Monogrammed stationery. Rolodexes filled with business cards. The Sunday want ads. These, like many job search tools, have given way to more modern must-haves. While the fundamental task of reaching out to potential employers and making a positive impression hasn’t changed, the tools are different. Job-seekers who have a thorough understanding of how to best promote themselves in today’s competitive environment have an edge.
Following are the “ins” and “outs” of the job-hunting scene today:
|Overly detailed résumés||Streamlined resumes that list relevant accomplishments|
|An “objective” statement on resumes||A “summary of qualifications” that highlights applicable skills|
|Blanketing local employers with your résumé and cover letters addressed “To whom it may concern”||Researching prospective employers and applying to companies where your skills and interests match their needs|
|Stilted language in application materials (e.g., “Please find my résumé attached in response to the job posting …”)||More natural prose that provides a sense of your personality (e.g., “When I learned about the position, I was excited by the …”)|
|“Canned” responses to interview questions (e.g., “My weakness is that I work too hard …”)||Authentic responses that provide insight into your thought processes and how you can contribute to the company|
|A set reference list||A customized reference list for each opportunity|
|Networking occasionally||Networking constantly using tools such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, as well as in person|
|Using unusual résumé formats to hide employment gaps||Filling potential gaps through freelance or volunteer work|
|A narrow focus in your job search||A broad view of how your skills might be useful in various roles|
|Ending the interview by asking when they’ll be contacting you||Ending the interview by asking for the job on a trial basis|
|Post-interview thank-you notes that tell the interviewer how much you want the job||Post-interview thank-you notes that provide more insight into why you are the best person for the job|
|Check out The Designer’s Guide to Business and Careers for more real-world job advice.