2014 will be the Year of the Employee. As the economy recovers, more employees will move on to new and better opportunities. It may be the time for you to land a job you want.
Tip #1 – Face facts.
Job search distractions include stress and anger for the mid-career unemployed. But, it is time to move on. Make a plan, keep it focused, and go to “work” every day to land a job.
If you are looking for something new, plan a disciplined search. It is likely to take you a month of looking for each $10,000 you want to earn. So, patience and persistence are virtues when you are trying to land a job.
Tip #2 – Get in shape.
Good health and fitness show in your personal appearance. Fitness improves your posture, self-confidence, and facial expression. Clothes will fit better and complement your total first impression. And, the regular exercise will reduce stress.
Tip #3 – Prepare back stories.
Each work experience on a resume has some back story, some positive anecdote you can commit to memory. When the interviewer asks you something about a previous job, be ready with that story.
Tip #4 – Stick to the last 10 (or 15 or 20) years.
Employment applications ask for information about the last X years of work experience. While there are always exceptions to the rule, your resume should not include more than that same X years.
Tip #5 – Clean up the past.
Purge your social media identity. Delete criticism of former employers, political or biased comments, references to drugs or drinking, and anything else that would interfere with your trying to land a job.
Tip #6 – Start networking.
Draw a target with yourself at the center; each concentric circle represents a circle of contacts. Work the nearest circles the hardest, but do not forget the outer circles. Be sure to call a boss or co-worker at the place you used to work. Tell him/her that you are still trying to land a job and ask what they have heard about similar jobs in businesses like theirs.
Tip #7 – Prepare paper.
Resumes do not land a job, but they often open a door and/or provide a basis for discussion. Recruiters expect white collar workers and applicants for salaried and senior management positions to have well prepared professional looking resumes. They scan resumes for content that maps to their posted needs. It is often a wise investment to work with a professional resume writer who knows what recruiters look for.
Tip #8 – Expect a phone interview.
More employers interview by phone first. Phone interviews qualify and eliminate applicants. If a recruiter is used, you are not likely to meet the decision-makers until several interviews into the process.
Tip #9 – Use phone smartly.
Arrange for any phone interview for a time when you can give it undivided attention. Try to use a land-line in a quiet place. While you are at it, make sure the prerecorded message that greets your caller is professional sounding.
Tip #10 - Be on time.
Punctuality shows respect. Make sure you know how to find the employer location, where to park, and how long it will take you to reach the office. On the interview day, arrive fully 30 minutes ahead of time. Spend time with the receptionist, use the restroom, and complete the paperwork required at the personnel office. (Once you leave, the interviewer will ask the staff what impression you made.)
Tip #11 – Dress well.
Any interviewer expects you to dress appropriately. White collar workers should appear in the style of clothes that would be right for the job. While you might dress your best, it is just as important not to overdress or use too much makeup, scent, or jewelry.
Tip #12 – Bring little with you.
Usually, you do not need a laptop or portfolio. Avoid over-sized purses or brief cases. However, you should bring fresh copies of your resume in a folder that you can clutch on your lap (and to which you can transfer your stress.)
Tip #13 – Write a commercial.
The interviewer will suggest, “Tell me something about yourself.” However, this is not an invitation to talk about your children, your marriage, or your life. You should prepare a brief sales pitch about how you fit the job opening in terms of knowledge, skills, and abilities.
Tip #14 – Control the interview.
Silence controls the interview. If you talk too much, you lose the advantage. The interviewer will ask open questions, so be prepared to ask open questions in return. Interviewers like to talk, so let them do so. It will give you time to consider your responses.
Recruiters return your calls and offer feedback. But, Human Resources offices are less attentive. Send a thank you note, but while you may make a call to find out about the results, do not be a pest. Move on!