We have put together 14 expert tips that will strengthen your job search and help you get a job that fits your life.
1. Pay attention to your social media presence.
Recruiters and hiring managers will be looking at your resume, of course—but they also want to see complementary online content, too, such as your LinkedIn profile and online resume. In fact, one recruiter told Glass door she likes to see attachments, project work, videos, or blogs, too.
2. Highlight your transferable skills.
You want to show off why you’re right for a particular role. But you also want to make clear why you’re right for any role, we’ve heard recruiters say. So, when it comes to your resume and cover letter, focus on the skills and experience you have that would make you an ideal candidate anywhere. Then, in an interview, be ready to share how you’ll relay those skills in the new role.
3. Use your words.
And more specifically, use the right words. Applicant tracking systems scan resumes in search of keywords, and throw out any that don’t contain them before they have the chance to be seen by human eyes. So how can you game the tech? It’s easy. Read the job description for the job you’re applying—then see how those words stack up against similar job postings. Words that repeat across multiple listings belong on your resume preferably at the top, as well as in context.
4. Tell a compelling story in your cover letter.
You don’t want to simply repeat what’s on your resume when you write your cover letter. Rather, you want to dig a little deeper, answering questions a potential employer might ask such as: what makes this company your go-to choice, and why is this company special to you?
Answer the questions in as much detail as possible to stand out from the crowd.
5. Catch your resume mistakes.
It’s not enough to run a simple spell check on your resume. You’ll need to employ some special editing tactics—such as reading your resume backward and asking a friend to proofread for you—in order to catch every mistake on the page. There’s even editing software specifically for resumes. If you allow an error to sneak in, you are sending the employer an unintended and incorrect message that you are sloppy and don’t care about your work.
6. Prepare for an interview before you get it
You won’t be caught off guard by an interview question if you’ve studied the common questions asked by recruiters and managers alike. Plus, knowing your responses in advance will keep you cool, calm, and collected during the interview—confidence any employer will be pleased to see.
7. Dress for the job you want.
It’s not enough to slip out of sweatpants and put on something fancy. You have to dress for success and be comfortable in what you’re wearing. If you’re uncomfortable, you might lose some confidence in the interview. But if you look and feel good, you job savvy should easily shine through.
8. Show off your likable side.
An interview doesn’t have to be all business. In fact, applicants willing to show their personalities are received better by managers than people who remain tight-lipped during the interview. That’s because this manager could become your boss—and he or she wants to make sure you can get along well. Share your personality when answering questions and resist the urge to respond robotically.
9. Always send a thank-you note.
A recent study found that 86 percent of hiring managers said not sending a thank-you note shows lack of follow-through. So follow-up—and show off your manners—with a handwritten note on nice paper or even in an email. The point is to do it, and do it promptly; the medium doesn’t matter as much. In the note, thank your potential employer for his or her time, and be sure to share about something you learned during the interview. Why? Sharing the lesson shows you were paying attention to the employer, and you’re serious about the role.
10. Avoid getting too personal in interviews.
Turns out, some of the answers you think are appropriate to share—like your favorite childhood memory when asked question, “Tell me about yourself”—are actually a turnoff to recruiters, and in some cases, can cost you the job. So just like you’ll practice what to say in the interview, you should also research what not to say to a potential employer.
11. Don’t talk about money during an initial interview.
Bringing up any salary questions during an initial interview—especially a phone interview—is a big no-no, career experts say. Why? It’s simply not the appropriate time, because you haven’t made it far enough into the interview process. So save the money talk for a second or third interview, when it’s clear you’re taking steps toward landing the job.
12. Be proactive during the interview.
Rather than allow for the recruiter or hiring manager to ask you all of the questions, be confident and proactive during your time together. You've researched the company's culture and mission on Glassdoor, and you're looking for a job that fits your life. Therefore it's important to dig deeper. If you ask questions about management style, professional development, performances measurements and team collaboration, you’ll show a potential employer you’re both an informed candidate and serious about the job.
13. Use social media to brand yourself.
Hopefully, you know by now that Facebook statuses that describe wild nights with friends can a turnoff to potential employers. But did you know that you can use social media to build a personal brand, making you more attractive to a hiring manager? One easy way to do just that is to expand from what’s on your resume—you can post pictures or summaries of projects you’ve worked on, include a short bio about your skills, or share articles that show you’re an expert in your industry.
14. Seal the deal by negotiating.
The final stage of getting a job is negotiating the package. While compensation often comes to mind first, remember that there are far more facets of the job that you can customize than you think. From benefits to work-from-home options, stock options to a travel stipend, there's a lot on the table. Make a list of the things that are most important to you and that you'll need to execute your job well. Be sure to check Know Your Worth to make sure their base salary offer is competitive with the market.
Then, speak to your hiring manager and the recruiter about whether those needs can be fulfilled. These days, negotiating is an expected part of the job search process. Ask as many questions as you need and get the answers you need to make the best job decision for you.