Nowadays, as a real job seeker, you have to stand out among thousands! It goes without saying that we now live in an employment environment where just your ability to do the job is not the only thing that you need to bring to an employer. To begin with, you have to get noticed and not necessarily by wearing a sandwich board advertising your jobless state.
In a room full of other job seekers, how can you set yourself aside and be noticed? So, ask yourself, are you a ‘real’ job seeker or just another job seeker? Do you radiate an aura of that distinctive quality of someone who has that special sparkle that says, ‘I can make a difference to any company’, or are you radiating the aura of just another potential employee? Think about it, the job market is flooded with thousands of equally good or better candidates, so in a way, it’s an employer’s market. Trust me, they are holding out for the great candidates – the ‘real’ job seeker. So if you are a real job seeker and not just a job seeker, you are one of those great candidates that employers seek. However, if you are just another job seeker, the good news is, it is not too late for you to become a real job seeker.
Fresh out of work due to a layoff, Sarah, a Production Manager for five years knew she was facing a tough market when she started looking for job in summer. Then, Sarah made a decision, instead of submitting her CV to positions advertised in newspapers or online, she decided to do something else that will put herself and her skills in the spotlight. She posted an apt online YouTube video to tout how she could bring operational efficiency and seamless workflow to any Operational set up. Needless to say that Sarah got hired because of her convincing pitch, highlighted achievements and her personable body language.
What was Sarah’s aim? Well, as a real job seeker, she needed to bypass the first round of human resource managers and the CV keyword searching systems, and catch the eye of the executives directly concerned with hiring a Production Manager.
The way I see it, for some daring and real job seekers, putting themselves in the spotlight can result in many small good opportunities, rather than the one big job which to me is still a big plus.
Mind you, an offbeat strategy can pay off, but then, it has to be carefully thought out, planned, crafted and executed. Real job seekers don’t just seek visibility, says Stephen Shih, head of career services at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology‘s business school. “They put their specific, high-value skills in the spotlight.”
Just a video upload is not enough; you also need to bring other things in too. The appearance of a real serious job seeker, the show-up at anytime during the job search period has to show that you can do the job. Remember, your enthusiastic talk must convince anyone that you’ll be good to work with; your body language must say that you are not a trouble maker, and that you’ll perfectly fit in with any team and corporate culture, and your smile must convey that you are a fun person to spend time with.
To further dilate upon my point, let’s see these 15 characteristics of a real job seeker. A real job seeker will:
1. Map out his skills:
He knows that the best strategy for getting hired is to first map his skills, knowledge, experience and abilities into a job’s detailed requirements. If he consistently finds that the jobs he is after require attributes he doesn’t have, he will take steps to acquire enough new skills, knowledge, experience and abilities to make any hiring managers recognize that he’s well-qualified. He lists out his acquired skills, specific knowledge, achievements, and experience, along with any abilities that he may have as his job fitness checklist.
Every time he learns about a job for which he’d like to apply, he first compares that job’s requirements to the items on his list. He creates another for required skills and uses this to cross check the skills that are most asked for.
2. Not be afraid of acquiring further skills needed: A real job seeker will look to gain the skills and knowledge that are most often requested by hiring managers. He will find a way of acquiring the knowledge by going back to school, doing online studies or taking a few training courses.
3. Perfect his Pitch: There is power in how he communicates. His body will mirror what is coming out of his mouth. He will convey what he can deliver and let it roll off his tongue effortlessly. A real job seeker will rehearse his speech on what he can offer a prospective employer, not on what he hopes to gain by working for them. He is clear about what problems he can solve, and what value he brings to a job. He doesn’t bury his key selling points; he showcases and ties them to past situations.
4. Look the part: Be on top his game, dress to impress professionally. He is confident but not cocky and he brings the appearance and swagger that confirms he can do the job. He shines at every opportunity he gets.
