Our general job search advice
As you embark on your job search, here are a few less obvious tips for you to think about. It’s often the smaller details we overlook, yet can determine our job search success.
Think about EVERY touch point the recruiter has with you and what impact each interaction may have. For example, ensure your email address is professional (email addresses like firstname.lastname@example.org are not appropriate), and that you have a voicemail message that clearly identifies who you are and when you will return calls (voicemail messages that start with long, loud rock music or crude/sexist jokes or statements will not leave a favourable impression – and our experience suggests this point is not just relevant to the younger generation!).
Your resume is about the recruiter, not YOU. This means you need to accept that your resume may only be viewed for 30 or so seconds and if you don’t cut to the chase quickly, you’ll be overlooked. In other words, no fluff and no stuff in the resume that does not align with the requirements of the role. Think of yourself as a product on the market – you need to consider what it is that an employer wants and then how to market yourself according to their requirements. The more you can demonstrate that you meet the requirements they have, the better your chances.
Do not say you are willing to do anything. It’s not the recruiter’s job to work out your ideal next career move – it is yours. Be clear about what you are seeking, build a resume that reflects this and target the right jobs for application.
Be VERY mindful about where you live online. Ensure your Facebook profile is closed to friends and that there is nothing online that a recruiter will find that could reflect poorly on you. If you ‘live’ online, the employer can find you, or others can be willing to share what you think is private information more broadly on your behalf!
Keep track of your applications. When you have a number of applications or expressions of interest lodged, maintain a database or spreadsheet so you are prepared when you receive a call. Nothing sounds worse to a recruiter when they call, to be greeted with…”what was the job I applied for again?”
NEVER respond to a regret letter with a derogatory statement or email. Whilst the email may look like it is coming from a generic back end company database, it is the recruiter that receives it directly. The number of times recruiters receive highly unprofessional email telling them to “*&%$ off” only confirms that they made the right decision not to select you, and generally results in a comment against your record.
Talk to as many people as you can about your goals and work preferences; many organisations employ people through word of mouth. Companies offer current employees a ‘spotters fee’ for any new employee who is subsequently hired as a result of their referral (this is called an Employee Referral Program). This means current employees are on the look-out for people they think have the skills, experience and personal attributes to join the company. Because employees only get paid for successful candidates, they will only refer those they believe have a very good chance at getting a job. Therefore, be mindful of the way you conduct yourself around others and the more people who know you are open to opportunities, the better your chances.
Think very carefully about your referees – too often people will select referees without knowing exactly how well those people will or won’t speak about them. Referees are generally asked to cite strengths and weaknesses and to provide examples – so the more these examples can align to what you have already provided, the stronger your application. Also, consider that ‘off the record’ reference checks still occur – ie people may be contacted who are not specifically provided by you but who the recruiter knows you worked with or who previously managed you. Candidates can do well up until this point only to have their application not progressed further as a result of references from people that are trusted within the organisation.
And finally……the simplest tip of all. Please answer the phone with your name! It is highly frustrating to have to ask, “is this so and so” when making a call to a candidate.