From the first Google search to the last interview, you can boost your odds at landing a better job with the right preparation. Here are our ten best tools and tips for job-seekers and career climbers.
10. Cover all the search sites
It's not exactly a "hack" to suggest hitting Monster.com, or your LinkedIn network, to check out job offerings and work your connections. Each site amongst our five best online job search sites, however, puts you in a different pool of possibilities, and each has its own quirks and tools. They're somewhat perfunctory and broad, but wouldn't you feel bad knowing you missed a great opportunity simply because it wasn't in your super-specific Craigslist search?
9. Cover Craigslist like a glove
The same types of skills and always-there alertness that make someone a Craigslist power user can give them the edge on the site's job board, which has the benefit of (sometimes, not always) attracting relatively tech-savvy, with-it employers. Once you're getting text message and RSS alerts whenever "Micro-brew taster" shows up, browse these tips for applying for a job on Craigslist, written by someone looking to hire through Craigslist and looking for only the honest, direct, ready-to-work types.
8. Take the guesswork out of salary demands
There are a host of salary-obsessed sites that use a combination of math and insider info to compute what workers with certain skills and experience levels can expect in different cities and corporate firms. The most prominent among them—Glassdoor.com, PayScale, SalaryScout, and Indeed—have their own strengths and weaknesses, as we've previously detailed. If you're lucky enough to have an informed source inside a firm you're looking to jump ship to, or can cultivate one, that might be your best bet.Photo by AMagill.
7. Leave without burning any bridges
If you have a great estimate of exactly how many seconds are left until you can leave, it can be really tempting to email firstname.lastname@example.org with exactly how liberated you feel. But if your dream job doesn't turn out quite so ethereal, or you ever find yourself needing a tip, lead, reference, or maybe even someone to hire at your new digs, you'll wish you'd kept things civil. To fake it until you make it, crib from eMurse's sample resignation letters, read from wikiHow's guide to resigning gracefully, and keep in touch over social networks like Facebook with the co-workers in the same realm you find yourself in. You never know when one of them might hear about a sudden job opening; alternately, you can ditch the civility and think about offering cold, hard cash rewards for job leads.
6. Walk into your interview without fear
From covering an oldie-but-goodie list like the 50 common interview questions and answers to mastering a few conversational Jedi mind tricks—how you prep for your job interview depends on how geeky you want to get. If you bore even yourself with your answers to 1950s HR Manual standards like "What's your greatest weakness," consider turning the interview around by talking about your first 100 days on the job, or tell the story of your career, and future. If you managed to escape without squirting mustard on the interviewer's shirt, dash off a quick, effective thank-you note. For more ideas, visit our tips for talking your way into a job.
5. Look the part
Unless your interviewer is Mark Zuckerberg, your newest sandals and fleece just ain't gonna cut it. Here's the shorter, job-focused version of our tools for dressing sharp:
- Give the shoes a solid shine: In five minutes or so.
- Dress sharp, but save: By turning a cheap-and-cheap-looking suit into one that's an expensive suit that wasn't expensive.
- Don't you dare rock a clip-on: Take the time to learn with a basic tutorial and YouTube instructional clip.
- Travel without ironing: You could take Fodor's advice and wield the power of plastic sheets to prevent wrinkles amongst your best-looking clothes. Or you can go a bit more eco-friendly and cross-cultural with a bundle wrap. For those who like a bit of extra security, a bit of DIY wrinkle releaser in a drug store spray bottle handles whatever gaps your folding and backing leaves open.
4. Use search-friendly words; skip vague generalities
Some large-scale employers deposit every single resume and CV into a giant, OCR-scanned database; others merely search out candidates on job sites using specific word criteria. Either way, having the right words on your resume prevents being cut in the first round like some warbly-voiced would-be Idol contestant. On the other hand, the humans who actually read through your cover letter, resume, and application want to see real numbers and results, not Career Services blather. So take a good long look at your text and kill at least six words from your resume.
3. Get better, faster, smarter alerts on job openings
A while back, we suggested just a few tools to nab a job with feeds and email alerts. Our commenters, though, had a wealth of links and suggestions that worked for them:
- SimplyHired and its RSS feeds, which 72ba digs for its aggregation of the big job sites and local players, as well as the customized feeds.
- Yahoo Pipes, the feed mashing/extracting/filtering tool we've created master feeds with and which Earth2Marsh used to monitor jobs at every grade school in Maine.
- Feed43, which ain't exactly a five-minute job, but it can take pretty much any page on the internet and make a feed out of it, as Jay discovered.
- Other tools: FeedMyInbox and UpdatePatrol.
2. Build your personal brand with a blog
By and large, no one-person blog is going to replace a salary, but it can help you find a new source of income. Blogger Adam Darowski believes the blog is the new resume, and at least one Lifehacker editor is really glad he built his up to help land a new gig. Write and post material related to the field you work in, and generally work it as if you were already employed in it. Your resume and clips can spell out that you're a great with Photoshop, but your blog's slideshows will definitely sell your clients or employers a lot more emphatically.
1. Write a killer resume for a new career path
With the economy lurching about like an over-tired Capoeira enthusiast, we recently decided it was a good time to look at taking the first step toward escaping one's endangered (or just plain boring) career for another, no matter what your experience level. We rounded up our favorite tips from our own resume posts and experience, and talked to a career specialist about how to score a great gig, even if you lack the supposedly mandatory "minimum requirements." Check it out, pull out the heavy-stock paper, and get to writing. Photo by emdot.
Go ahead—tell us which tools or skills were conspicuously absent from our Top 10. Tell us your experience on any of the above from the perspective of employer, employee, or current job-seeker, or offer up some links in the comments.Found this Post interesting? Receive new posts via RSS (What is RSS?) or subscribe via email at the top of this page...