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These 7 Answers will get you Hired.

Thu, Oct 1, 2009

HR Expert Reveals Critical Steps You Must Take to Land Your Next Job

BrandMakerNews sat down with Human Resources Professional, Shez Jackson, to get professional insight on what jobseekers should do to get hired.  We asked 7 questions that every job seeker needs answers, and got the inside scoop on how you can land your next job. Take notes and get hired.

1.What do I have to do to get a job?
No matter where you are in your search you cannot sit back and wait.  You must always be proactive, involved and interested.

 If you know what field you want to work in, read more, learn more, and find out where those industry professionals are – at any level are.  Go to a bookstore or a library, and read trade journals.  Join a group, get on a networking site and participate in the forum.  Even if your level of participation is only to ask questions.  There are many people willing to share advice, even when they do not have a job immediately available.

 The more you learn…the more you will know, and the more valuable you are to your next employer.

2. How do I find the job I want?
Although it may feel overstated…Network!  About 30% of our hires come to us through a referral.  And in this economy where recruiters are limiting their expense on using outside placement agencies, these contacts are helpful.

Your network is everyone you know. Networking is about every relationship you have; old classmates, your drycleaner or taxicab driver.  Everyone knows someone else and if you give off a positive vibe people from any walk of life would not have a problem referring you to someone.

Networking is not a “gimme” process.  It is a two-way street that often requires you to be the first to offer something before being able to ask for the favor.  But, what can you offer?  Just about anything.  If you are at a seminar, offer your telephone number so that you may keep in touch.  Ask the person to meet you for coffee.  Ask someone their opinion of something – even your resume; before asking do you know of any jobs available.

Keep up with your contacts, send them a holiday greeting, know something about their interests or children and keep up with them from time to time.  Or even better offer your contact something.  You went to a trade show; perhaps they would be interested in hearing about the attendees or would appreciate some of the literature from a presentation.

Social networking has really been a valuable tool.  Again, stop with the “me-me” approach.  Don’t run a search for all the Human Resource professionals and send your resume to them.  Start by joining forums. Contribute credible, articulate and concise information when you can and take opportunities to as ask members of the forum for help or input.  Many people are willing and even flattered to offer some support.

When sending your resume to prospective employers who do not have immediately available opportunities, do not limit yourself to the Human Resources Department.  If you want a job in Public Relations, send your resume to the Public Relations Director or their assistant.  Send them a small sample of your work and if you have time, offer your services for two hours a week.

3. What will make my resume stand out?
Ask yourself this when you have found jobs that you’re interested in; “what would make me better than the next guy?”  Sure, you will not be privy to learning about all the other candidates; but ready yourself against a person who you might believe would be your strongest competitor. Then write your resume and cover letter in a compelling way to beat that person out.

 It is not the paper the resume is on; it is what the resume states and the manner in which the language is used.  So make sure that you use standout phrases and descriptions.  Let the recruiter know you “had the best on-time record” or “achieved the highest sales in a pool of 15 associates” instead of simply elaborating on job tasks.

AND--PROOFREAD YOUR RESUME.  You should actually have it proofread by someone else.  If you are the author you are often too close to the material and may gloss over words that are or are not present.  If you cannot get someone to proof your resume here are two important things you can do.  First read your written material aloud.  If you find yourself tangled in a sentence, the sentence is too long.  Next read the text backwards, it will help you with spelling errors.

4. How should I prepare for the interview?
Learn a bit about the company.

Be on time.

Relax, it’s only an interview.

Candidates should be genuinely interested in the role they are applying for – even if it is entry level.  Have thoughtful questions on your mind beforehand.  Try to gauge why you were invited to the interview and prepare to talk about the immediate benefits you will bring to the company.

Recognize the type of company you are trying to get work in.  If it is a loose and casual environment, no need for a suit.  But if it is corporate, have your best blues and blacks ready. Again, have respect for the people you are going to meet.  Make sure you are neat, clean and not too heavy in the area of cologne or perfume.

Searching for a job is a lot like searching for a mate.  What initially attracts most people is what they see.  So do your best and dress the part.  You really don’t get a second chance at a first impression.  There are a lot of different looks, body types and statures.  You must dress in a manner that complements your shape and demeanor. 

Arrive at the interview a few minutes early, and use the company’s restroom to look yourself over.

5. How can I make a great impression during the interview?
 Candidates must show a level of respect.  Respect does not mean pleading for the opportunity.  Respect comes across through some of the more refined things, like showing up on time for your interview.  Allowing the person you are speaking with the opportunity to state their question without you jumping in.  Make sure your answers aren’t endlessly long.

Don’t become too familiar during an interview.  Even if you find common ground with the person conducting the interview, stay professional and resist the urge to become too friendly.  Opening up too much or becoming too personal can hurt your chances of getting the job.

Make every effort to be calm during the interview.  Talk to your recruiter or hiring manager like a person, not your schoolteacher – too much nervousness makes many recruiters disinterested.  Be calm.  Tell yourself you don’t need this job, you are just practicing for the job you really want.  You will find yourself more casually relaxed.

Ask questions.  No questions, translates into no interest.  Your questions should be pertinent to the job, not to the benefits, timing of reviews or how quickly you can get a raise.  Ask something like “I am very interested in the role and I’d like to know what type of personality would be best suited for the opportunity.”  You may even ask about a person’s managerial skills or the busiest season for the role.

6. How should I follow up after the interview?
Send a thank you note.  Use e-mail as it is the fastest medium.  But realize this, your thank you note can make or break you.  This is a component of the recruitment process.  It must be well written and well thought.  You are sending the message of how well you communicate in writing.

Just saying thank you is not enough; spend a few sentences on what you learned from the interview or what you can contribute (after putting more thought into the opportunity).  This could be what sets you a part from another candidate.

7. After I get the job, how do I hold on to it?
Grow yourself.  Learn how to contribute more than your job requires; even when it is not immediately beneficial or profitability for you to do so.  The new skills that you develop will always be yours, and you can add them to your resume to make yourself more marketable in the future.  You may even find a way to work yourself up the ladder, or even into a new career.

Congratulations in advance on landing your next job!

Written by Tia Jackson, Shez Jackson exclusively for BrandMaker News