As we approach the end of another year, it’s no secret that competition for jobs is still stiff. We’ve offered some ideas for job hunters before, but it’s worth taking another look from a slightly different point of view.
Most often, at least initially in a job search, you will be dealing with the Human Resources (HR) Department. At Bolt Staffing, we work with local HR professionals on a daily basis. Obviously taking advantage of our relationships can help you become more than just another resume and accelerate your results.
It’s worthwhile to put yourself in HR’s shoes and ask yourself how you appear to them on paper and in person.
Remember, these days HR departments don’t have a shortage of applicants. Their problem is just the opposite. They are often deluged with hundreds of responses to job postings. If you are serious about landing a job, make sure your resume speaks to their posting. That means making sure your list of duties and tasks shown on your resume mirror the requirements of their job.
Chances are even though you may be a perfect fit for the job, if your resume looks even slightly off target, it will be passed over. Very often, it’s the “Objective” line of your resume that misses the mark. Be sure to tailor your objective to match the title of the position they are advertising.
If you’re a match, tell them so in your cover letter and on your resume. Ideally each item on their posting will match your background and experience and all of that will show repeatedly in your submission.
Once that’s done, and HR has your resume in hand, you can assume they will begin the process of sniffing around the internet to see what kind of tracks you’ve left. Don’t assume that just because entering your name in to Google doesn’t produce any hits means they can’t find you. There are sophisticated online monitoring platforms that can dig far beyond what Google might show. The take home lesson for you: if you know there’s something about you that would give someone the slightest reason to toss your resume, take it down, now! Don’t forget about things your friends might have posted about you.
When you’re invited to the interview, be respectful of the people you’re going to meet. At Bolt Staffing, we advise our candidates: “If you aren’t early, you’re late!” Obviously if you’re late, you’ve undermined your chances of getting the job. However, being too early is just as bad. The best solution is to get your car parked and take some time to gather your thoughts and touch up your appearance. Be sure you never arrive more than 10 minutes early.
As we detailed before, your physical appearance matters. As often as not, the hiring decision will be made within 90 seconds of you walking in the door. In addition to avoiding the extremes of dress, hair, and other styles, be aware of your surroundings and how you fit in them.
Briefcases aren’t necessary for most interviews. Unless you need one to carry samples of your work, leave it home. You don’t want to be burdened with too much stuff to carry. Likewise, don’t bring a large purse.
On the other hand, always bring a notebook or professional portfolio and extra copies of your resume, cover letter and 2 pens. Be sure to keep your right hand free for handshakes.
Handshakes are revealing to many people. You want them to feel solidity in your hand, neither a dishrag nor a bone crusher. Practice shaking hands with a trusted friend and ask them for honest feedback.
Employers are looking for solidity in other ways, too. Eye contact is critical. Again appropriate eye contact tells the person of your confidence, reliability and even honesty. Your body language is also important. Keep your hands out of your pockets and away from your face. Always keep your elbows off the table!
In general, mirroring the demeanor and postures of people you are talking with is a good way to keep yourself under control and put others at ease. The beauty of it is that you can practice with your friends and family. As with other aspects of body language “appropriate” is the key word.
These days, in California especially, smokers are at a disadvantage. If you smell like cigarette smoke, to many people you may as well smell like you just ran a marathon. If you are a smoker, make sure you are wearing clean clothes, and once you put them on, don’t light up until you’re on your way home after the interview.
While we’re talking about olfactory matters, a word about perfumes and colognes, remember: no one ever missed a job offer because they weren’t wearing a scent. On the other hand aside from allergic reactions, many people just don’t appreciate the fragrance. Avoid the temptation to overdo your preparations. Clean and well groomed is good enough!
To stay valuable today, you must be up to date with technology. It’s important for employers to know you are current in the tools of modern business. While everyone needs to be up-to-date, if you are an older job seeker it’s especially important for your prospects to know you’ve kept up. Be sure to explain your career in terms of how you’ve built your skills and developed yourself along with the industries you’ve worked in. Your growth over the years could be interesting to others, and you may find some unexpected common ground with the people you are talking with.
We hope you have found our advice useful. These tips come from experience. We’ve been interviewing applicants every day since we opened for business in 1994. Since then, we placed more than 10,000 people in a variety of jobs. If you are looking to get a job this holiday season, let us broaden and brighten your search. Visit our website and blog for a list of some of our current openings. We fill positions for temporary and full-time jobs with people who are registered with us and have the skills to match the job description. The first step is to submit your resume which can also be done through our website. If you have registered with us in the past, call our office to reactivate your file. Happy holidays from the Bolt Staffing recruiting team.