New Rules for Getting a Job

Getting a job these days is not merely about presenting the perfect résumé to potential employers. The fact of the matter is that there are certain things you might be doing when applying for a job (be it in your résumé or during the interview process) that could affect your chances of success. The suggestions made below will help ensure that any application you make for a job will attract the employer’s attention and that you will become the candidate to hire. Without the rampant amount of work™ that we experienced in 2005-2007, the economy has forever changed.

Give the company reasons to view your résumé.

How many times have you submitted your résumé through the website of a company you’d like to work for and wondered whether anyone even looks at what you’ve sent? Take heart, as research shows that most companies do look at résumés they receive via their website. It is best to wait two or three days after the vacancy for the job is posted on the company’s website before sending in your résumé. In this manner, you avoid your résumé being lost in the many applications made at the start of the process. Experts say that that if a company receives your résumé later, but well before the deadline, your résumé has a higher likelihood of being looked at.

Un-tag yourself.

When you go for an interview, you are unlikely to take inappropriate photographs of yourself along. Likewise, in this age of Facebook and MySpace , before you apply for a job, make sure you remove (or ‘un-tag’ in Facebook) any inappropriate or even questionable photographs from any social networking sites. Inappropriate photographs are ones that are sexually suggestive or show your drunken behaviour. The reality is that, today, when a potential employer receives your résumé, he is likely to enter your name as a keyword into Google and do an online search about you. If he views these inappropriate photographs, he might think that you are not serious about work. Another way to keep employers and potential from accessing your Facebook page is to use a different email address than the one you put on your résumé, also set your Facebook privacy settings to not allow any non-friends from viewing your information. MySpace is a dead-end social networking site and you should follow the same steps if you still use MySpace.

Past internships .

Many people assume that because they were not paid for internships, it is not necessary to mention them in their résumé, especially if the internship is unrelated to the job that they are currently applying for. However, experts advise that any mention of past internships on a résumé usually tips the balance in your favour at an interview. Potential employers do understand that even if your past internships were in another field altogether from the position you are applying for, you have gained experience in the workforce; these experiences may have enhanced your sense of responsibility and work ethics. Therefore, never shy away from talking about your past internships and never leave them off your résumé.

Blending in.

Research shows that employers admit that while the interview is taking place and the potential employee is telling them about his multiple skills and work experience, they are more concerned about whether this person’s personality will clash or blend with their current employees. Keeping this in mind, you would be well-advised to look at the company’s website and do some research. Indeed, if you can, loiter around the company’s offices several days prior to your interview and observe the employees who work there. Are they dressed conservatively? Do they take a casual approach to how business is done? How do they carry themselves? What kind of bags do they carry to work? A word of caution: be discreet when conducting your investigations to avoid being accused of stalking the company’s employees.

Dress appropriately. Dress to Impress!

Although this point seems simple enough, it is amazing how many people do not dress appropriately for an interview. Even if the company states, on its website, that it has a casual attitude towards office attire, many employers admit that, when it comes to the interview process, they are likely to hire someone who is dressed appropriately. This is even more important when the vacancy is for a position that requires you to project a good image of the company. What, then, is appropriate attire for an interview? Although the current employees of the company you are applying to may be wearing jeans and knee-high boots to work, do not emulate them for your interview. Do not wear a wrap dress with a deep-V neckline or a blouse that shows off your cleavage. Instead, opt for something sober like a solid suit in black or dark blue. Here’s a test that experts suggest you do with regard to any jewellery you wish to wear to an interview: walk around a room and wave your arms about. If any jewellery slides around or makes noise, take it off; it is not appropriate to be worn to an interview.

Impress immediately. First Impressions Matter.

Experts report that it takes less than five minutes for an employer to make a decision not to hire someone they are interviewing. Nevertheless, the employer often remains polite by giving the candidate a chance to bounce back from making a bad first impression. Employers advise that, when you first enter the interview room, greet the employer warmly and say that you’re pleased to be there. Show the employer that you appreciate this opportunity to be interviewed. Standing tall, keeping your feet firmly on the ground and keeping your chin up go a long way to help you make a good first impression. Image is everything.

Leave the past in the past.

Do not tell your potential employers every negative detail about your previous job. If you do so, you will come across as someone who constantly passes the blame and makes excuses for any shortcomings on your part. Furthermore, it plants the idea in your potential employer’s mind that if you’re talking badly about your previous boss, some time in the future, you might talk badly of him as well. He might conclude, erroneously, that it is in your nature to speak ill of anyone who employs you. It would be wiser to say something along the lines of, “I’d like to try out some of my other skills and work in a new environment.”

Questions about salary ? Don't ask.

Until you are offered the job, do not bring up the issue of salary at all during the interview process. You must avoid the scenario where your expected salary is too high and the employer cannot afford to hire you, even though you are the best person for the job. If the employer does insist that you indicate what your expected salary is, always say something along the lines of, “I’m flexible.” When the job is offered to you and you find that your salary is too low, tell your employer that you had a higher number in mind. Still, if the employer can’t match your minimum amount, do not refuse the offer. Instead, consider other perks you can ask for such as extra vacation time or housing allowance.

Avoid clichés.

Phrases like, “This is my dream job,” “I think outside the box,” “I’m a team-player,” “I’m results-oriented,” have become overused in the job market. Experts report that these phrases make the person being interviewed comes across as someone who is insincere. Instead, you might consider saying something along the lines of, “In my previous job, I single-handedly converted a hundred unhappy customers into loyal fans of the product in three months.” It will certainly add to your credibility if you can show proof that you did indeed achieve such phenomenal results in your previous job. In the eyes of the person interviewing you, such a statement can sometimes translate into, “If he can do that in just three months, this is one candidate I’d be crazy to let go.”

In these trying economic times, you need to make sure that you have done all you can to succeed at a job interview. Follow the suggestions and guidelines made above and you will surely have an advantage over any other candidates vying for the same job as you.