What to Do and NOT to Do in your Job Search!

19 08 2011

I was listening to a career coach on CNN this morning, and although she shared some helpful advice, I also heard a number of things that I felt were not helpful, and leads me to believe that the right and necessary information is still not reaching the unemployed.  So, I am going to share with you some advice, based on nearly 30 years in the job search and coaching business, of what to do and what NOT to do:

  • Do focus your resume and tailor it for each position, matching the key words and phrases.  Your resume needs to tell the reader how you can meet/exceed their needs and expectations.
  • Do NOT rely on your resume to get a job! There are millions of people applying online, and often hundreds or thousands for each opening.  Even with a well-written and targeted resume, it is very possible, and often probable, that your resume is not even seen by human eyes.
  • Do prepare for each and every interview.  Research the company, the department, the hiring manager and the position.  Know as much about the responsibilities and requirements of the position as well as the culture of the organization.
  • Do NOT leave anything to chance.  Interviews are so much more difficult to come by, so don’t just wing it.  Even if you think you’re not going to be interested, treat it with equal attention and care.  You never know what other opportunities may arise if you make a good impression, or if the hiring manager might want to change the position to fit with you.
  • Do use all available job search methods – internet job sites, social media, recruiters and temp agencies, job fairs, friends/family/co-workers and of course, networking beyond your close circles.
  • Do NOT sit in front of the computer all day, every day, and only apply for online jobs.  Many jobs are “hidden” (sometimes more than 50%), so if you’re not networking, you’re missing out.  Also, as stated above, for online jobs, you’re competing with hundreds and thousands of other candidates.
  • Do get out and do something!  Volunteer – you’ll get up, dressed, and out, have something to do, acquire new skills, meet new people, and maybe land a “hidden” job.  Take part-time and temp/contract jobs – same reasons as volunteering, plus you get paid, and many companies hire temp-to-perm.  You can also have some current experience on your resume and LinkedIn profile.  Be social – getting together with others is good for your mental health, and you’re be visible and more on the minds of others.
  • Do NOT isolate yourself from your family, friends, others.  Job search is lonely, frustrating and rejecting.  Don’t think that others don’t care – they do, but you need to keep your side of the relationships going.  Also, your family, friends, others may feel uncomfortable and afraid to talk about your job search, especially if you’ve been out of work for a long time.  Don’t forget that work is only one part (an important part) of who you are, so don’t lose the rest of your personality and person.
  • Do attend job support group meetings and activities.  You will meet new people, be able to share and learn from one another, have a support system of others who understand what you’re going through, and sometimes, a job lead will come from these groups.
  • Do NOT take without giving to the job support groups.  Volunteer your time, bring leads, share articles, offer to help others with their job search.  The more members contribute, the more sustaining and helpful are the groups.
  • Do use social media.  LinkedIn, especially, is a great tool for networking as well as job search.  Be careful what you post on LinkedIn, as well as Facebook, Twitter, etc.  Companies are doing background searches on the internet to learn more about you.  You are what you post!
  • Do NOT set up a LinkedIn profile, add a few connections, and not use it actively.  Recruiters and hiring managers will look at your LinkedIn profile to see your background (so, make it complete and professional), and to see how well you are connected.  What does your LinkedIn profile say about you?  Also, if you’re not using it, you’re losing it!  LinkedIn offers great tools to find people with whom you can connect and build relationships.  If you don’t know how to get the most out of LinkedIn, contact me – I have 5 years of expertise with LinkedIn and more than 25 years of networking expertise.
  • Do whatever you can to maintain a positive attitude.  I know how difficult it is today, and how challenging it is to stay focused and positive.  Do whatever you can to help yourself – exercise, walk/bike/hike, play sports, play games, get together with friends, meditate, relax, eat well, and get good sleep.
  • Do NOT give up and do NOT let the hiring world see your frustration or other feelings.  Do whatever you can to put on a smile, put friendliness in your voice, keep working at your job search, seek support, help and advice from others, and take it one day at a time.  What’s in the past is passed. You only have today.  You only need one job offer.  Keep going forward, and I wish you success!
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