No matter how young or old a job seeker is, there are a few things one can do to get noticed. If you have little experience or are changing careers, these steps below will help identify you as the right person for the job who is professional and already an integral part of a potential employer’s industry.
1. Have a smart, professional email address.
Although employers always require you bring a paper copy of your resume to an interview, unbeknownst to most applicants, the interview begins the moment they download their resumes. Ambiguous or playful email addresses, such as the Candilikescandy4328@hotmail.com automatically put the applicant behind the start. Additionally, if an applicant is making a career change, that old, outdated email address that identifies him or her with another industry must go.
2. Beat the employer to the Internet search.
Yes, they will “Google” your name, given email address and phone numbers to see who you are. You have done it yourself, most likely, so don’t be surprised that companies do the same. Be in control and show them who you are.
Search your name online and see what comes up. Set up controls and remove any references to you that may portray you in any light that is not professional. (i.e., you may want to rethink your myspace posts or blogs that not only easily identify you but also show that you had a great crazy and possibly irresponsible vacation in Vegas)
And post. Some people have very little or no presence on the web, which can also have negative impact to an employer. Show them that you up to scratch with current technology and that you use it wisely to promote yourself and your services. There are several free networking sites online that will be sure to bring your name up to the top of a Google or other search engine search. Several places to begin include:
These sites will allow you to post your picture, contact details, interests and affiliations and can serve as teasers for a potential employer. This will also help you as you begin to build up a customer or client base down the road.
3. Get involved.
Remember your high school counselor telling you that you need to build your extra-curricular activities if you want to go to a good college? Same here, although it is debatable that listing “horseback riding” or “playing in a band” is a good move.
Employers want to see that you are connected with your community. Charities are a plus, but begin with joining local associations that are affiliated with the industry you are in or would like to be in. Use the Internet and your local contacts to learn about chambers of commerce, trade associations, and professional networking groups.
4. Have business cards before you get the job.
A business card can often be the most cost-effective and life-changing marketing item a professional can have. Throughout your career, keep 25 cards on your person at all times.
To make the maximum impact, be sure to include the business card trinity: home address, phone number and professional email address. Often employers will toss resumes and business cards that list only an email address because they will more often than not prefer to call you when they liked resume or were impressed they met you at that chamber of commerce meeting.
5. Be ready for the call.
If you haven’t listened to your own voicemail message in awhile, call yourself. If your voicemail is anything other than a pleasant message identifying yourself and that you will return the call as soon as possible, then stop reading this and change your voicemail now. We’ll wait.
In 2007 alone, I received the following voicemail messages when I would be ringing an applicant to schedule an interview:
“It’s beer-thirty, leave a voicemail.”
“You already know who this is or your wouldn’t be calling so leave a message.”
“This is Shawn at A COMPANY I NO LONGER WORK FOR…”
These resumes always go from my desk to the rubbish bin. Point made?
6. Let your fingers do the walking.
As you begin to schedule interviews, you must also begin the quest for information on your targeted industry. Review each company’s website 3 times, every page, down to the term and conditions. If a company’s website lists professional associations or partnerships, then read up on those too.
If you notice a website uses specific phrases regularly on their site or in their brochures, then study up and “own” the phrases yourself. These phrases are the language they use to pitch prospective customers, so use them when you’re a pitching yourself to the company. You will also learn through your research about a targeted employer’s competitors – don’t stop with one when you have the ammo to hit them all.
7. Don’t be silly. Ask for help.
Ask for help when you need it. Ask for referrals when you meet someone that may be helpful in introducing you to potential employers. Give your cards out to everyone you meet who could be qualified to help you. Every family member should have a stack of your cards, but make sure to print up more for those people you’ll meet while networking. Often the best way to land the postion you love is to have and maintain the support of people around you. Go and get it.