Five things every job seeker must have
Job seeking is hard and stressful. Here are five things you must have in your arsenal that make it easier.
A tailored resume: We talk and talk and talk about this around here until we’re blue in the face, and yet one of my HR friends was commenting on Facebook the other day that over 90% of the resumes she receives are not customized for specific jobs.
“That is how I do the first round of cuts,” she said. “Canned resume = no further in process. I don’t want anyone who clearly doesn’t put forth any effort.” A customized resume is absolutely necessary.
A web presence: You must have a LinkedIn profile and it must be up to date. You might want to have a Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, or Instagram account, depending on your industry. You might also seriously consider a personal website if you don’t already have one. At the very least, you must be at least visible – and your social media profiles should be clean and reflect the very best version of you. Employers are going to Google you, and if they can’t find anything, they might just move on to the next person. Not having a web presence these days is like not existing.
A good picture of yourself: Employers want to know what you look like and whether they like what you look like. And no, contrary to popular belief, it is not illegal to make hiring decisions based on physical appearance. Your LinkedIn profile should have a nice, professional looking headshot that is not too close, not blurry, and doesn’t have someone else cropped out of it. Hire a photographer if you must, and take a good picture.
A wingman: Traditionally, a wingman is someone you bring along when trying to pick up chicks. In the job search, we’ve applied the term to your sounding board friend. You need a friend to proofread your resume and cover letter, run through interview practice with you, and tell you if what you’re wearing looks stupid. This person should be smart and brutally honest. You must have at least one friend like that.
A good interview outfit: Always have an outfit at the ready. You don’t want to have to go shopping at the least minute. Clean shoes, pressed pants, tights with no runs. One should usually err on the side of formality for the interview, though some research into the company culture wouldn’t hurt. One of my coworkers once wore a suit to an interview where she immediately realized that she was overdressed and didn’t fit in at all. She didn’t get the job. Still, when in doubt, we would still say go more conservative. Wear black, grey, or blue. Choose colours sparingly.