When hunting for a job in a weak economy, every detail counts. It's no longer good enough to be a qualified applicant; you must also be a stellar job-seeker who understands the recruiting process.
Review these pointers to tweak your approach.
How would you rate your confidence? If it's anything less than 10 out of 10, you're hurting your chances of getting hired. I know that's easier said than done when you're out of work, but confidence is king. Now more than ever, employers want to avoid downers. They're seeking "can-do" candidates who can get their organization through challenging times.
Give yourself what I call a head-to-hand reality check. Start with your head: When talking to anyone about your search, maintain clear eye contact. Stand tall with shoulders back. Always extend a firm handshake. (No wimpy, fish-like handshakes!) When I meet someone who aces these confidence factors, I'm always impressed— and I'm more inclined to offer leads, advice and assistance to support their efforts.
Are your resume and cover letter flawless? I'm not just talking about spelling and grammar mistakes, although you absolutely must avoid both. Generic profile statements and objectives are a turnoff. The first few sentences at the top allow the reader to make a split-second decision about you. Click here to compare your resume to a winning format.
Cover letters are also critical. Don't send e-mails to friends or colleagues with a generic plea for help. My pet peeve is the e-mail that says, "Here's my resume. Let me know what you have for me." I rarely open resumes unless the accompanying e-mail or cover letter explains what the sender is looking for and the kind of experience he or she has. Click here to compare your cover letters to this proper format.
Are you standing in your own way? So often job-seekers are their own worst enemies. By this I mean they don't adjust their expectations to the realities of the current economy. Don't let this happen to you. Would it be better to hold out for months and months for the "perfect" job -- while also accumulating debt and depleting savings -- or would it be better to accept something that's "just fine" for now? Make sure you're not holding out for something that just isn't going to happen now.
Stop relying on the big job boards. Julie, the single mom of three kids whom I coached to get a job offer, spent every morning searching on the Internet. She relied almost exclusively on the big job boards, even though her resume was winding up in a big black hole. The offer she received from TicketsAtWork.com, which is a corporate discount program for employers to offer as a benefit to staffers, was never advertised on CareerBuilder or others. (TicketsAtWork.com, a Florida-based company that's growing in this economy, has opportunities available including customer service representatives, account executives, Internet marketing managers and more.)
Julie was also offered a position as a content specialist for Career Step, a leading medical transcription and coding online training program. She'll perform this work from home on nights and weekends to earn money to replenish her depleted savings as a result of her unemployment. Consider side jobs to help you do the same.
Tory Johnson is the CEO of Women For Hire and the Workplace Contributor on Good Morning America. Visit her Web site at www.womenforhire.com.