Hunting for a job is no fun. It's a lot of hoops to jump through, and it can be demoralizing at times. Hit a roadblock? Here are ten little things you can do to move the needle in your job search.
- Be nice to people. I'm not referring to just interviewers and recruiters, by the way. Be friendly. Say "Hello." Say "Thank you." Facilitate professional and personal introductions. People tend to help out nice people, and if you're on the market, and you made a positive impression, you may be front of mind when they hear about a job opportunity or are looking to fill one of their own. Jerks get referred less often than nice people.
- Let recruiters know you're available on LinkedIn. There's a little box on LinkedIn on your profile page where you can tell recruiters combing the system that you're open to hearing about jobs, and how they can reach you. Why not make it clear you're looking? Here's the link.
- Take quick and easy training. Applying to jobs that require Salesforce CRM experience, and you don't have it? Or maybe you need to buff up on your project management skills. Go to LinkedIn Learning, Lynda, or any of the other online training portals and take a seminar. Then add the class to your resume – it'll show up as a keyword (and a skill in your toolbox).
- Circulating your resume? Send or upload a version made in Microsoft Word. Most Applicant Tracking Systems (employer databases) are optimized for Word since it's the most common word processing platform in the business world. A resume saved in Google Docs or Apple Pages formats and uploaded into an ATS might not keep its formatting. And an unattractively formatted – or just plain jumbled – resume may get ignored by a recruiter, regardless of the cause.
- Contact your college's career placement center. So what if you graduated 20 years ago? Most colleges allow their alumni to utilize the campus career services office. In addition to providing access to job postings and career fairs, advisors can provide career coaching and facilitate connections to employers with whom they've built relationships. Remember, your college wants you gainfully employed – it's good for the school's reputation, well-placed alumni can provide students with internship and career opportunities, and a happy, income-earning alumni often become willing donors.
- Be generous with "thank you" notes. It's a no-brainer to send "thank you" notes after a job interview – or at least it should be. This simple act of post-interview gratitude can propel your candidacy forward. And remember to show gratitude to anyone who does you any sort of favor in your job search.
- Ask your former employer if they could use some help. Assuming you left a prior job on good terms and would be interested in going back, call your old manager. The combination of a low unemployment rate and an innate familiarity with your ex-employer's culture and workflows could position you as a desirable candidate.
- Call a headhunter who has placed you with an employer in the past. You may not be on their radar. But if they were successful in placing you before, they may be willing and able to consider you for a new job.
- Use a professional-sounding email address on your resume. It really doesn't matter whether your address ends with gmail.com, yahoo.com, outlook.com, or aol.com (I get that question a lot, by the way – people are worried about age discrimination based upon having an old ISP. Don't sweat it, unless we're talking about having CompuServe as your carrier. It's more dangerous to put your college graduation date on your resume if it's more than ten years ago). What does matter is not coming across as not being serious about the job search – avoid tags like email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com.
- Use your cell phone number on your resume. Be reachable, quickly. A missed call, or delaying a return call, could cost you the job. Side note: Have your voicemail set up with a greeting that says your name somewhere in the message, so that recruiters know they've reached the right number.
Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, and career coaching services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at firstname.lastname@example.org, or via the website, www.insidercs.com.