6 Things You NEED to do to Land a Job

Over the past 5 years that I’ve worked with students who are searching for jobs, I’ve started to notice some common trends between those that find jobs and those that don’t.  You might think to yourself that one candidate had better grades, more experience, or better connections and that’s why they got the job.  Sometimes that’s right, but a lot of times it’s wrong.  There’s so much more to getting a job than being the “ideal candidate.”

Below are my main tips on how you can be successful in finding a job, no matter what your background is, hang-ups are or challenges you face–

  1. Open up your mind to new possibilities. Like the old adage “don’t judge a book by its cover,” neither should you judge a job by its obscure company name, job title or anything else until you’ve done your research.  Try it and you just might like it.
  2. Get over your major.  You have multiple options on how you can apply your degree.  Figure out where you want to live, an industry you want to work in, something. Have you noticed that a lot of job descriptions focus on skills more than specific degrees?  If you haven’t, you aren’t looking in the right places.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       ….which leads me to….
  3. Stop focusing on large job boards. Go into a targeted group on LinkedIn or consider joining a professional association. Many employers like to focus on targeted groups rather than post on Monster or Careerbuilder. It makes sense.  Go where you’re more likely to find a successful match.
  4. Get out from behind the computer screen. A recruiter once told me “I hire people, not paper.” Recruiters are human beings that like to get to know candidates. Put yourself out there and give them a call. Come to a career fair. Attend an event you know they will participate in and introduce yourself. Don’t be afraid.
  5. Show that you’ve got some sense.  iF u can’t type a sentence correctly and uze crazy emoticons 🙂 all the time, youre going to turn off a lot of people.  (Note that I intentionally typed that horrific sentence.  My English Teacher Mother is rolling in her grave as you read this.)
  6. Act like you like what you’re interviewing for.  I don’t care if you’re interviewing to scrape horse doo at the circus, you need to act like you like the job.  If you can’t even muster a smile or a small laugh during the interview, they’re going to think that you could care less about the job.  If you aren’t enthusiastic now, why would you be a positive force on the job??? No employer wants to work with Debbie Downer.

That’s it!! Simple enough, right??  What do you think?

Social Media Personas: Are you too much?

When is your personality too much? Many companies and organizations have posted about what is and is not appropriate to publish as a representative of an organization when using social media.  There are statements that can be added to an employee’s profile if they indicate an affiliation with their employer or other terms that can be added if speaking from an organization’s standpoint.

Overall it seems like a good idea, particularly the setting of social media policies that clearly outline what is expected of their workers if they engage in social media on the company’s behalf. My question, however, is when does an organization lose its voice? Is it ok to show a little personality versus a business-like tone in some cases?

If your audience is likes to use slang terminology or pop culture references, mirroring your audience and the way they communicate could be a great way to connect.  It’s a fine line to balance depending on your company image/culture, but it is something that deserves thought.

If you want to be perceived as…

  1. Professional –  steer away from exclamation points, slang, politically charged topics, connect to other professional accounts
  2. Young – consider using current slang, exclamation points, emoticons, reposting similar users’ content, comment on popular culture in addition to topics relevant to your industry/area
  3. Innovative -discover new sites for your connections to visit, comment on cutting edge technologies in your area, provide advice to followers

The list goes on.  Any other suggestions or thoughts?

To Employers that Tweet Out Jobs

Recently I’ve noticed quite a few businesses tweet out job listings.  Sounds like a good idea right?  In theory yes, but I’ve found that many of these links are broken or those that have good links lead to job descriptions that don’t match what the tweet indicated the job would be. If your followers click on your link to find out more information and are taken to something completely unrelated, why would they continue to follow you or read your content?

When I looked a little deeper into the company accounts, I found that some had a large amount of followers that were spam accounts, competitors, or people that were not remotely qualified for the positions they were tweeting about.

So what should we take away from this?

  1. Make sure your tweet is clear and aimed to your target audience. Have a job title, location & what you’re looking for clearly indicated to make your followers more inclined to click on your links.
  2. Search for the leaders in your industry and follow them to find potential employees. Follow the leaders followers too. This will make your potential prospects at least aware of your account.
  3. Consider sending a DM (direct message) directly to leaders in the field to see if they will retweet your information or to those you think could be good prospects for the job.

Ultimately, you want to give people a reason to follow you.  If your message is consistent and is related to what your 140 character profile states, you will emerge as someone worthy to follow.

To follow or not to follow…you never want that to be the question.

Email Etiquette…Do YOU have it?

I get about 60 emails a day. That’s right. 60.  As a career consultant that works with college students daily, I’ve seen a lot of netiquette violations.  I’ve included two real examples.

Exhibit A:

———————

Mrs. Ledgerwood,
I was unable to attend the career fair yesterday (Feb 16) and I was wondering if you knew of when the next one will be held?
Thank you,
Firstname Lastname

———————

The first problem with this is that the student addressed me as “Mrs.”  I’m not married and it’s awkward to have to tell someone you aren’t married.  Always use “Ms.” when you are unsure. The second problem is that this information could be found by looking on our events page which is prominently posted on our home page.  Take the time to try to find the answer before emailing someone. Lastly, include an email signature–name, major, email address and phone number.

Exhibit B:

———————

Hi Laura,
My name is _____and I’m a Warnell forestry major. My mother said i should contact you if I ever need resume or cover letter help. I’ve attached my resume and a cover letter for a job I’m fixing to apply for. If you could look over those i would really appreciate it. Thank you
-FirstName Lastname

———————

Anyone else having a hard time reading this?  The font is small and strains the eye.  Additionally, if you have never met the person you are emailing before, it is not appropriate to address them by their first name.  You should also ask yourself if your request or question can easily answered.  Do you think an email can really help answer if you have a good resume, cover letter, and how it relates to the job description? Remember the saying “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”  Sometimes certain communication mediums (i.e. email) aren’t appropriate.

Do I even need to say anything about the mother comment? Or the lack of a closing like “Thanks” or “Sincerely” before his name? “I” should also be capitalized when engaging in professional communications.

Before sending an email to an employer or really anyone, send it to yourself.  Ask yourself: is what I’m asking reasonable, easy to answer, and clear.  If it takes 5 paragraphs to answer your one line question, delete your email and pick up the phone.