Job Applicant Makeover: What You Need to Know to Score A New Gig

Richmond Grid

Summer is a great time to get your job search in full swing, but there is more to landing a dream job than just your application and resume. To help you become more competitive and attractive to employers, we’ve created a list to improve your most important career search tools and avoid common mistakes. Here’s your 2012 Job Applicant Makeover:

  •     LinkedIn profile: Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date and that there is current activity. Join groups, post updates, and join conversations related to your field of work.
  •     Image: Studies show that more than 70 percent of employers use Google and other online tools to gather information about you. Google your name to find out what your prospective employers will see.
  •     Voicemail: If you would be embarrassed to have a recruiter hear your current voicemail message, it’s time to change it. Remember to check both your cell phone and landline.
  •     Email: Is your email address professional? Your friends might think email addresses like hotchick25, redskinsfan555, or baked420 are funny, but hiring managers won’t. If you can’t live without your existing account, that’s fine; set up a new, more professional email address dedicated to your job search.
  •     Wardrobe: What you wear says a lot about you. Do you have a professional outfit ready in case you are called for an interview? Websites like CareerBuilder.com offer a variety of guides and tips to make sure your garb is appropriate.
  •     Resume: Your resume is what most often introduces you to employers. If yours is not landing you interviews, it might be time for a revamp.
  •     Don’t waste valuable space on your resume with an objective statement that doesn’t provide any information about you other than that you are seeking employment. Also, there is no need to list references or state that they are available upon request.
  •     Tailor your resume to each job you apply. Be sure to highlight experiences that are relevant to the job. You may have some very remarkable skills, but the hiring manager won’t be impressed if they are irrelevant.
  •     Include buzzwords from the job description in your cover letter and resume.
  •     If you’re a recent graduate, list any related coursework directly relevant to the job you are seeking. Be specific. What types of skills did you learn in school that will help you handle the job duties?
  •     Cover letters: Make sure that you are writing customized cover letters for each job on your hit list. Your cover letter should clearly and concisely highlight your strengths as related to the position you are seeking, without any typos or spelling errors. A good cover letter does not have to be long, but it does need to convey to the recruiter why you are a good match for the job.
  •     Interview skills: If you’re going on interview after interview but not getting hired, your interview style may be to blame. If you’re a student or alumni, contact your university’s career office to arrange for a mock interview. And don’t forget to check out resources on the web, such as RichmondJobNet.com (select “Acing Your Interview”).
  •     Your network: If you’ve been hibernating this winter and spring, now’s the time to get out and meet new people. Not sure where to start? Take a look at RichmondJobNet.com for a list of networking organizations.

Grace Festa is a research and Communications Specialist at Greater Richmond Partnership, Inc. and author of RichmondJobNet’s monthly e-news.

Used by permission of Grid magazine