “Responsibilities” Words from Your Resume: Delete phrases like “duties included,” “responsibilities included,” or “responsible for” from your resume. Your resume should communicate accomplishments, not your last job description.
18. Always Dress for Success: When in doubt, dress business conservative. Don’t take a chance “experimenting” with dress to show off your personality.
19. Make Eye Contact: Seek to make solid eye contact when answering questions. This simple gesture shows that you are confident and decisive.
20. Take Notes: This also shows preparation, organization, and respect for the interviewer. Always come prepared to take great notes.
21. Bring Questions to the Interview: Don’t be afraid to come in with a prepared list of questions.
22. Be Decisive: Know what you want and explain your expectations to your prospective employer.
23. Listen: The old proverb – you have 2 ears and one mouth – is dead on. Make sure you listen as much as you talk. You’ll be surprised by what you’ll learn by asking great questions and listening attentively.
24. Confront Your Weaknesses: Employers usually ask what your “weaknesses” are. Don’t be afraid to admit them and describe how you are working to improve.
25. Practice Makes Perfect: Ask a friend to play the role of an interviewer. Set-up a video to record how you answer questions. Review the video for ways to improve your body language and style.
26. Pronounce Your Interviewer’s Name Correctly: Before the interview, ask the receptionist/secretary to help you with difficult pronunciations. Correctly pronouncing your interviewer’s name will make you stand out from the crowd.
27. Show Interest in the Team: Include several questions about the team you will be joining. Get a clear picture of roles and ask if anyone internally is interviewing for the position.
28. Understand Why the Position Is Vacant: Politely probe why the last person left the position. This question demonstrates your thorough preparation and may uncover any red flags you should follow-up on.
29. Keep Standing: More people may be participating in your interview. Avoid awkward seat shuffling by waiting to be directed to your seat.
30. Ask About the Culture: Ask smart and probing questions about the culture and values of the company. This demonstrates that you care and desire to make a positive contribution.
After The Interview
31. Follow-up on Shaky Answers: Note questions that you didn’t have a good answer for in the interview. Follow-up with a clarified answer in your thank you note.
32. The Little Things Count: Always send a follow up email and handwritten note. You’ll be surprised by how many candidates overlook this step.
33. Thank You Notes: Thank you notes are a lost art. Pay extra attention to them and you’ll stand out from the crowd. Consider adding custom graphics to thank you emails or using personalized stationary for written notes.
34. Ask For the Job: Take the initiative. Remember that “fortune favors the bold.” If you feel that the interview went especially well, make it clear that you want to work there. You never know – you might get hired on the spot!
35. Treat the Job Search Process Like a Job: Schedule your day, set goals and objectives, and make a focused effort every weekday. Remember that the most persistent get hired.
36. Personality Wins: Always make sure to inject a certain balance of humor into your job interview. Your personality is equally important.
37. Sell Yourself: Don’t be shy about your accomplishments and achievements.
38. Stay Positive and Smile: Employers want positive and upbeat team players. Put your attitude on display with a smile and an optimistic outlook.
39. Make a Memorable Impression on Everyone: Shake hands and say thank you to everyone you meet, from the hiring manager to the receptionist.
40. Firm Handshake: You can’t go wrong with delivering a solid handshake. Remember – firm, not bone-crushing.
41. Think Win/Win: Remember that you must solve a problem for the employer to get the position. Know how your unique experience and skills benefits the employer.
- Stay Patient and Optimistic: The job market is tough right now. The most persistent and optimistic candidates have the best chances of landing a position.
Using Social Media
43. Start a Blog: Blogs are an excellent way to demonstrate your writing skills. Also, use the blog to talk about your hobbies and interests.
44. Clean Up Your Social Media Profiles: If you use Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter profiles, make sure you review them to make sure they are professional and ready for employer scrutiny.
45. Make Your Resume Shareable: Online resumes are a great way to demonstrate your technical prowess. Go ahead and include a Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook button to make your resume easy to share.
46. Create a Professional List on Facebook: Set up a specific list of professional contacts to help keep your job search separate from your personal account profiles. This isn’t fool-proof but it will help.
47. Use LinkedIn Groups for Networking: Search LinkedIn for relevant professional groups. Get involved and contribute to the group before you start actively networking for job opportunities.
48. Be Proactive on Twitter: Follow the Twitter streams of prospective employers. Many companies also maintain career-specific accounts that could give you advance notice of great opportunities.
49. Create a Video Resume and Upload It to YouTube: A video resume is simply a 5-6 minute video of you discussing your past positions and accomplishments. This is an excellent way to stand out if you feel comfortable on camera.
- Focus on LinkedIn: LinkedIn is the #1 resource for job seekers and employers.
Spending time mastering this tool is well worth the investment. A simple search for “LinkedIn Tips” will deliver a wealth of excellent information. △