With graduation looming for so many I thought it apropos to have a little chitty chat about the Job Search. Being a former recruiter myself I definitely have some strong opinions about this topic, and like all of our etiquette posts we’ll be referencing the queen, Ms. Emily Post as well. And because this is such an important topic for all (graduation or not), this will be part 1 of 3 in our series, (the cover letter/resume and the interview will happen next week). So let’s begin shall we?
Your “network” should consist of people who might be able to help you with your search and hopefully long after. Some whom you’ll specifically seek out for their expertise or connections, and others your’ll meet by chance (or as I believe fate, nothing happens by chance). This core group should lead to contacts with people in your field of choice which will hopefully in turn lead to potential employers. The number 1 rule when dealing with your netowrk is do stay in touch, but not so often that you become a nuisance. Their time is valuable, and remember they’re helping you out of the goodness of their heart so don’t abuse it!
Networking Tips: If you receive an offer of help, listen closely so that you fully undersatand what is being offered. Once you know how the contact can and will help you should…
- Decide what materials give the best overall picture of your life experience and work history in relation to the offer of help and send that specific information to your contact.
- Determine how often you may call the contact to follow up.
Be sure NOT to overdo your networking and AVOID the following missteps
- Being a fair weather friend who gets in touch only when he/she needs something.
- Pestering your contacts with frequent calls or emails.
- Constantly bragging about your connections.
- Being without a card printed with your name and phone number. Having to fumble for paper or a pen looks unprofessional and wastes peoples time. Moo.com is a great and inexpensive way to create your own personal cards.
- Failing to get back to the person with periodic updates.
- Forgetting a follow up and “thank you” at the end of your search. In fact you should write thank-you notes to everyone who has offered to help in any way. Please refer to our Hand Written Note post for further instruction.
Obviously the internet has become the number one tool for the job search. However, like everything there are “rules” to adhere to and liabilities to avoid. A good and basic rule of thumb is dont write anything online that you wouldn’t say in person. In fact I think more people should remember this when dealing with anything online, especially social media, but that’s a different discussion for a different day.
A common piece of job search advice is to set up your own website so that prospective employers can learn more about you. As with social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Linked In take care with the content you post. Look at your information from an employer’s point of view. Is your online image professional? Have you proofread your content? What pictures are you posting on Facebook and what are your friends tagging you in? This is HUGE, as a recruiter we always used to Google and look up a possible employee’s Facebook page. Make sure to Google yourself to see what comes up.
Don’t give out your at work email address for job search communications. Email is NOT private and your company could easily discover that you’re job hunting. It’s also unwise to job hunt using the company computer. And remember that when you post your resume anyone including your current boss can access it.
Employment Agencies & Headhunters…
Head hunters (though we never liked that name) or recruiters can be of great assistance during your job hunt and/or help you find temporary work while you’re searching. Just like you would an employer, be sure to show respect for the recruiter’s expertise and time. When you meet with them dress just as you would for an interview, arrive on time and bring your resume and references. Also be honest with anything in your employment history or personal history that could be looked at as controversial. They’ll help guide you through how to handle those on a job interview and can speak to employers on your behalf. At the very least always remember meeting with recruiters is like a dry run for actual employer interview…the more you practice your interview skills the better.
Don’t try to attract a recruiter’s attention by adding popular keywords that don’t fit your experience. This will never, ever work out in your favor.
Respond quickly to job postings by sending your online resume and cover letter, then follow up with an email or phone call which safeguards you in case your online submission was misplaced or didn’t get through.
And this my Loves is the perfect stoping point as we’ll be covering the actual cover letter, resume, and references next week. I hope for all those searching, or thinking about starting the search this has been helpful. Happy hunting Loves, xo.