The Ins and Outs of Job Hunting

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.