27 Rules For Your Job-Search

There are an infinite number of things to consider when searching for a new job – here are 27 that are worth looking at.

1)       Network, network, network and then network more.The less time you spend reaching out to others to connect to those that they know the longer your search will take. Don’t make the Internet the focus of your search – a successful search is all about people.

2)       Be SELECTIVE on what you apply for. If you start applying to everything under the sun (especially at the same company) you will be black listed because you are wasting the recruiters/hiring managers time and will appear desperate. If you don’t meet 70% of the requirements you need not apply.

3)       Utilize all of the resources out there. Local career centers, college career centers, local career groups, etc are there to help you. If none exist where you live, create one.

4)       Find a professional association in your niche and geographic area. They are great for networking and information.

5)       Your email address might be killing your job-search! Your email address should be PROFESSIONAL (john.doe@comcast.net) and NOT include the year of your birth. hotchick@hotmail.com, utfan@bellsouth.net, etc are UNACCEPTABLE!!!

6)       Don’t count on anyone else to do your job search, it is a YOU project! You are responsible for you!

7)       Things are changing – utilize LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com), Facebook (www.facebook.com), MySpace (www.myspace.com), and Twitter (www.twitter.com) in your search. Employers are on all three – why aren’t you. If you have any questions on how to use them Google a “how-to” on each.

8)       Have a plan for your job search and work that plan. Those without a plan get frustrated and don’t have the success that those with a plan have. After you put your plan together find someone to hold you accountable to it.

9)       Your voice-mail could be killing your search. The out-going message on your phones should feature you and be professional.

10)   If Oprah and Dr. Phil are part of your daily job-search routine you are in trouble. Enough said.

11)   If you have one ounce of poison in your system because of your current situation people will not touch you with a ten foot pole. Attitude is HUGE!!!!! If you have a bad attitude nobody will want to be around you.

12)   You need to be able to articulate what it you want to do. Nobody else will try to figure it out for you.

13)   You need to speak the same lingo that companies are speaking for your job function. If you and a potential employer are speaking a different language about the position you have no chance.

14)   Have you done any market research on what employers are really looking for in your job-function? If not – you are DEFINITELY missing the boat!!

15)   What value do you bring to an employer? How can you impact their bottom line? No one is going to figure it out for you!!

16)   If you need a contact at a company do some research (remember it is a YOU project).Call those you know to ask, look on LinkedIn, Facebook, and MySpace, and then Google the department and company. If those don’t work, keep looking.

17)   Everyone should get a handwritten thank you note that has been a part of your search. That includes receptionists, administrative assistants, friends who bake you cookies, etc. You need to show appreciation to those that help you.

18)   The more you prepare for an interview the better it will go. Preparation breeds confidence and confidence equals success.

19)   Job-search is a numbers game. The more you put yourself out there and hear “no” the closer you are to a “yes.”

20)   Get creative in your job-search.Have you put a YouTube video resume up? Have you started a focused networking group? Have you created a website about you? Have you gone outside your box to try to make things happen?

21)   Are you realistic in your job-search (salary, location, job function desired, etc)? If not, you need to be.

22)   If you are making a complete career change you will take a salary cut 9/10 times. You are not as valuable in that new area.

23)   Acting desperate will kill your chances!It is OK to be desperate – just don’t let networking contacts and potential employers see it.

24)   Don’t get stuck.Have multiple things going on at any given time so that if you don’t get a callback you expected you don’t have to start over again.

25)   Volunteer! Volunteering is a great way to keep your skills current, expand your network, and help others out.

26)   Post your résumé on the job-boards. Employers and recruiters search the job-boards so why aren’t you on there? You can leave off your last name, address, and phone number to give yourself some confidentiality – just make sure you check your email!

27)   Be strong and courageous! Be not afraid nor dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go! Joshua 1:9

After reading this list what ‘rules’ would include in order to be succesful in looking for a new opportunity? I look forward to hearing your thoughts, ideas, and suggestions.

