Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Job Hunting Tips

It's easy to be critical of articles like this one from CareerJournal on job hunting. They state the obvious ("Write a resume! I didn't think of that!), but if you've conducted any job recruitment campaigns recently, you'll know that there is a large portion of the population that needs the basics, such as:

- Don't use an e-mail address that might create the wrong impression. You may think "hottiebabe" is cute but the HR folks will think differently.

-Don't expect a fast response but if you get one, be prepared to interview. After all, you contacted them.

- Don't hide jobs. If you had to take a less than attractive job to pay the rent, say so. That may actually score points with the Horatio Alger types and it will be better than having to explain an employment gap.

- Proofread your resume. Read it out loud - I suggest a Foghorn Leghorn voice - because that will help to spot the problems. Watch for missing words. Avoid jargon and stilted terms such as "utilized" and "effectuated." Plain language is best.

- Don't badmouth your former employer. If there was a personality conflict, you can say so but going overboard ("They were vicious swine!") will only sink your chances.

- Do have someone put you through a mock interview. When they do so, have them ask basic questions, such as "Why do you want this job?" and "Why should we hire you?" Many applicants only prepare for the tough questions and then are completely flummoxed by the easy ones.

- Do dress appropriately. That means clean and conservative. Anything flashy or seductive should be out.

Finally, play the odds. Use all of your personal contacts but also submit your application/resume to large numbers of employers. You may think that contacting 25 firms is impressive but it isn't unless you possess some unique skill. Fortunately, websites such as monster.com and jobing.com make it easier than ever to contact large numbers of employers.

Job searches are a hassle but they are a part of life. Everyone has a job search horror story or two so don't be discouraged. As an old friend of mine says, "You'll eventually find a job. It's a matter of time." You just want to make sure that you are doing everything possible to make that time shorter.

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