I recently had a conversation with an old friend who has been out of work for over a year and is desperate to get a job. My first question was, “What are you doing today?” His response was, “Basically nothing.” Imbedded in his response was a basic flaw in his job hunt strategy. If you don’t have a job where you earn a paycheck, then your job for eight hours a day, Monday through Friday is to be actively engaged in job hunting! No, you don’t get to simply lay-off and ‘piddle’ at job hunting. Once you commit to full-time job hunting, you’ll find you must become more creative in your activities in order to fill your 40-hour workweek. Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Spruce up your resume. Have someone who knows your work review your resume. Ask someone you worked with previously to review your current resume. You may focus on the day to day routine responsibilities. Take the case of a publisher’s assistant who listed all her administrative duties. A former colleague reminded her that she had written a 100-page training manual for all the assistants! She put this accomplishment on her resume—this one item attracted the attention of a prospective employer.
- Become a master at networking. Effective networking is the single most important key to finding a job. Start by making a list of every adult you know and start dialing. There is simply no substitute for taking action. Set a goal of at least 300 names. You never know who will be hiring so do talk with your friends, relatives and former coworkers. Most people want to help you and you never know who might hear of a position that’s right for you. Be prepared to give them, mail them or email them a copy of your resume. Ask permission to follow up with them in a couple of weeks and then be sure to do so.
- Think outside the box. Don’t limit yourself to a narrowly defined field of employment, at least not at this stage. Make a list of all the jobs that you think you could excel at and would enjoy doing.
- Interview, interview, interview. At every opportunity, go on job interviews. Even if it’s not what you consider a good fit, use this as an opportunity to hone your interview skills. You never know when someone you meet might be impressed with you and have other opportunities within their organization or know of opportunities with another company. Consider interviewing another form of networking.
- Do your homework. Before an interview, research the company and be prepared to discuss how you with your particular skills can help the company meet its objectives. This discussion alone will set you apart from 80% of interviewees. Add appropriate dress, enthusiasm and self-confidence and you’ll likely find yourself in the top 10%!
- Close strong. I like the way motivational legend Zig Ziglar suggests closing an interview: When the bulk of the interview is over, in many cases you will be asked if there is anything you would like to add to what you’ve already discussed. If they don’t ask the question, volunteer by saying, “I have some additional experience that I believe is very important. I have 31 years’ (your age) experience of being honest, hard-working and dependable. I am enthusiastic and willing to go the ‘extra mile’ to get the job done. I recognize the importance of team play, so I’ve made a habit of being a team player. I am loyal and work every day as if it were the day before vacation.” Then pause, smile and say, “I believe these valuable qualities are needed by the person who fills this important position. I hope you agree that they are the qualities you are seeking.” Wait for an answer. I believe if you will repeat that format in front of enough people you will soon become employed. – Zig Ziglar
For more tips on landing a job, interview skills or writing an effective resume, visit www.resume-help.org.