So you’re looking for a job. Did you realize that there are 11.3 million other people looking at the same time as well? (U.S. Bureau Of Labor Statistics) With the current economy slowly pulling itself out of a slogging, weary recession that dragged itself out over the past few years, things certainly are better than they were a year ago. This time last year, in the fall of 2012, unemployment was at a whopping 8.1 percent. It’s down this year, and job creation is up. What does that mean for you as an avid job-hunter? Well, the jobs are there, but you still need to be on the top of your game to beat out the other 11.3 million people competing for them too! When youâ€™re looking for jobs, you donâ€™t want another applicant to have even a minor advantage over you in the job search or interviewing process. Here are eight job tips that will help you get an edge up on the competition.
#1. Prepare your resume.
This is very important. Consult a professional for help, or look at sample resumes while youâ€™re building your own; this will help you come up with a high quality resume. Be sure to list all of your work experience and skills on your resume, even if some of it doesnâ€™t seem relevant; any job youâ€™ve held shows that you are a reliable worker. Furthermore, you may even want to consider doing volunteer work for awhile to bolster your resume.
#2. Prepare your references.
You should always have at least three references in mind to give to interviewers. You may want to keep their phone numbers and email addresses in your phone so you have the information on hand if needed. Also, be sure to contact your references if you give their information to an employer. You do not want them to be surpirsed by an employers call and, if you haven’t talked to them in years, possibly forget who you are when the employer asks!
#3. Search the internet.
Itâ€™s free, easy and convenient, and itâ€™s guaranteed to give you lots of results to sift through. Job search engines are specifically designed to help people find jobs, local or otherwise, and you can filter the results to suit your preferences. Check the biggest job search sites like Indeed and Monster, but also check the smaller niche sites (especially local job search websites tailored to your state or area). You may also want to consider signing up for job alerts that will notify you by email when new jobs are posted online.
#4. Check your local newspaper.
Not all jobs will be posted online, so it helps to check your local newspaper for ads as well. There may be a job posting in there that hasnâ€™t been posted anywhere online.
#5. Check individual employers.
Oftentimes an employer will not advertise job openings at all, even if they have several. Itâ€™s a good idea to regularly check the websites of local employers that interest you, and you may also want to try giving them a call every now and then to ask if they have any job openings. Furthermore, if you have friends employed at companies that interest you, ask them to inquire within their company about potential employment opportunities. It is not uncommon for employers to have on-line job applications that are constantly taking applicants, even if no specific openings are being advertised. There are numerous examples of these perpetual on-line job apps, such as the one you can see on this site.
#6. Prepare yourself for an interview.
Take time to study questions that are likely to be asked of you in an interview, and formulate your answers ahead of time. Donâ€™t forget to dress professionally and arrive early. Last, but not least, your email address and social media profiles should portray you as a mature adult. If your e-mail address is something leftover from highschool or incorporates sexualized and foolish language, get onto Gmail or Yahoo and make a new personal e-mail with your first and last name only!
#7. Familiarize yourself.
Take time to familiarize yourself with the company youâ€™re seeking employment with, and also familiarize yourself with the position youâ€™re applying for. In the interview you may be asked questions along these lines, or you may want to ask some questions of your own.
#8. Be willing to work!
Start by applying to the job postings that interest you most, then work your way down. If you get a job offer that doesnâ€™t really interest you, you should consider taking it anyway. While you think you may be qualified to work as an operations manager at a Fortune 500 company, you may only be able to sweep the floors of the local fast food chain for now, but be thankful you have work to do! At the very least, you can use it to pay the bills as you continue your job search, and being currently employed will also make your resume look much better to other companies considering you for employment.
Hopefully these tips can help you gain the edge in the current job market. The jobs are there, but so too is a large, 11.3 million person labor pool as well. Do what you can to make yourself stand out above the crowd. Get motivated, start applying, and don’t give up on the third, fourth or tenth try!
Written by David Leiter (with article contributions by Dan Sem) who works on a marketing team as a freelance writer writing about financial advice, money saving tips, job hunting, and more.