Until next time, good hunting and good luck!

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43 responses to “27 Rules For Your Job-Search

  1. I just found a new position after being laid off 2 months ago. The position I utimately took was one I found by networking. The position was not even available at the time of the first interview, so obviously not posted. Networking is very, very important if not the most important. However, I did find success in using http://www.indeed.com. This is a great site because it includes all of the other sites in one place and can be sorted by date. This was a great tool as well. I would include this site in your number 7.

    Thank you,

    Gary Buckles

    • I do agree, http://www.indeed.com and http://www.simplyhired.com are two great sites that pull jobs from every avenue. They are great resources.

      Networking is very important. It has taken me three months to gain employment and I accepted an offer today. I found my job on Indeed. The copany I interviewed with only posted their job on their company website for 1 day and pulled it. Indeed.com saw it and added it to my daily list.

  2. I disagree with Rule #5 because who has the time to create and check on another email account? My personal email address just has the first letter of my name, my full last name, and showing that I’m a fan of a local sports team. What is wrong with that? In my opinion, it shows that I have a life that is not illegal…just a fan of my favorite team, that’s all. Sometimes, during the interview, it works as an “icebreaker”.

    Also, I agree with Rule #17 but does that include talking to a recruiter from an employer agency such as Staffmark, etc.? I am so confused on that.

    There is one rule that I would love to see about in terms if your last employer has either giving out a bad reference on you or gave the reason on why she/he was letting you go that was “pretty shady” (ie: not giving out a legit reason why upfront and when talking to a potential employer). Now, I know that I’m not the only one who is in the same boat but what it is effecting on my job search? Should I remove them as a professional reference? Try to make a positive spin from it? What do I need to do on handling this? The reason why I’m asking is because in my opinion, it’s really effecting my job search pretty much.

    • Amy,

      It is hard to check a lot of emails, however, if you set up all of yoru accountsin one email system, then you only have to go to one area. I use Windows Live mail to check all of mine.

    • Hey Amy –

      It is fine to advertise who your favorite sports team, etc is in your email address but you have to realize (if your luck is like mine) you will send an email to the one hiring manager who hates that team and won’t want to speak to you.

      I have seen people get weeded out of the process for less than that, especially in a market like we have right now.

      Matt

    • Hi Amy –

      On the subject of references, if your last employers is giving bad ones, you can be sure it is affecting your job search. Here are two ideas:
      1) I would never list references on a resume – that comes later after an interview or two and
      2) I wouldn’t just give the company name and phone number – give the name and phone number of someone who will give you at least a neutral reference. (Yes she worked here those dates, this was the job she did.) An immediate supervisor is always a great reference, but if you didn’t have a good relationship with him/her I think it’s fine to give a colleague’s name instead (after checking with the colleague, of course). If you can’t do that, I would use the HR director as he/she is more likely to know that saying the wrong thing can land the company in legal problems.

      Good luck!

      Natalie

    • Having been a recruiter for a staffing agency in a past life, I say, “Yes!” send each recruiter a hand-written thank you note the first time you meet them, and any other time you think appropriate (after you have gone to an interview they arranged, or especially after you accept a position through them). Recruiters, just like hiring managers, are inundated and need something that makes you stand out. And showing your gratitude just helps people be willing to go an extra step for you. Be as professional with them as you are with anyone else, and if they’re not being professional with you don’t just not send a thank you note, find a different recruiter.

    • Amy–The full Yahoo e-mail account allowas you to create ‘disposable’ addresses that come to your regular inbox in a different color. Also, if you start getting to much junk, you can ‘dispode’ of that address and start over.

  3. Kevin Atkinson

    Great tips Matt. One addition I would make is to ensure a job-seeker tailors their resume to the specific position to which he/she is applying. For example, if an applicant is applying for an IT position with a hospital, their chances of scoring the interview would be increased if the resume highlights similar experiences. Same with the objective portion on a resume. I see a ton of resumes come my way where the person lists an objective to work in an industry totally unrelated to the one for which they are applying.

