Quirky hiring tips are a lot of fun to read, and often quite effective. However, you shouldn’t lose sight of the old standards of job search advice. It’s important to remember the average job search takes nine months, according to The Albuquerque Business Journal, so none of these are likely to be quick ways to get hired. However, perseverance is important, even when it gets difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. While you’re plugging away at applications, uploading your credentials to a resume database and keeping your spirits up, remember these basic components of a good job search:
1. Network – No, Really
Networking is a classic technique to get a job. In fact, it’s probably the first piece of advice you’ll get from everyone. From former colleagues to your grandmother, everyone will tell you to put yourself out there and meet people who work where you want to. This might conjure up cringe-inducing visions of handing your business card to everyone from baristas to taxi drivers, but it shouldn’t. A good networking effort is focused as well as extensive.
A good statistic to motivate you is this one – 80 percent of all jobs come from referrals, according to The Albuquerque Business Journal. No matter how great your resume is (and if it isn’t great, update it as soon as you’re done reading this article), unless the right people see it, you’re out of luck.
“If you want to get hired, you must network with individuals who are employed at companies you would like to work for,” Jeanine J.T. O’Donnell wrote for the Business Journal. “You must have meaningful conversations with these individuals and discuss topics related to your skill sets and expertise. Not only does this prove to them that you are capable of doing the work, but they get to know you on a personal level and grow able to see themselves working alongside you.”
Luckily, the Internet and all it’s brought us means you can find those people on LinkedIn or Facebook, and it’s likely you’ll have contacts in common. However you find them, you need to work to get to know them.
2. Maintain a Portfolio, Even if You’re Not a Creative
Employers want to know you can deliver results. This applies for every position you’re looking at, no matter what. It’s basically required in the world of creative employment that applicants provide a portfolio that showcases what they see as their best work. You can do this too, no matter where you want to work. According to Mashable, a record of your personal best projects and contributions to former employers can bolster your resume. In some cases, it could even replace it, but that’s a strategy you shouldn’t employ unless you’re absolutely sure it has a good chance of working.
So what goes in that portfolio? This can be a confusing task, especially if you’ve never made one before. But think about it – what would you tell an interviewer who asked you about your most impressive contributions in past jobs? Put any written or visual material that backs up what you’d answer together, and you have a portfolio. Whether it’s full of presentations or financial data indicating your personal impact, it is a concrete set of documents that shows exactly how well you’ve performed in the past.
3. Stand Out
Plenty of job advice is based on helping you become much more than a resume in the eyes of recruiters. There are a lot of ways to do this, but all of them boil down to making sure you stand out. A recent NASA recruit wrote a poem to get hired, which isn’t exactly standard advice, but it works in this vein. Designers often put their expertise into their resumes, and so on. As long as you make sure you aren’t standing out for the wrong reasons (the classic story of an applicant sending a foot with his resume to “get a foot in the door” comes to mind), anything that differentiates you from the competition is a perfect strategy.
In fact, a lot of tried-and-true job advice comes down to this. Get to know people who work where you want to, so your resume will stand out because of a referral. Provide ample evidence of your success so you’ll stand out as a top candidate. Dress well so you’ll be remembered as someone well put together. It goes on, and nearly any job advice you can think of is similar.
So get out there, stand out and get hired.