Job Search Tips

Everyone can benefit from a few job search tips because job hunting has never been an easy task. It takes organization, the commitment to hunt down leads every day and the fortitude to continue the search even after you’ve been rejected. When you secure an appointment for an interview, be sure to show up early, dress and act professionally and come prepared with transcripts and any other documents a potential employer might want. But before you can get to the interview stage you have to find and apply for job openings.

Look for the Invisible

Nearly 75 percent of available jobs are never advertised according to the United States Probation Agency. These “invisible” jobs can’t be found on the Internet, the job board at the unemployment office or in print classifieds. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t post your résumé online or regularly scan the usual sources; obviously people do find employment through these resources. But remember, if you found these openings easily, many other people have too. The best way to find a job is through effective networking. Talk to your friends, family, former employers and coworkers. Join social media groups, professional organizations and visit the career planning offices on local campuses in your search for a job.

Effective networking doesn’t mean alienating everyone you know by constantly asking them about employment opportunities; instead, build a reputation as an expert in your field without exaggerating your expertise. Once a network of professionals has come to trust your reputation, the opportunities will be coming to you.

Prepare Your Résumé

In a tight job market there’s more competition for every open position. A well-prepared résumé helps you stand out from the crowd and can make the difference in getting an interview or not. When it is time to put your negotiation skills to work, a strong résumé puts you in a better position to receive the pay level you deserve.

Customize your résumé for each potential employer. Read the job description thoroughly and highlight your skills and achievements that best match those needed for the job. List the most relevant information first. The best résumés don’t follow a “one-size-fits-all” format. If the job description stresses that only candidates with a BA in history will be accepted, place your education at the top. If work experience is the most important factor, begin by highlighting your pertinent experience. Be Internet savvy. When posting your résumé on the Web, include keywords that correspond to the type of job you’re looking for. When recruiters search an employment database for “salesman,” only those résumés that contain words like “sales, salesman, salesperson and salesmanship” will come up. When emailing a résumé, be sure it’s in a format that’s compatible with the employer’s technology. A MicrosoftWord.doc format is nearly universal, but very old or very new formats may be inaccessible – which means your résumé won’t get read. List your accomplishments, not your job responsibilities. A résumé riddled with bullet lists of the day-to-day responsibilities of each job you ever held is boring to read and doesn’t tell potential employers what you’re capable of. Instead, list your accomplishments: the sales records you broke, the new programs you implemented and the promotions you earned.

When You Still Can’t Find Work

Consider accepting an unpaid or low-paying internship with a company for whom you’d like to work. You never know where it might lead. Volunteering for on organization you support can also open unexpected doors to employment and even if it doesn’t, you’ll be putting your time to good use. Surviving unemployment is easier when you have a goal and possibilities on the horizon.