    • Teauna Upshaw

      I agree with you to tailor your resume to the specific job you are seeking. Also, I suggest to be mindful of your education listed. For example, listing that you have most recently completed a Dental Assistant program and applying for a position in my Accounting Department, is a red flag to me. I would question your interest in Accounting and you most recently graduated from dental school even with Accounting experience.

  4. 17) Everyone should get a handwritten thank you note that has been a part of your search. That includes receptionists, administrative assistants, friends who bake you cookies, etc. You need to show appreciation to those that help you.

    Enough Said… Don’t just send an email. Take time and send the hand written thank you note. It will be remembered. Maybe not now, but when it is needed it will be remembered. And above all…Thank God daily for what he has given you.

    • I definitely agree with Lisa on the handwritten note, and if you can hand delivery the note to reception, whereby they get it first thing in the AM, even better.

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  6. Great tips Matt. Thanks. Another addition may be to take a fresh look now and again at your resume. I was laid off at the end of October and am still not in a permanent new role. I revised my resume a month ago and got it to one page with highlights, used my network for edits/feedback and have a new look, new energy and new interests in the search. I also have networked through my own contacts, recruiting agencies, and followed up with companies I’ve tempted for in the interim.

    • Hi Laura,

      Can you share your one page resume with me? I was intrigued by the look/appearance with your result. I utilized the services of a professional and am not receiving “hits.”

      Thanks,

      Rick

  7. Great article! I just sent the link out via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Thank you!

    Jenny

  8. Pingback: 27 Rules For Your Job-Search « A Recruiters Guide to the Universe « Job Search Techniques

  9. I totally agree with using good job boards in your search.However, there seems to be a plethora of new “linked job boards”, which do nothing but scrape job listings from many other sites and display them on their site. The result is that a job seeker looks at the same job listing over-and-over on many different job boards.

    On our medical sales job board, http://www.gorillamedicalsales.com , we never link our medical sales jobs to other boards. Therefore, many of the jobs listed on GorillaMed are unique to our board.

    The point is that some of the pay-to-view job boards have jobs which you will never see on the generalist boards. If you are serious about finding a job, paying a nominal fee to access these jobs may be the best investment you can make in your search.

  10. This is a great list. I would add that if you are in a specialized field find a reputable recruiter that places people in your field. Also consider working with a Job Search Coach to help you stay accountable to your job search goals.

  11. Great thoughts and I agree with them all. Here are 5 I would add:

    • Take no for an answer when someone tells you a position is not a fit for you. This advice is contrary to our instincts. We are taught that giving up is what “quitters” do. The reality is that a handful of people are more qualified. We want to hang in there and state our case, but resist the urge to go into selling mode. Most people don’t have enough information about the position to overcome the objections and be perceived as argumentative. The alternative is asking, in a non-confrontational way, ‘what experience you lack that is important for the role’. Let the hiring manager know that if you run across anyone with that experience, you will refer them. Conclude the interaction by thanking the hiring manager for his or her time and candor. You will be remembered in a positive way.

    • Do not use a completely functional resume. When a resume comes across as vague/unfocused, it throws up red flags. Your recent experience is most relevant. Being vague is not an effective strategy.

    • Be prepared to discuss salary. Compensation is a “level setter” and most compensation levels are in line with the experience sought. It’s okay to skirt the salary question when asked the first time (“I’m sure if you made me an offer, it would be fair”, etc…). But if someone comes back with the same question again, you need to answer. Even if it is something like “My base and bonus have been in the $75,000 range. Is that in line with this position?” A candidate who is upfront and realistic is refreshing.

    • Leave the cologne in the bottle! Do not run the risk of offending someone’s sense of smell or aggravating someone’s allergies. Candidates have had interviews cut short because the person they were meeting with could not be in the same room.

