Given today’s job market and steep unemployment numbers, one has to think of ways to differentiate themselves from other job seekers. Let’s face it; the days of competing against only a handful of qualified candidates are far gone—you must stand out from the rest!
There exists many online opportunities. One is a government-run site, Michigan Talent Bank, which provides both job seekers and recruiters posting opportunities. An unemployed worker is able to post his/her resume and an employer is able to post any current jobs openings. So if you haven’t taken advantage of this free service, check it out.
Social websites, like Facebook and Twitter aren’t just ways to stay tight with your buddies, they also present an effective networking opportunity for job seekers. A wall posting or tweet may tell the world that you are actively searching for a job, but remember everyone can see it. And I mean everyone, so think about it.
Recently we’ve heard that many unemployed are just giving up on their job searches due to their optimism levels fading. Though this may be true, do not give up. There are opportunities out there! And to help you be more prepared, I want to offer you a few “Dos and Don’ts” while you continue to search.
As you prepare for your search, know that sending two resumes does not give you an added edge for consideration. What does make a difference is sending a follow up email to the company a couple of weeks later, stating your level of interest in the job and that you continue to be interested in working for that company. And be sure to state that you are available to speak about the position. This step always impresses me, it confirms to me that this individual is sincere in their interest in working for the company, and it also speaks to their level of commitment, and who doesn’t like someone who is committed?
Once you’ve made an impression with both your cover letter and resume, be ready for the interview and come prepared with a couple of solid, truthful and honest answers. Do not tell the interviewer what you think they want to hear, they hate canned answers. Interviewers like answers that are believable, and ones that reflect who you are and your personality. Be prepared to speak about a couple of difficult situations that you’ve encountered during your work experience. Be sure to explain different situations and how you handled them. And be prepared to talk about yourself. All interviewers want you to create a window to your personality, but some details should remain personal, so decide on what is TMI and what is not. Talking about yourself allows the interviewer a chance to see how prepared you are and how well-spoken you are. When you speak about yourself, it also provides the interviewer a chance to find out what you say actually matches your resume. Be sure to showcase yourself and not someone who you are not. And I admit, it’s tough to talk about yourself, unless of course you are a narcissistic (then it’s easy). But most people struggle with this part of the interview. Again, be truthful, honest and believable.
And for those of you who want to know of ways to ruin the chance of being called back for a second interview or hired, I thought I would throw in a few of those for you as well.
What not to do in an interview:
- Show up late for the interview (Lateness speaks to time management skills)
- Have a wet handshake (Hey, we all get nervous, but this is an immediate turnoff)
- Lie (For example: Don’t say that you’ve looked at the company’s website when in fact you did not)
- Smell like smoke (Hygiene is important)
- Keep your cell phone on (Having your attention elsewhere reflects how important you feel your interview is)
- Don’t ask questions (This shows that you are not prepared)
- Don’t look professional (It’s an interview, not a nightclub)
Just know that this short 45-minute face-to-face with an employer is your chance to describe who and what you can do. If you’re not prepared (and believe me it doesn’t take long for that to be apparent) it’s a waste of both the company’s time and your time.
So the next time you are invited in for an interview, get a good night’s rest and remember to take your multiple and be prepared.