Catherine's Career Corner
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May 15th, 2009
Want a Job? See These 20 Tips

  1. Whatever you do in looking for a job, always focus on securing an interview first and foremost. People hire people, almost always from one to one or face to face interviews. Nothing else matters nearly as much. Make this a number one priority.
  2. You are probably asking how – Prepare a great cover letter that sells and a customized or targeted resume or CV for each position you apply for. Ensure that you make yourself that company’s missing puzzle piece and that you will fit right in at the interview.
  3. Ask yourself these questions: “What can I contribute to the company and why should they hire me?” “How will I contribute my skills to get results for them?” Trust me, this is music to your employer’s ears and this involves more productivity, saving costs, retaining customers and increasing efficiency.
  4. Always seek professional help on the documents that determine whether your career will stay afloat or get stuck below. Some skills are a niche market, be sure to investigate the most desired skills for the job of your dreams.
  5. Always seize the opportunity to network. “It is not what you know but who you know.” In your circle of friends and associates who might know somebody who knows somebody else that owns a company or hiring? Imagine who you could rub elbows with at a party or any other event. These connections are the magic beans that great jobs sprout from. Sharing and caring about your neighbour is also what makes a community great. Get out there and be part of it. Join a group, association or join LinkedIn and other networking sites.
  6. The competition is fierce out there now. Depending on the medium the average, job listing gets 70-120 CVs.  Guess what, it is actually twice as effective just going directly to the employer and getting the interview before they place an ad? Less competition of course. A compelling cover letter is exactly what opens doors.
  7. Have your references updated and contact info verified. Also, it is vital to check and see what your past employers are saying about you.
  8. Target high growth industries and careers where there are shortages of skilled workers. Your passions or desire for career stability may lead you in a new exciting direction. Look up Fastest Growing Careers on all search engines. By focusing on flourishing industries and careers you may be pleasantly surprised to find they value and appreciate your skills more.
  9. Analyze why it is that you are still without a job is. Which area is your weak point? Getting interviews, sending out great cover letters and CVs, or is it the interview themselves – sit with a career counsellor to focus on your area of weakness with you.
  10. Getting hired for a temporary job while you are looking often times may lead to a permanent position directly or indirectly via networking. This means it is a winner for both parties involved. Don’t overlook this avenue because good news sometimes comes in small packages.
  11. Don’t use ‘one CV goes for all’ style. All the CVs and cover letters should be customized for each targeted position. Honestly you have 5 to 15 seconds to interest your potential employer.
  12. Change your focus. Expand your job search if possible: Non-profit, State and Federal Government, Education, Law Enforcement, Self Employment, Relocation, Healthcare, Management, Tourismetc.
  13. Research your targeted employer before the interview. Is profit trending up, remaining level or down? Are they hiring, maintaining, or reducing their workforce? Are they a leader or a laggard in their industry? Are they unionized? All this and more can be honed from search engines and media searches on the internet.
  14. Learn, adapt and change. If you’ve been unemployed for more than 3 months a little change is called for. Try paddling down stream instead of upstream. Are you following your passion? Enthusiasm is hard to fake in interviews. Maybe you are bored stiff with your current profession and it shows. Are they doing you a favour by not hiring you?
  15. Change your focus and change your life. Change happens at the speed of thought. Opportunity is everywhere! Maybe it is slightly disguised. Post signs to that effect where they will be seen repeatedly.
  16. Live with an attitude of gratitude. Spend some thinking time everyday on counting all your blessings this is a great mental exercise in gaining perspective. As you distance yourself from your problems they shrink. If you give happiness a foothold as part of your everyday routine it might just gain a stronghold. The difference will certainly be noticed on your interviews. Body language, attitude, professionalism and mood are huge factors in performing well under pressure.
  17. Follow up and send thank you letters after an interview. A lot of folks are good starters. By demonstrating you are a good finisher again you are setting yourself apart from the masses. Maybe one out of ten people take the time to write them. Do it, you will move ahead 5 spaces. Of course you will be remembered. Sometimes the first person hired doesn’t work out and two weeks later, you might get the first call. If you can’t be a starter, you can at least be a bench warmer – the goal is to get hired!
  18. Think back on all the folks you helped. Perhaps they are in a position to help you and you do not even know it. Reach out and touch someone. Ask them if they know anyone who is in a position to help you get an interview. It is so simple and effective it is often overlooked.
  19. Take advantage of your local Job Centres. They have career counselling, job placement assistance, job banks & even training programs to update your current skills. The talent these folks have is far greater than you might expect. Often times they are the first people to know of a new mass hiring campaign. Naturally they have connections with the right people too.
  20. Whenever possible try to kill two birds with one stone. While you are out on one interview, on the way back stop by another business for a visit. Talk to the employees; casually mention the fact that you are just killing time between interviews. Many bright employees are aware of company bounties that are paid for referring new employees to their company. More realistically this is a great time to get inside info from the folks who really know. Make a new friend.

Above all though, be proactive and make job searching your full time job if you have no job. Remain positive and be enthusiastic.

Do you have any other tips to share with us, please let’s hear from you.

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Catherine Adenle
Founder, Catherine's Career Corner. The career site empowering and inspiring ambitious candidates of all ages and professions to thrive and work smarter on their careers. Gladly helping all career-minded people worldwide to explore their career, manage change and understand how new technologies are changing and enhancing the future of work.
Catherine Adenle
Catherine Adenle

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