    • Job seekers have tradidionally been told to get as many face-to-face meetings as possible. Even networking or informational meetings could turn into something, right? That is true, but as unemployment rises, people are getting increasing numbers of requests for meetings, while also being tasked with doing more with less on the job. I hear job seekers ask all the time, “Why can’t people just return my call or take 15 minutes to meet with me?” It seems like a reasonable request and we hear more frustration from job seekers on this topic than anything else. We agree that getting in front of someone is better than sending a piece of paper, but people are swamped. Your approach should be one of consideration that the hiring executive may have a lot on his or her plate, especially if the call is unsolicited. It also doesn’t hurt to mention you are not asking for a job [and mean it] but would appreciate the opportunity to learn about the company and introduce yourself. If that person does not feel put on the spot, it is more comfortable for him or her.

  12. Pingback: 27 Rules For Your Job-Search « A Recruiters Guide to the Universe « Technopodge

  13. I find this article a great resource. Today makes 7 months that I have been unemployed. I feel like I have been doing most, if not all, of the rules. I send hand written thank you’s, I am a member of several associations in my field, attend networking funcitons, the list goes on. My biggest issue is that I was laid off from my first job out of college (economical cut backs, not performance related in any way). I have a four month internship and 9 months of work experience. I’m looking for something entry-level or something that requires minimal experience. Having such a large gap–in relation to amount of time I worked–is killing me. I am looking for a marketing/communiations assistant type position, but I’ll accept anything at this point.
    Any pointers, commnents, hints, tips or tricks would be very much appreciated!!
    Thank you!

    • Hi Kate,

      One of the hardest hit job families in this economic downturn is Marketing. I think most recruiters/hr people know this and will not hold it against you. But not working can feel non-productive. Couple of ideas, if you haven’t already, get to a temp service and register or start filling that gap with volunteer work. Be careful of saying “I’ll take anything at this point” like you did above (relates to rule 23 above). What you want to articlualte is: ‘because marketing positions are not readily available, you want to look at being productive and building your skills where there is opportunity.’

      The hesitancy with people that appear desperate is that they can make bad decisions because of their immediate needs. Recruiters and employers always appreciate objectivity with regard to positions and mutual long-term fits.

      Good luck!

  14. I would add two :

    If looking for work make sure your emotional IQ is in check.
    Also, get up at the same time as you did when you were working.
    Sure, it is tempting to ‘sleep in” , but getting up at the same time keeps
    you in a routine mode.

  15. Excellent information/reminders, Matt!

    I especially thank you for # 27. The Lord has always (during employment and unemployment)taken care of me. He is always faithful!

    Keep up the good work! Thank you.

    Riasat

  16. Matt LeBlanc’s tips make a lot of sense. I would emphasise #19 (“The more you put yourself out there and hear “no” the closer you are to a “yes.”” – nicely put!) Expanding Matt’s point on a personal level, acknowledge to yourself that jobhunting involves rejection and requires a thick skin. I suggest the following strategy, which helps me to keep a positive frame of mind:-

    At the initial application stage, set your measure of success simply as OBTAIN A RESPONSE whether it’s “yay” or “nay” (rather than MAKE THE INTERVIEW SHORTLIST). Aim for a realistic number of responses per week consistent, of course, with maintaining the quality of each one AND the essential >70% profile-match rule (Matt’s rule #2).

    Furthermore, be proactive in obtaining a response to your application; call agencies first (discuss the role and let them know your application is coming) then follow up with another call (confirm they received it). Subsequently, ALWAYS ASK FOR FEEDBACK.

    Of course, you will still be constantly aiming to improve your hit rate (the all-too-elusive interview invite). To this end, track your application stats and experiment with changes in a controlled way. E.g. do you suspect your donkeylove@rotmail.com email is an obstacle? So try registering with a new email address on a different jobsite and see if your hit rate improves.

