After two layoffs in 14 months, I was fortunate to be called for about a dozen interviews and offered more than one job, so I wanted to share some of what I did that worked so well. Some of it comes from my own observations, and some directly from employers.
1. Don’t slow down and don’t give up. One job I was offered told me they “only” had 50 applicants, compared to 150 – 300 earlier this year, because people who have been job hunting are starting to give up. Your odds are better when everyone else gets lazy.
2.Customize your resume and cover letter every time, and hand deliver them.
This sounds like common sense, but it’s surprising how few people do it. If you don’t want to change your title every time, choose one that covers your whole industry. Also, get dressed up and drop off hard copies in person every time, even if it takes a little detective work to track down the hiring company and address. You never know who you’ll meet in the lobby or elevator.
3. Tweak your resume often and track responses.
Almost every week I changed something about my resume to see what would get the most responses. This means font changes, layout changes, education first, education last, etc.
4. Let go of past job titles.
If you’ve had very specific or limiting job titles in the past, get rid of them. You don’t want a potential employer to get hung up on a title he or she may not fully understand. Instead, list the companies for whom you worked and what you did there. In my search, not a single interviewer asked about my past titles.
5. Find a contact for every job you apply for.
Thanks to Facebook, I was able to find contacts for almost all the places I applied. Post to your status and try LinkedIn as well. Having a good word on the inside is extremely valuable.
6. Don’t miss details.
Each job posting has its own details – some want salary history, some only accept PDFs, etc. Read each posting carefully and follow all the rules. Technicalities are how employers justify tossing out half the resumes right away.
7. Get good at interviewing.
Accept every interview you’re offered, even if you wouldn’t want the job in a million years.
8. Stay busy.
Even if you have to do free work/consulting/whatever for friends or family, do it. It gives you something to fill your resume and something to talk about in interviews when they ask what you’ve been doing the past x months. You can call yourself a “freelancer” or “consultant” in pretty much any industry. This move shows you’re a capable, motivated self-starter who has no trouble generating new business.
9. Accept the job.
If you’re offered a sub-par job, take it and keep hunting for something better. In most cases, you have the right to leave that job at any time, for any reason or no reason at all. And there’s no need to include it on future resumes, especially if you’ve been staying busy. (See #8.)
And now, 6 more precious tips that I really like from jobsfromeveryjuan.com!
Also read: 10 Tips for Recession Job Hunting