5. Always look to ace the interview: He acts the part of a confident professional and treats his interview as a two-way meeting, rather than a one-sided grilling. He uses the interview to further find out if the job or company is a good match by asking thoughtful questions thereby showing his desire to make the right career choices. By this, he is much more attractive than a candidate who seems desperate to take any available job. A real job seeker knows how to put himself in that hiring manager’s shoes: He’s got a definite requirement to fill a carefully described position as someone who can accomplish well-defined work. Even if he’s confident that he can accomplish everything a hiring manager requires, he knows unless he can make a convincing argument to that effect, anyone charged with filling the position would ultimately look for someone else with all the right credentials, qualifications, and experience.
6. Be enthusiastic: Real job seekers don’t assume the interviewer will know they’re keen to get the job. They know that employers prefer candidates who are enthusiastic about them and the opportunity to work for their company.
7. Be positive:As a real job seeker, he will only say positive things about previous employers,company and job. He will not bad-mouth anyone and he will display an attitude that shows optimism. It will be in his body language. It will be his choice of words. It will be his tone of voice. He tells himself to treat every opportunity as the best opportunity he has and treats it as such. He can always decide the job is not for him later.
8. Have his core CV, covering letter prepared and ready: Makes sure that his core CV and covering letter are ready and are up to scratch. He just has to tweak them for different positions. The CV is two pages, and it is an honest representation of his skills, experience and achievements. It includes a brief profile that he needs to tailor to every job he applies for, highlighting relevant skills where appropriate. He knows he has to attach a concise cover letter emphasizing that he is the right person for the job – it goes without saying that he’s ensured that there is no room for spelling mistakes or grammatical errors.
9. Target the right job and company: A real job seeker willtarget the right job, companyand lead.Hewill not follow the scatter gun effectbyposting his CV everywhere because he knows that this does not improve his chances of getting a job. Throwing his CV around can diminish his value as a candidate as well as attract spammers and scammers.
10. Maintain Focus: Sometimes, getting hired takes time, especially getting hired for the right job. A real job seeker is focused on getting hired for the right job, so he focuses on that and will refuse to get sidetracked. He knows what he wants and makes a beeline for it. In the interim, he doesn’t mind volunteering his time for free as this will help him to build up his skills portfolio.
11. Know his stuff: He is an eager learner; he follows trends and developments in his field. He researches and follows industry journals, websites stories, announcements and newsletters to know what’s happening. He knows about acquisitions, mergers and new products. He is on top of his game.
12. Be proactive: He is a go-getter and not the type that will wait around for a call. He follows up. He knows that if he wants to get noticed, he’s got to call and follow up on his CV and interviews. A real job seeker knows that it is a nice strategy to keep himself on top of everywhere. He creates full follow up calls and visits to the places where he has applied. He knows that sometimes HR managers don’t have the time to go through old applications; rather, they prefer the people who meet them personally. So a complete follow up lets them know about his latest achievements and any upcoming possibilities.
13. Be Prepared: In preparing his references for the interview stage, he will find ex-managers or colleagues who can vouch credibly for his professional skills and attitude both online (LinkedIn), in writing and verbally. He will prime his referees so they are better prepared.
14. Make use of Social Networking and the Internet: A real job seeker is acutely aware that the Internet rules when it comes to searching for jobs because a remarkable 86 percent of job seekers search for jobs online, with several job boards leading the way as the main go to source for job listings, followed closely by other company career sites. A real job seeker is on LinkedIn with his profile well filled out. He has a clean Facebook account and relevant Twitter account. He’s very professional on the Internet. More and more hiring managers scour these three Social Networking sites to look for potential candidates. So he knows that it is advantageous for him to utilize these sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to serve as partof his overall job seeking strategy for three reasons: they facilitate networking, it’s where the jobs are increasingly posted and he can establish his brand on the sites.
15. Networking: He knows that networking is important, when it comes to finding a job, as job boards came second to networking, a finding that is consistent with other surveys that indicate that employee referrals are among the most effective recruitment resources.
As unemployment hits 2.2 million, when out of job, you have to ensure that you are a real job seeker that wakes up early, sees himself as a job seeking manager, dresses professionally, keeps positive, network, follows leads and maintain the demeanor of someone that is keen, ready and able to impress.
What do you think the other qualities of a real job seeker should be?