Being out of work for an extended period of time can be very difficult. Some job candidates let the pressure get the best of them. Whether it has six months, a year, or longer, use these ten tips to help yourself get back on track.
1. Be Specific
Make sure your cover letter is specific to the job and compelling to that position. If you wrote it as a generic cover letter than that is how its will feel to the hiring manager. Any time you can get them to stop and take notice - that is a point for you.
2. Address the Mess
Don’t be afraid to explain the gap on your resume. Address the questions that you know are going to be asked. Meeting these questions head on makes you appear confident and comfortable.
3. Present the Perfect You
Proof read, edit, proof read again. One avoidable mistake could cost you the job. Why lose an opportunity over spelling or grammar errors? A hiring manager has a stack of qualified resumes, and they are also looking for reasons to disqualify a candidate. One misspelled name or a punctuation error might be all it takes.
4. Be Professional All the Time
What did you name your resume? My Resume Version 8 may be easy to find on your computer, but not on anyone else’s. Be sure to call it something that will allow a hiring manager or recruiter to easily identify you. The same goes for your email address. Also, the professionalism principle extends to your phone numbers. Have a good professional message, preferably on your cell phone, so that number is specific to you.
5. Honesty is the Best Policy
Be careful with your superlatives; try not to oversell. While you always want to come across as confident and well-matched for the position, you need to be authentic in your approach.
6. Be Considerate
We all know that we need to arrive to an interview early, but be sure it’s not too early; 10 to 15 minutes should be the max. If you are there too early, the hiring manager may be anxious or annoyed that you are sitting out there waiting.
7. Practice Makes Perfect
If it’s been a while since you have interviewed, role play with someone you feel comfortable with. Research interview questions and practice answering them, especially the more challenging ones. Your responses can’t be canned, they need to be natural and in your voice.
8. Review your References
Have you spoken with your references lately? Are you completely comfortable with what they are going to say? Are they expecting the call? If it’s been a long time since you last spoke, let them know that you have recently interviewed and that they may be hearing from a hiring manager.
9. Use the Magic Words
A timely “thank you” still resonates with people. Don’t forget to say thank you. Ideally, send a well written, specific, electronic thank you note to everyone you met with at the company – and do it as soon as possible. Make sure you personalize them as they will likely compare. It’s also nice to follow-up with a hand written note, which is becoming less common and can help you stand out.
10. Be Confident
Pessimism and doubt are not your allies in a job search. Yes, you are competing with lots of people. Doubts won’t change that. Use these ideas to help you succeed in an ultra competitive job market.
Stuart Coleman is a Partner & General Manager of Winter Wyman’s Boston Accounting & Finance Contract Jobs division. Stuart blogs to provide strategic job search advice for candidates as they make their next career move. To learn more about Stuart and the contract finance and accounting jobs he is working on visit www.winterwyman.com. Winter Wyman is one of the largest and most recognized staffing firms in the Northeast, currently serving clients in the New England and metropolitan New York job markets.