Despite the improvements in the job market here in WNY, there is still the need for both strategy and skill during a person’s job search. In this column over the last 10 years, I have often referred to the term “savvy Job Seeker”, but have never formally defined the traits or habits of the savvy job seeker from my perspective.
So, this week I present to you the 10 traits (in no particular order) that savvy Job Seekers have that allow them to differentiate themselves from their competition.
• Be Prepared – Job seeking is hard work and will require you to make a significant time investment. Employers expect that you have familiarized yourself with the position posted and with the information on the company website. There is also a real benefit for you, since this process can be very stressful, because one of the things that best reduces stress is preparation.
• Be Professional in Appearance – Come to any interview dressed appropriately for an interview of that position. Limit the slang (and no profanity!) during your interview. Think of the position you are interviewing for before publicly displaying piercings and/or tattoos.
• Be Responsive – Return your phone messages in a reasonable time period. Be available at the time you have committed to for the phone interview. Show up on time and ready to speak to your first interviewer. Pretty simple stuff that amazingly will trip up some of your competition.
• Be Honest – You will need to develop a connection with your prospective employer. Your resume should accurately reflect your experience and education. Refrain from embellishments when speaking of past accomplishments during the interview. WNY is a very tight-knit community with many people knowing each other. One bad incident of falsification could label you for a very long time.
• Be Passionate – Prospective employers want to hire individuals who are excited about the possibility of joining their company. Express some passion for the type of work you do and for the company you are applying with. Interviewers naturally gravitate to those who they connect with and enjoy speaking to.
• Be Accurate – Different from honesty, accuracy is the avoidance of any misspellings or grammatical errors. It also means sending your Cover Letter and Resume in the format desired, usually Microsoft Word. Read and re-read your documents to ensure they are worthy of sending. I recommend having a friend or family member also review your work to make sure it is your best effort.
• Be Standard – There is often a strange pull felt by Job Seekers to feel the need to do something during their process out of the ordinary that will make them stand out. This may be a wild design for their resume or some unusual color to their paper. It may even be injecting some misguided attempts at humor in the narrative. Doing these things will usually draw the attention sought but unfortunately in a negative way. I know of several recruiters that keep their wildest non-standard resumes in a folder in their desk so they can have a good chuckle and show to others. The reality is that you will be expected to have a standard, traditionally formatted, and well-written Cover Letter and Resume.
• Be Specific – What you can do instead of sending a generic Cover Letter and Resume is to customize the document for the position and company you are applying to. Tie your relevant skills and experience directly to the position to provide easy reading for the recruiter.
• Be Concise – This is for both your oral and written communication. Recruiters have limited time so your Cover Letter and Resume should clearly communicate why you should be a candidate. A 3-page resume will most likely result in a groan and filing in the regret pile. Recruiters generally have a very tight schedule of back-to-back interviews. A Job Seeker who takes 20 minutes to answer a question pontificating on everything that comes to mind during the answer will most likely find themselves receiving a regret letter.
• Be Considerate – Beyond just your appearance and responsiveness, a savvy Job Seeker will be polite during all conversations to all parties including the receptionist who seats you in the lobby. Respect the time challenges of the recruiter by only calling within the parameters given to you. Thank people for their time and the insight they provided.
So many job seekers do a poor job of searching for new employment that a savvy Job Seeker has a real competitive advantage. Consider the 10 traits above and how you can apply them to your search.
As always, best of luck in your job search.
The following has been prepared for the general information of WNYJobs readers. It is not meant to provide advice with respect to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.
WNY Human Resources Professional
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