Certain tried-and-true job search tips will always serve you; they definitely did not become the touchstones of the job-hunting tradition because they do not work.
Things like arriving to an interview in crisp clothes, and with even crisper answers to poignant questions, having an immaculate resume and sending personalized thank-you cards will never go out of style. However, there are a few unspoken job-search tips that are often forgotten about, and that can carry you as far, if not further, in your quest for new employment.
Most of the unspoken tips for landing a job in today’s market revolve around having the courage to do things your own way. Creating a resume that truly reflects your personal style, listening thoughtfully to potential employers and offering original answers to interview questions, or even simply taking things slowly in your approach, can make a world of difference in your job-search success rate.
Creativity can serve you in your job search in more ways than one. You should try to implement a creative approach into every aspect of how you go about seeking a job, and then performing that job once you get it. America is increasingly becoming a “gig culture.” This means that what were previously considered side-jobs are now taking center stage, and more people are parlaying creative skills into full-time, lucrative careers. The number of people who are actually creating the jobs they want is steadily rising as the market shifts to allow for the ever-changing influence of the internet and digital automation.
How does one create a job? Look for an innate need in an industry that captivates you. Look for things that you do well that could become the ‘new normal’ for a professional field that you might not otherwise be able to enter, based on your former training/background. The old adage of following your passion still holds true, but what has changed is the way in which you can pursue that passion. You no longer have to rely on antiquated models of approach.
Take, for example, a woman like Sofia Amoruso, who dreamed of a career in fashion. Rather than molding herself to the hierarchical norms of what the fashion industry was at the time she entered the workforce, she simply learned to translate her love of buying and selling vintage clothing into the empire that became her hugely successful online apparel company, Nasty Gal. If you can dream it, you can do it in the modern job market; you simply have to define the niche in which your skills and passions collide, and be fearless about the ways you want to work.
We are all taught early to learn and be able to articulate the “right” answers to common interview questions. What we are not as often taught is how to give the same attention to the art of listening, which can garner at least as many positive returns in the job-search process. Whether you are in the actual interview or merely engaging in some initial emailing with a hiring manager, pay attention to what is being said, and also what is not being said. Use your intuition about subtext and unspoken needs that the company may be expressing. Have the courage to bring these things out in conversation, and offer ideas or solutions, as you see them. The manager or CEO will be impressed that you cared enough to truly listen, rather than just waiting to reply, and will likely see that as a trait that is highly beneficial to the company roster.
Conventional wisdom may say that you have to put on some sort of formal persona when you interact with potential, future employers. While it is certainly important to observe proper decorum and polite etiquette at all times, if you are rigidly adhering to a standard of formality that erases your normal personality, you are doing yourself a massive disservice.
Do not be afraid to be vulnerable, funny, engaging and candid in correspondences with potential employers. Companies want to see who you are as a person because that reflects on who you are as a worker. Today’s job climate is distinctly less formal, all-around, than it has ever been in American history. Startup culture, particularly in the technological field, has given rise to workplace atmospheres that are decidedly:
Showing yourself as you are reflects the kind of confidence and character that most contemporary companies are eager to see in their employees.
The notion that you should slow down while you are actively seeking new employment may, at first, sound totally counterintuitive. When you have bills to pay and are uncertain where your next paycheck is coming from, the last thing you are thinking of is taking your time. However, an important and often overlooked job search tip to guide you toward better employment success is to not immediately apply for jobs that interest you. Instead, start with research. When you discover a job online that you think would be perfect for you, reach out to important personnel at that company and either ask how you can help them reach their immediate needs, or freely volunteer tailored solutions to problems your research tells you they are currently facing. Do not apply for the job until you have had a chance to speak to one or more representatives from the company. This will ensure that when your application does arrive, there is already a familiar face and personality to pair with your resume, and this raises your chances of being shortlisted for the job automatically and exponentially.
Many jobseekers make the mistake of thinking that once a resume is written, it is complete, and not to be tampered with again. They make the same mistake once they have built their online job-search profiles or have made a new contact at a company for which they are interested in working. In order to be successful in today’s job market, you must come to view your resume, your online job profiles and your network as living and breathing entities, subject to frequent change and modification as, needed. For example, if your resume reflects a background in photography, but you are applying directly for a job in web design, do not hesitate to change the wording or subcategories of your resume in order to show that you have worked in a digital format, and that you are a good fit for the job to which you are applying.
If you have a job profile that emphasizes a primary set of skills, change the listings of your abilities around to suit whichever positions to which you are submitting for that week. Resumes and job profiles are not immovable objects set in concrete. Successful job hunters are likely to have 10 or more different copies of their resumes. Likewise, do no just assume that a network contact you met 10 years ago, and have not talked to since, is going to remember you, and be able to help you in your current job search.
Treat your network like a relationship that needs constant work in order to be fruitful, and one that requires you to give twice what you hope to receive. Respect that your resume, your online work portfolios and your network contacts can only serve you as well as you have served them, and that means constant revision, rewriting and renewal.