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Resource: Career Advice
Job Search Rules You Can Break
Thursday, March 08, 2012

So much rides on a job search that people believe that following strict and rigid rules will produce results. While, yes, doing things the right way is a smart approach you have to stop and think if some of these rules may be outdated in the current job market. Job advice is useless if it pertains to another place and economic climate.

We live in a digital world now where the doors to communication are vast and wide open. The rules have changed and some from that are now irrelevant to the 21st century job seeker. For your best chances of making it in today's job market you need to be on the same playing
field as the times.

Don't worry about having to completely change up your entire strategy or fret that you've been doing it wrong the whole time. Change is a
gradual process so as long as you're with the program, just worry about here on out rather than making up for past decisions. These are
some of the rule changes to jot down in your mental notebook:

1) Sound like person.
Up until recently, we were taught to sound as smart as possible by using big words and long-winded language. Basically, the way no one talks in real life. The result? Someone on paper who knew how to do as they were taught and regurgitate unnatural speech. The problem with that is that you don't get an accurate portrayal of the person behind the text. You get a carbon copy of other people trying to sound as intelligent as possible without an inclination of a personality. BORING.

Today, online social media has taken off and become integrated in nearly all aspects of people's lives--including employment opportunities. Networking is great resource when looking for work because it emphasizes human connections and building relationships. The bar has been raised to a point where finding the right person for the job requires more than being able to do the job. It's also about fitting in with the company and having the right attitude. The first way they look for this is through your resume. If a hiring manager can't see who you are in your resume, they're not going to see you at all.

2) Don't sell yourself short at one page.
A nice, considated one page resume is a great way to start but two pages is perfectly fine too. It would be best not to exceed two pages--more than two and you're bound to get an eye-roll--but most people nowadays need more than one. You want to be as detailed as possible
and it can be hard to fully and accurately explain your experience in the little real estate one page gives you. Go ahead and take that much needed sheet.

3) Forget the objective, sort of.
You say it any way you want, but when it comes down to it your ultimate objective is to land a job. You know it, the hiring managers knows it, but quite frankly they don't really care. What they do care about is how you fit in with their objectives. If you have a generic objective it can
actually do more harm to your chances. It's a red flag that you're not actually concerned with working for a particular company but just wanting to be hired by anyone. There's nothing wrong with that, but use discretion. Show that you put some thought and effort into your
resume submission. Hiring managers want to see that you are genuinely interested in working for their company, not just thinking about your own interests.

4) Say what matters first.
Whether it's your work experience or your educational background, put the most relevant and advantageous information first. Even if you went to a prestigious school, if the position you're applying for has more to do with your role at a non-profit then by all means put that higher
up on your resume. Give priority to the most crucial information on the chance that the hiring manager isn't throroughly going through resumes. You might only have their attention for just a few seconds, make them worthwhile.

5) Remove mention of your references.
Saying that your references are "available upon request" is unnecessary because hiring managers will expect you to have them available if they ask for them. It's like the one-page rule, it's not really relevant anymore.

6) Arrive on time.
Getting to an interview too early looks bad. Why? Because you put the interviewer in a slightly awkward position. Give yourself a buffer of just about 5-10 minutes. If you have more time than that, find some way to kill it before walking in to the building. Interviewers will feel obligated to stop what they're doing and greet you and they may not be comfortable having you wait in the reception area too long.

The best thing to do in any case is use your best judgment. Do a little research on the company and get a feel for what their culture is like. Use what you learned as the basis for your approach. Remember that all companies are different so your strategies should cater to each of those companies needs. Companies are looking for someone that will be the right fit for their company, and you should be doing the same for yourself.

How to Use Email to Get a Job
Thursday, March 01, 2012

Spam emails are so rampant on the web that many people tend to ignore most of what's in their inboxes. This may be a big mistake, however, as you might be deleting an major opportunity hidden among the spam.

Email is far from being obsolete, you can't do everything is done via instant messaging or through social networks. Emails offer a form of communication that other platforms can't simply replace which is why companies still use them as a means of notification. Use your email to its fullest potential and take as much advantage of it as you can. Here are some tips to optimize your email usage in your job search:

1) Your Email Address
Nothing says unprofessional more than an email address that is informal or a nickname. You're email address should include your name and some numbers. But if you've only been using "foxylady123" all these years, you will have to create something more appropriate for a professional and corporate setting. Nothing hits a recruiter's funny bone more than a silly email address. Getting other people to talk you seriously starts with taking yourself seriously.

2) Cover Letters
Cover letters go into the body of an email when you send out a resume. They're extremely crucial to the job search process because they tell the reader more about you than what you put in the email. It's your chance to introduce yourself and add a backstory to your resume. People often just send resumes without a word, another big mistake. Your ability to communicate and represent yourself well through a cover letter lets the reader know that you are personally speaking to them and genuinely interested in getting the position.

3) Follow Up
It's much easier to follow up through email than via message not to mention it's also more genuine. Things that take time require more thought and the more thought you put into something the more the receiver can appreciate your effort. Email is the perfect balance between new school and old school. It has the same traditional feel of a written letter only it's through a digital medium.

When you follow up with someone you want to begin a correspondence that will create a valuable contact in your network. When you meet people make sure you find out about their interests so when you email them later to stay in touch (and to referesh their memories) you want to strike up a meaningful conversation whether it be career-related or not.

4) Job Alerts
Job alerts are a crucial email resource that should not be wasted. When looking through online job boards you always want to opt-in for email job alerts that notify you of jobs that you're interested in. This will also help do some of the filtering for you as you pursue your search elsewhere. Make sure to change your email settings accordingly so that they don't go unseen into your spambox. If you're signing up with many different sites, it might be helpful to create labeled folders for alerts from each site to go into so you know where to look for which one.

5) Proofreading
When you think you're done with your email read over, then read it over again. But before you hit send, leave it alone for 5 minutes then come back to it with a fresh mind. Even if you think you caught all your mistakes the first or second time you'll probably be surprised to see some left over. Writing is always a work in progress so you won't be completely satisfied every time you have to change something in your email, but don't spend all day trying to make it absolutely perfect. It doesn't have to read like an award-winning novel, it just has to be error free and make sense and when it is that means it's time to send it.

Don't let the use of your emails go to waste. They're still around for a reason. Job alerts, correspondance, network building...emails are a great way of making contacts with people in the industry along with the help of social media. They add a personal touch and allow you to talk more in-depth with people as opposed to a brief message. Even though the use of networking informally through social networking is becoming more commonplace in professional industries, you can't substitute what you're able to say in an email with an instant message or profile message.