In a tough job market, it’s more important than ever to put yourself forward in the best possible light and stand out in the crowd. One of the easiest ways to do that is to take everything you thought you knew about finding a job — and do the opposite.
If everyone else is following the old rules, by creating new ones, you can get yourself noticed by potential employers. And that’s a crucial first step in getting hired: getting noticed!
- Forget the old rules of writing a resume. We’ve been taught to write resumes as if they were dry government documents. Don’t be so impersonal! In fact, be very personal — ignore the rule about never using “I” in a resume. How else can you talk about yourself and keep it interesting? Your resume has to make it clear what you’re about, so make it as much about You as you can. Ditch trite phrases like “results-oriented professional” and “strong work ethic” for punchier prose like, “I defined, built and successfully launched three new products that raised revenue growth by 30 percent.”
- Promote your job hunt on LinkedIn (or other social networks.) Yes, LinkedIn is where you want to look as professional as possible…and right now you are a professional job-seeker. If you are on LinkedIn (and you should be), include something in your “headline,” the line just under your name, to tell employers and your contacts that you’re looking for a new position. A headline like “Experienced Product Leader Seeking Next Challenge” prompts people to contact you if they’ve got a job opening. Easy, free marketing for you!
- Ignore the HR person at your targeted company. People used to think that directly contacting the HR person at a company put you ahead of the game. Wrong! Most HR people are not screening resumes to find candidates, they’re screening them to rule candidates out. Furthermore, many HR people don’t have a clear understanding of the position you’re applying for – that’s the hiring manager’s job. Focus your efforts on finding the hiring manager in the company, either through your network, your LinkedIn connections, or by researching this person and contacting him or her directly.
- Apply for jobs that look less than perfect on paper. Some job seekers are afraid to apply for a job if they don’t possess every qualification listed in the posting. But it’s nearly impossible to write a flawless job requisition that will bring in the perfect candidate. If you have the background to do a job, apply for it. Selling yourself to an employer begins with recognizing what that employer needs – which may involve reading between the lines – and then explaining how you’re the person who will best meet those needs.
- Keep your mouth closed and your ears open during an interview. Don’t talk too much. Why? Aren’t you supposed to be selling yourself? When you’re talking, you’re not learning. Your goal at this point is to learn as much as possible about the needs behind the job posting. The more you learn, the smarter and more targeted your interview responses can be. And you won’t know what “perfect for the job” means to the interviewer unless you ask thoughtful questions and get the interviewer talking.
Still feeling unsure? Let Peoplelink give you a boost. Our experienced staffing specialists will learn about your skills, interests, experience and needs – and help you master the art of self-promotion and find the perfect employment opportunity.