2017 is shaping up to be a great time to land a job. A recent survey conducted by Express Employment Professionals, found that 76% of businesses plan to hire new workers in the first quarter. Job openings are expected to be most significant in general labor positions with 32% of respondents planning to hire in that sector. Twenty-six percent plan to hire skilled labor, while another 20% plan to hire administrative and office clerical staff. Before you apply for that new position, we’ve come up with five things to do right now to gain a competitive advantage.
Clean Up Your Social Media
There’s a good chance that any prospective employer is going to check you out on social media. You will likely be out of the running before you get a foot in the door if a hiring manager sees unflattering or unprofessional photos on your social sites. Posts that show inappropriate behavior, references to drinking or drugs, and mean or negative posts can all be instant deal breakers. Google yourself and see what comes up. Then do your best to delete photos and posts that paint you in a negative light. If you’re tagged in unflattering posts on someone else’s social media, ask politely that they be deleted. Be persistent. Then consider changing your privacy settings to prevent being tagged without your permission.
Expand Your Online Presence
Think beyond Facebook. The goal is to create an online presence that is professional, gets the attention of potential employers, and reflects who you are and what you value. A good start is to create an effective LinkedIn account. Also, create a professional Twitter account and follow companies and business people that you admire. One key thing to remember about Twitter is to focus on others. It’s more about building relationships and having conversations. There are some good tips for first time Twitter users here. Photo-driven social media platform Instagram isn’t just for selfies and pictures of your lunch. It’s a great avenue to develop your personal brand and share what you’re passionate about in a more artistic and creative way. On whichever platforms you choose, remember that every post should have a purpose. Like tiles in a mosaic, they all combine to create an image of you.
Spread the Word
Now is the time to let people know you’re ready to go to work. Don’t limit yourself to social media and online searching. Many open positions are never posted online. That’s why it pays to contact former co-workers, teachers, friends, classmates, relatives, anyone and everyone who may be able to help you.
When networking, how you communicate your needs can make all the difference. People are more likely to lend a hand when they feel like they’re helping. So instead of asking, “Do you know anyone who’s hiring?” preface it with, “I need help finding a job. Can you think of anyone who’s hiring?” If you’re apprehensive, try these tips on asking for help that may make it easier.
Rework Your Resume
You may have heard this a dozen times, but tweaking your resume should be an on-going, work in progress. There are hundreds of posts online that offer resume advice. Here are a few key tips we gleaned. First, ditch the opening “goals and objectives” paragraph and replace it with a summary statement that focuses on what you have to offer, not the kind of job you want. Be sure to lead with the most relevant information according to the job you’re seeking. Add any new skills you attained and classes or workshops you attended. Be sure to include keywords featured in posts of the jobs you’re applying for. Then it’s time to edit. If your resume is more than one page, it’s too long. Get it down to one page with an 11 or 12 point font size. Next, proofread diligently. Ask friends to read your resume and offer honest, constructive feedback.
Sharpen Your Interview Skills
Take a cue from the Scouts and be prepared. Learn all you can about the prospective employer before your interview. Be ready when the interviewer asks, “So, tell me a little about yourself.” They’re not looking for your life story, as much as how the events of your life lead you to apply for the job and why you’re a good fit. Craft your story in a compelling way, that can be told in about a minute. Another common question that torments people is “What’s your weakness?” In answering this question, it’s OK to admit a flaw, but be ready to explain the steps you take to overcome it. Again, the internet is awash with ways to strengthen your interview skills. Here are a few interview tips that may just help you get a job offer.
How do you plan to prepare to be hired? Share your knowledge and experience in the comments section below.