Practical Job Search Tactics That Work

Practical Job Search Tactics That Work

Blaming self?

In today’s business world, a college degree does not automatically lead to a great job the way it typically did in the past. Today, in addition to that college degree, one has to learn how to find a job—and be good at it. This additional challenge represents a significant barrier to some job seekers and especially to more-mature people who have a hard time keeping up with fast-developing technology that requires new skills. So, following are a few tips regarding both what to do and how to do it.

Online and in-person networking

Beyond LinkedIn, recruiters use Twitter, Facebook, and other social media to find, select, and qualify talent. Those new tools—which over 10 years ago were either nonexistent or in their infancy stage—are absolutely essential for today’s job seekers to be familiar with. A job seeker who does not show up on recruiters’ screens is simply ignored. This is a huge punishment for those who need a job. To be found and deemed qualified, candidates must learn how to use social media—and then use it extensively—beyond the three mentioned here. Social media are not only the venues for finding jobs but also tools that establish a positive reputation and credibility. Just remember that there are many, many applicants for just a few openings.

In-person networking supplements other social media networking. In-person networking should be considered a business transaction and not just social interaction the way many job seekers practice it. When networking in person, ask for opinions, introductions, and referrals. Don’t be bashful; be slightly aggressive but still tactful. Most people are willing to help if asked.

Tools for job seekers

Because technology has changed the job search system for both employers and job seekers, the latter group needs to quickly catch up. Employers use technology to source for talent. The majority of medium-size companies use some type of recruiting management system. Companies were forced into using such systems so they could become able to deal with larger and larger volumes of applicants, so they could save money, and so they could speed up the process. Most of the different kinds of applicant-tracking systems (ATSs) have become Web based, which extends access to the system by anyone in the organization who’s involved with the hiring process. This means that job seekers need to appeal to those people in the organization and not exclusively to human resources as in the past.

Regardless of which system recruiters use, job seekers need to improve their ranking in order to be found. Think about a Google search. Here are a few tips for improving ranking:

  • Use TagCrowd.com to visually match your résumé and the job description.
  • Match your résumé to the keywords used in the job description.
  • Use Microsoft Word to format your résumé, and avoid textboxes, tables, and graphics.
  • Under the heading PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE, list first the name of the company where you most recently worked; then, to the right of that, the dates of your tenure there; and then under the company name, the name of the position you held. Add a line or two of responsibilities or job duties, and then a bulleted list of a few specific and preferably quantifiable accomplishments. Then do the same for the job previous to that one.

The new ATSs incorporate social media tool functionality to reach passive candidates, to advertise job opportunities, and to build talent communities for specific industries. Therefore, to generate multiple options for themselves, job seekers must at all times deploy diverse approaches to job seeking. Candidates need to learn how various ATSs work in order to get high enough scores to be found by a particular company’s system. A description of familiarizing oneself with the systems is vaster than can be accomplished here and will be the topic of one of my future articles.

Five Tips to Improve Your Job Interview Skills

Five Tips to Improve Your Job Interview Skills

Final decisions are made during the interview

I remember going for job interviews and how scared I was. Isn’t everybody? But it can be minimized significantly once you get yourself prepared. Here are a few tips.

Learn about the company

By spending time to learn about the company, you’ll gain self-confidence. Spending a few minutes on the company’s Web site is just the tip of the iceberg. The interviewer is going to be utterly impressed if you can demonstrate in-depth acquaintanceship with the company. Details and facts about your potentially future employers are of utmost importance. You should know the company’s sales, number of employees, various divisions, locations, stock price, key leaders’ names, and other minutiae that you were able to read about. Learn about the interviewer, too, and the interviewer’s team. The devil is in the details. Use LinkedIn for your research. Find out where these people worked before. Impress them with your knowledge.

Offer your knowledge to help

Now that you know about them and their needs, find opportunities to offer your skills as they involve your ability to assist them in their crucial areas. After all, this is exactly what they’re searching for. Hiring managers don’t want people who need a long period of training. Can you help them shortly after being hired? Say so, and talk about it via examples from your past.

Develop a dialogue by asking relevant questions

Prepare a few questions to which you already have the answers. Demonstrate your knowledge and ability to deliver on your commitments. Show via your questions that you’d be a good fit for this position. Detail both your past experience by being a part of a team and your personal contributions.

Differentiate yourself from your competition

All candidates interviewing for the same position have been picked from a large pool of applicants because they seem promising. The interviewer and the interviewing team will have a difficult time distinguishing between all of them. Assume that there are five applicants and an hourlong interview with each. This is a lot of information to absorb, digest, and declare one winner unless there’s something special to remember. Think of a clever way to catapult yourself forward and leave your competition behind by being different and memorable.

Connect with those you interview with

This is basic, but unless you seem likable, the interviewers will not vote for you to be hired. Skills and accomplishments are important, but if you appear less than amiable, your chances are slim. What does it take to appear friendly, you ask? Make eye contact, smile a lot, show enthusiasm, sit forward in your chair, and call the interviewer by name.

How to Make the First Impression in an Interview

How to Make the First Impression in an Interview

Photo credit to: Antonio Guilem123rf 591

“Nobody impresses me for the first sixty days on the job.” This was a saying that all of those working with me in the corporate world would hear me say over and over. I wanted to express that there’s a difference between the impressions a job seeker leaves initially—even as early as during the interview—and the impression an employee makes afterward for the duration. I have proved that particular opinion to be correct many times over: people who had made a great impression during the interview not in all cases demonstrated those great qualities and extensive knowledge some months after being hired and on the job.

But let’s first agree on the purpose of the interview. No, it is not to get the job. It is to get a job offer. And once the offer was committed to paper and received by the candidate, the latter must perform due diligence, evaluate the offer, negotiate if appropriate and possible, and then make a final decision. However, to get that coveted letter that starts with the word Congratulations, one needs to convince the hiring team that one is the ideal candidate.

Don’t underestimate the importance of the first impression

We’ve all heard the saying that the first impression is a lasting impression. And it’s true. Interview guru Lou Adler performed an otherwise admittedly less-than-scientific study via a survey. The result was that more than 80 percent of people like a person they meet for the first time. And this is applicable also in an interview situation. A further question asked about the importance of that first impression; in Adler’s study example, it was a salesperson. Of the respondents, 85 percent indicated that the first impression is highly important. Now, I don’t think there’s anything new or surprising about those numbers, but they do support the general tenet of the importance of the first impression.

The first impression can be nearly impossible to reverse. The impression made during a first encounter is extremely important, simply because it sets the scene for all future interactions.

Remember the importance of the smile!

“Smile and the world smiles too,” as the adage goes. There’s nothing like a smile to create a good first impression. A pleasant and confident smile puts both parties at ease. So, smiling is always a winner when it comes to making a great first impression.

Project confidence

Body language as well as appearance speaks much louder than words. Use your body language to project self-assurance. Stand tall, make eye contact, and greet with a firm handshake. Good manners together with polite, attentive, and enthusiastic behavior help make a good first impression.  When decision making comes, people will forget all the words you said but will remember the image you created.