In a July 27th NY Times article entitled “In Job Hunting, the Pas de Deux of Seeker and Offerer,” a job seeker likened the search to “playing chess on a board I can’t see against people I don’t know.” I am quite confident that many of the consultants who have stepped through the doors of the Mettler Search office at 501 Fifth Avenue can concur.
While several of the items I’ll list below may seem simplistic, many job seekers who are tired and wary of the search are forgetting the basics. Let this blog serve as a reminder of how to shine in the crowd.
- Dress to impress. Whether you are interviewing with a hiring manager, having an informational interview or meeting a recruiter, you must present yourself in a professional manner. When in doubt, err on the formal side.
- Know your resume inside and out. We have interviewed thousands of candidates over the years and time and time again, we’ve received blank stares when pulling a specific bullet point from a resume to further discuss. This is not impressive. If you’ve done it and written about it in your resume, own it.
- Revise your resume. There are many resume writing services out there but you can figure out best practices by going online and reviewing resumes. Some of the low hanging fruit we see on poorly written resumes are education and technology located at the top rather than the bottom, too much going on (italics, underlining, multiple levels of bullet points, lack of clear dates) and wasted space with large margins.
- Be on time to interviews – not too early, not too late. Ok, we know that your mother told you this is important and she was right. Ideally, arrive for your interview with 10 minutes to spare. Approach the security guard and gain access to the building. Arrive at the receptionist approximately 5 minutes before your interview. Arriving earlier than that, or worse – later, can throw off the hiring manager’s schedule. Why start off on the wrong foot when it’s not necessary?
- Line up your references. These can make or break your candidacy in this tight market. Know where your former supervisors are and their phone numbers. We realize that many people are being asked to provide references multiple times for you. Ensure that you alert them when you give their name out and send a follow up thank you email once you know they’ve provided the reference.
- Keep your skills up to date. Stellar Excel skills (including vlookups, pivot tables and macros) are increasingly being requested by our clients. Buy a book or take a class. Prove that you can add value immediately.
- Write thank you emails to anyone who has helped you take a step closer to your next job.
Hopefully this has served as a reminder of what you can do to set yourself apart in this job market. Mettler Search is dedicated to helping people find projects, whether it is a career choice in consulting or a temporary position while you are searching for that ideal permanent role.