Job hunting for a new position can be like a full-time job if done right. It’s also fraught with potential pitfalls. It’s easy to make a misstep, which can impact the future of your career. The world is now digital, and everything about you is available to employers, including your social media presence and prior resumes. Tips and techniques that are true for a normal job market need to become laser-focused in the current job market where there is more competition for jobs than normal.
1. Keep It Professional
- Email Address: Your email address should not detract from who you are professionally. There should be no double-entendre and nothing cute or silly. Like domain names, emails can sometimes be misinterpreted. Ask for someone else’s opinion if there is any doubt. If your personal email is not up to par for a job search, set up a new one just for the job search, as long as you are able to check it regularly – forgetting you have it would not be a good thing! Set it up as an account in your usual mail app, and when you reply, be sure to reply from the correct email address. If your name or some form of it with dots or dashes or numbers is not available, add your title, the position you want, or your industry or skill. Check your email regularly and respond quickly – at every stage in the process and from everyone with whom you are working, including recruiters (especially recruiters – LOL!).
- Cell Phone: Set up your voicemail box and keep it empty. It’s shocking how many candidates looking for a job either don’t have their mailbox set up, or it’s full, and a message can’t be left. Your outgoing message will be heard by your future employer. Speak slowly, clearly, and identify yourself with your full name.
[New Tech: GoDaddy offers a service, called SmartLine, that allows users to choose a second number to receive calls from on their cell phone. The number is identified so you can answer professionally, and it has its own voicemail.]
- Social Media: Employers will check your social media presence to get a better feel for who you are, as well as a sneak peek of who they are meeting for an interview. There’s nothing wrong with being political, religious, or flirty, but take a look from an employer’s perspective and lock off any media that is not appropriate to share. You can make your pages accessible to friends/connections and not the general public. You can also lock off aspects of your account, like photos.
- LinkedIn: LI is social media, but it’s also a professional resource. Use it as such. Make sure your profile is thorough and complete. LI will walk you through completing your posting – there is no excuse for not having a complete profile. This is as important as your resume – proof and edit carefully. Have others proof, as well. Include a current photo that looks professional and flattering – it doesn’t have to be stodgy – it can and should show your personality, but give it thought. Your employment history absolutely MUST match reality, which is to say, your resume – dates, titles, EVERYTHING. If employment chronology differs from your resume, you are seen as sloppy and unreliable, at best, and untrustworthy and a liar at worst.
2. Resumes Are Forever
- Now that resumes are digital and everywhere, they must be accurate and consistent – as referenced above for LinkedIn.
3. Keep Track
- Applying twice to the same company makes you look bad. Employers use online systems to track their applicants/candidates. If you apply thru their website, you are in their system. If you have an opportunity to apply through an internal or third-party recruiter, let them/us know you applied directly. This won’t necessarily be a problem, but it must be disclosed, or you’ll look bad (your recruiter will look bad too and will blame you).
- Keep a list of applications with dates and sources, such as company website, Indeed ad, ZipRecruiter ad, recruiter, etc. When emailing, copy yourself (CC or BCC) so that you know you remembered to attach your resume and to document where you sent it.
4. Prove Your Worth by Getting It Right
- Whether you are worth $50,000 a year, $100,000, or more, your resume and every aspect of your presentation and image should reinforce your value, rather than detract from it.
- Do your homework on the company, the interviewer, etc. Be a fan of the company thru research and visits, as appropriate. Goodwin helps with this.
- Learn how to interview via all media, including webcam. Goodwin helps with this, too.
- Consider an application as a step in the interview process. Be thorough and don’t take short cuts, such as “see resume.”
- Resign professionally. Goodwin helps with this.
- Start the job right. Goodwin helps with this, too!
Assessments are often used by companies in the interview process to predict a candidate’s suitability for a position. Assessments are usually about fit rather than right or wrong. Remembering that the interview process is to help both sides evaluate fit, it’s best to approach an assessment with the attitude that if you don’t have the traits the employer wants, it’s better to know as early in the process as possible. Here is an excellent resource that allows you to take a variety of sample tests, including Jung Personality and DISC personality tests, the latter of which is commonly used.
- Don’t second guess to try to figure out the answer the employer wants – be true to yourself and answer from the heart or gut.
- The purpose of timed sections is to get as many correct as possible, so don’t waste time on questions that are difficult; instead, get through this section quickly, answering all questions in which you are confident, then go back and work on the tougher ones.
- Prepare a typed copy of your references. These must be professional references who have agreed to be a reference resource for you, and you should have a minimum of three. Provide the name, position, company, and phone number of each reference. Take the document with you on interviews rather than attaching it to your submitted resume, so you have control as follows.
- Inform your references that you are using their names as references and prepare them for phone calls verifying your employment.
- Either add your references to your resume or don’t. Do not say, “References Available Upon Request.” The employer doesn’t care. If they want references, they’ll ask for them, and if they don’t, they won’t. Leaving references off your resume but providing them separately at the interview will limit reference checks to active interviewers and shows that you are proactive. The additional benefit is that it keeps your resume shorter.
7. Exhaust Every Resource
- Online Job Search: Search & post your resume to online job boards just as LinkedIn, ZipRecruiter, Indeed, Monster, CareerBuilder, etc. – do not post your resume to job boards if your search is extremely confidential – your employer is likely to see it or be told about it. They use the same job boards to find candidates that you use to post your resume. If confidential, you need to proactively apply to jobs of interest rather than randomly posting your resume. Exclusively using a recruiter, like Goodwin Recruiting, is the best strategy for a confidential search.
- Network: take advantage of who you know and fully participate in LinkedIn.
- Professional Recruiters: My colleague, Simon de Swaan, recently wrote an excellent blog on this subject. Find one you trust and that has a good reputation and online presence like Goodwin Recruiting. Check the recruiter’s LinkedIn profile – they’ll check yours. You should be interviewing us as much as we are interviewing you. Remember that we are representing you to an employer – choose quality, like Goodwin Recruiting. A recruiter should not submit you to an employer without your explicit permission and approval of the compensation range. You need to discontinue the conversation and move on if you don’t feel you’ll be well-represented.
- General Online Resources:
With over 20 years of experience in recruiting, and recognized as one of Forbes America’s Best Recruiting Firms 2020, Goodwin has coached countless candidates to great jobs through transparent communication and by helping them to be the best.