If there’s one thing I love it’s helping job seekers. Working in HR in a corporate capacity, it’s not something I could do very often. Outside of the occasional mock interview or resume review at the local college, we were bound to providing the standard verbiage in most of our candidate conversations and turn down emails to those job seekers that didn’t receive an offer. “I’m sorry you weren’t the best candidate selected for the job.”
Give Labor is different. It’s making Labor Day a day to help job seekers. But you can help a job seeker on any day! Give Labor takes the best of social good and helps job seekers who are often left with more question and frustration than answers.
For those job seekers who didn’t reach out as a Give Labor volunteers this week, I want to help. Here are 5 things you need to do right now to help you land that job.
- Use Micorsoft Word Not a .pdf to Apply. Maybe you have a beautifully designed resume and graphic masterpiece. You upload it to my company’s applicant tracking system, but the recruiter doesn’t see it. The information isn’t searchable like a word doc and so I look past your resume because there are two hundred candidates applying for the exact same position. Unless a job opening specifically asks for a portfolio of your work or a pdf, stick to a resume in Microsoft Word.
- Be Honest About Your Skills. Good recruiters and hiring managers can smell a rat. Don’t waste your time or mine by applying for a job you aren’t qualified for. List your work experience openly and honestly as possible. I want to hire good candidates who can do the job. If you don’t have those skills, volunteer at a non-profit or attend vo-tech classes to get the experience you need. That’s exactly what I did when I wanted to learn how to use graphic design tools like Photoshop. These skills have proved invaluable to me in my career in so many different ways.
- Appearance Matters. Whether it’s your resume, cover letter, or dress for an interview, job seekers are being judged. Recruiters make assumptions on your skills and aptitude at a moment’s notice. It’s a moment that can cost you an interview or a job offer. You can help control these things by making sure your marketing materials and personal house is in order.
- Manage Your Social Profiles. While this tip seems to permeate nearly every career and job search blog out there, it begs to be repeated. Recruiters are using social media to source and investigate the online you. Keep all your accounts professional and free of offensive materials. This includes politics and religious information as I see an increasing number of passionate political updates on Facebook. Don’t lose out on a job opportunity because of the passion behind your Presidential pick. It’s just not worth it. Really.
- Connect with Recruiters but Keep it Cool. There are literally thousands of recruiters and HR professionals on social networks. Many are open to connecting in a real and meaningful way. An online relationship follows the same social obligations meaning that in order to receive you must first give. Play it cool. Take an interest in the recruiter. Retweet their posts, send them a candidate referral, and take an interest in what they do before you ask for their time or a favor.
The job search is a complicated process that involves many moving parts some that you can control and others you cannot. By taking responsibility and control for your job search, you must plan and prepare for all scenarios and keep your house in order. Because you never know when a job opportunity may land in your lap and always at that one moment when you were caught unprepared. Prepare for that moment, and you’re on track for success.
Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. When she talks, people listen. Also, connect with her on Pinterest @blogging4jobs.