Sending hiring managers your resume in a pop-up box that explodes glittering stars when opened will definitely get you noticed — but it probably won’t get you hired if you haven’t already mastered these job-seeking basics.
When it comes to the crazy things people have done to get a job, I’ve heard it all: auctioning themselves off on eBay; purchasing online ads boasting their work skills; singing their resume in a YouTube video; mailing hiring managers their name and contact information in frosting on top of a gigantic cookie.
Yes, these are creative ideas. Sending hiring managers your resume in a pop-up box that explodes glittering stars when opened will definitely get you noticed — but it probably won’t get you hired if you haven’t already mastered the following job-seeking basics:
Update your resume. Think of it as a personal advertisement that sells you and your skills as the perfect “product” for the job. Use strong action words — such as created, implemented or achieved — instead of words like assisted or helped. Quantify your accomplishments; ensure that there are no spelling or grammar errors; and ask family or friends to review it and provide feedback.
Connect the dots. Analyze the job description and requirements, and include your corresponding skills, experience and education in your resume. Be prepared to address any gaps.
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Use LinkedIn to create a professional electronic resume. This includes writing a succinct profile summary; adding current job information; making sure that your experience, education, skills and awards are up to date; uploading a professional-looking profile picture; and getting recommendations from previous managers, co-workers and direct reports.
Conduct research. The knowledge you gain about the company and industry will help you sell yourself as the best candidate for the job. It also could help you answer difficult questions from the hiring manager.
Find an insider. Use your networking skills to track down at least one internal coach who can provide inside tips about the company, the open position and the manager. This person also could serve as an advocate or reference.
Conduct practice interviews. Based on the job description and requirements, think about the questions the hiring manager might ask. Determine how you’ll respond, and then conduct practice interviews with a friend or family member.
Dress for positive impact. Use your attire to create an appropriate image of yourself and show how you’ll fit into the desired position. Need help with your wardrobe? Go to a department store and request a personal shopper, or hire a personal stylist. Once that’s done, assess your hair (and makeup).
Show up prepared. Arrive at job interviews with all the necessary documents, including copies of your resume, a reference list, letters of recommendation, your portfolio of work, paper and pens for taking notes, and questions to ask the hiring manager.