Hi guys! Usually I don’t blend my recruiting career with my blog, but I thought given the new year and that it’s busy season for job searchers and hiring manager, it might be helpful to share some tips on how to make yourself as hireable as possible. Regardless of your qualifications and background, there are some things you should be thinking about and doing to aid your search. Read on for details!
Update Your LinkedIn
There is no excuse not to have a presence on LinkedIn, especially if you’re in a professional services industry. Not only is LinkedIn a tool that hiring managers reference, it is the number one resource for recruiters to find candidates. And just putting your most recent job is not enough; you’ve got to add more to make it really complete.
- Upload a recent photo of yourself. And I mean, just you. Please don’t have your whole family in it. Just as bad is the selfie in your car with your seat belt on. It should be a professional, clear, and recent photo of your face. A smile is helpful, too!
- Your relevant work history should be listed including promotions. If you’ve been in the workforce for a while, you may want to get rid of short internships and summer jobs during college to avoid looking skippy. If anything changes in your career, it should be updated immediately.
- Your education, degree, certifications, volunteer experience, and civic involvement should be on there and accurate.
- A succinct overview of your background or your company’s background should be included in your summary. If you are unemployed or actively looking for a job, include a concise career objective, but avoid being too specific as it may turn off recruiters or hiring managers.
- Recommendations! You can ask your supervisors and colleagues for these on LinkedIn by clicking “Ask for Recommendations” on your profile page. This is a great way to boost your hireability without having to brag about yourself.
- Don’t worry so much about the Skills/Endorsements. It doesn’t hurt to add them, but given that random strangers seem to endorse anyone for anything, I wouldn’t take a lot of stock in them.
- Once you’ve updated your LinkedIn, it should match your resume as closely as possible for continuity’s sake. For example, if you’re applying for customer service jobs and your LinkedIn profile says you’re interested in finance roles, that’s probably going to cause hiring managers to red flag your candidacy or even pass on you.
Conduct An Image Inventory
My boss always says, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”. Not only is that true, there are actual studies out there that suggest that an employer has decided if you’re a potential fit within five minutes of meeting. And if we’re honest, a lot of that first impression comes from how you present yourself.
- Even though casual dress is becoming more and more common in today’s workplace, that does not mean it’s appropriate for an interview. When in doubt, go business formal. That means an appropriately fitting suit or a sheath dress and blazer (dry cleaned, no holes), polished shoes without scuffs, conservative tie/jewelry, and natural makeup. If the hiring manager has specifically requested otherwise, that’s fine.
- There is no reason you need to wear perfume or cologne to an interview (it’s not a date). Some people are even made nauseous by fragrance and you may not know how heavy it is to your interviewer. Instead, shower before and wear deodorant, but avoid additional fragrance.
- Adding on to the shower bit, this includes washing and styling your hair. I know that seems odd, but greasy or unkempt hair can ruin a crisp outfit and distract your interviewer. For those with long hair, it’s best to pull it back if you are easily tempted to play with your hair or continually brush it out of your eyes.
Put Your Best Foot Forward
Looking polished is great, but that’s only part of the battle. As soon as you open your mouth, the last thing you want to be is unfocused, inarticulate and lacking confidence. Instead, you’ve got to prepare how you’re presenting yourself and your experience.
- Start with a firm handshake and make eye contact. There’s a balance here though. Don’t crush you interviewers hand or stare at them, but no limp fish hands or averting their eyes. The former would indicate you’re too aggressive; the latter, too passive.
- “Tell me about yourself”. This stumps a lot of people. Before you start to interview, formulate a succinct summary/overview of your career that closes with the direction you’re trying to take your career (this should align with the opportunity you’re interviewing for).
- Mirror your interviewer…within reason. If you’re interviewing with someone that’s lower key, don’t be overly energetic and vice versa. Try to match their mood and tone more, but not to the extent where you appear to be mimicking that person. Because that’s just rude.
- Make sure you prepare your reason for looking. Cryptic comments about wanting growth or bad work culture will put you right in the pass pile. In fact, you should avoid any negative or libelous commentary about your former job, manager, coworker, or company. Be strategic, objective, and tie it into the role you’re interviewing for.
Express Gratitude, Immediately
One of the biggest mistakes that candidates make is not sending a thank you note to whomever they interviewed with. Think about it; your competition has the same experience as you, but they took the time to share their appreciation and reiterate their interest in the opportunity. Which candidate would you choose?
- Written notes are nice, but not the norm anymore. Email is expeditious and more reliable than snail mail. Also, if you met with multiple people, everyone should get an individual non-identical note.
- Proofread, proofread, proofread. I have seen candidates knocked out of the process for a poorly written thank you note. This entails spelling and grammar errors, misspelling the interviewer or company’s name, or wonky formatting.
- Find a balance between a super generic/bland couple of sentences with no details and a novella including multiple paragraphs and chunks of your resume. Show your interest by referencing the conversation and mentioning what you bring to the table, but respect their time. No one wants to read a scroll of a thank you note.
I hope this was helpful to you job searchers out there! Also, if you know anyone looking for administrative roles in Chicagoland, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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