Job Search Techniques
I work as an account manager for a local staffing agency, Randstad Staffing. Every day I review resumes and interview people who make easily fixable errors that could be costing them the job of their dreams!
Job Search Tips
Resumes, Keep It Simple Stupid, or say the saying goes, right? Keep your resume to one or two pages max, make sure it’s visually appealing and easy to read. If you have held very specialized or technical positions, be sure to write what you did in laymen terms…like you were explaining what you did to an acquaintance in a few short sentences. Be sure to include major accomplishments, not just what you did on a daily basis. Make your bullets measurable, if you increased sale…include by what percentage, etc.
- Be PROACTIVE! We are in a job-seekers market right now with an unemployment rate of 4.6%! So take advantage of the ball being in your court by tooting your horn and advocating for yourself. Keep your resume up-to-date and posted on major sites so you don’t get passed up for your dream job just because you haven’t decided to start actively looking yet. Those passive candidates are the most highly sought after right now, so make sure you’re one of them.
- While interviewing…dress for success, obviously. Make sure you prepare ahead of time, research your company a little bit, you never know when one of your questions will be…Tell me what you know about our company/industry. Prepare questions for your interviewer that show you’re engaged and invested in the future of the company. Research some behavioral-based questions that typically start with “Tell me about a time when…” There is an important structure to successfully answering these: 1) set up the ‘story’ you’re going to tell them 2) outline what your specific actions were, avoid say “we” and 3) highlight the results that came for your actions, make these measurable! Results are the most important part of the answer because it shows your work ethic and what drives you. Be specific, and don’t say things like “Oh, I always do that” if they ask you about at time you went above and beyond. If you can’t tell your interviewer even one time, they will assume you never do it. And NEVER say you don’t have a weakness, that’s just a lie, everyone does. Pick a soft skill and focus on what you’ve been doing to improve on it so you leave the negatively-framed question no a positive note.
- Sell yourself! No one else will do it for you. This is the biggest pit fall I’ve seen in qualified candidates lately whether it be in his or her interview or resume. Only you can highlight the skill sets you have, so this is one time it’s okay to brag and talk yourself up. If you don’t, you could lose out to the person who wasn’t afraid to.
- While searching for jobs, think outside of the box and make sure you network! Post a little something on your social media sites about what you’re looking for. You will probably be surprised how many responses you will get. Make sure you think through what your Must-Have’s and Like-to-Have’s are in your next position, let them be known so you don’t end up settling. Use free resources like staffing agencies, career development centers, your peers in YPC to get a leg up on the competition and expand your efforts. Don’t be afraid to negotiate salary, benefits, etc. when you finally get that job offer. Most of the time you can get started a little further ahead, and the worst they can do is say no.
Now that you have a little job search inspiration, there’s no more time to waste: go forth and conquer! Des Moines really is your oyster, it’s one of the best places in the world to be a young professional job searching right now. Good luck, and happy hunting!