  17. Good information, Matt!
    I would add some two simple suggestion:
    – be yourself
    – tell the true

    And one more thing.
    Try first to solve all the relational and “psychological” questions related to your present job, otherwise you will bring them in the new one. Sometimes people try to solve their problems changing job (one after another) and they don’t realize that a good way to feel well with your job (and your life in general) is to work on themselves and not on the outside.

    Flavio

  18. The Rules are certainly a great starting point about thinking and researching and networking in a way that works best for each individual.

    I am looking for any feedback from anyone’s experience as being “overqualified” for a given position. If you are open to new opportunities and a paycut, how do you de-emphasize some of your experience or education? Should you even bother to apply? Any key words or a phrase that you may suggest when you are applying for a position that you may be considered overqualified for?

    Thanks in advance!
    Anna

    • Hi Anna,

      I have asked the same question a few times around and haven’t really been given a straight answer. If you get one, would you mind sharing? 🙂

      Thanks! 🙂
      Laura

    • Tagged as being overqualified is a real dilemma, especially for those who are perfectly willing to take a paycut in their quest to make a career change. While this may not work in all cases, you can increase your chances of getting past the “overqualified” tag by doing two things with your resume:

      First, in your objective or summary, specifically state that you are seeking a career transition into [your new career field].
      Second, “tone down” your resume by emphasizing only those things you’ve done that relate to your new career field. That includes focusing on those things that demonstrate your transferable skills, like problem solving, communication, customer service, etc. Don’t include all the high powered technical jargon you might have used if you were applying for something in your original career field.
      Dorothy

  19. Great information Matt — thanks so much for sharing. I have now added a few things to my TO DO list for the next week! We have an amazing job seekers network here in Austin and I will also share it with them.

    I have learned that that are so many people who want to help. I am inspired by that and try to do the same by sending job leads and helpful tips like these on to others.

    Pat

  20. Excellent article Matt. It’s imperative to create your own brand when hunting for that next job. I’ve done it and it works. Also, networking is the key to all business and job search success. Be sure to jump at every opportunity.

    • Hi Chuck,

      People are talking and buzzing about making their own brand, but I have not really seen a “how-to” out there. I’m not a marketing pro 😉 How did you make your own brand?

      Thanks a million!
      Laura

  21. The rules are great and ofcourse networking is probably the single most important tool.
    However I have over 9 yrs of experience in the financial services industry in India and have just moved…therefore my network is..if anything…limited!!
    Would you have any suggestions/ thoughts for someone in my kind of situation? I have tried professional networks like those on Linked in…but that hasnt helped much.

  22. I very much appreciated this list, Matt. I discovered it through a LinkedIn list.

    In March 2009 I started a job search networking group at our church and will be sharing this list with the group members at tomorrow’s session.

    Thank you for this resource! Also, thank you for including #27. Sometimes we can forget about the spiritual aspect of our lives. It was refreshing to see that you remembered.

  23. Pingback: Job Search Rules…27 of Them « Ready, Set, Work’s Blog

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    I agree with most of your points, specifically #8. I teach an entire workshop http://tangible-june-2009.eventbrite.com/ just on that one point “Having a plan”.

    All other points are very sound. I disagree however with points 19 and 26 — too much exposure and resumes floating around could actually hurt you and picture you as a desperate job seeker, and these two points sort of contradict point 2, which I think is very true, “Be selective and focus”.

    • I think you do have to be selective, but you also have to be ‘searchable.’ If no one can find you, you area at a great disadvantage.

      I think appearing desperate is the kiss of death in a search but if you do it right (putting your info out there) it can have a positive impact on your search.

      Thanks for reading!

  25. Well done Matt,

    I have utilized indeed.com and I try to network via Linkedin as much as possible. Seeing your list reaffirms to me that I’m taking the right approach to my search.

    Thanks!

  26. Pingback: General Job Search Advice « Chemical Space

  27. Two more for the list

    28. Dress for success. You are advertising YOU every time you set foot outside your home. Take a look at what you are wearing. Would you hire you? Sweatpants and T-shirts with colourful sayings should be left in the drawer. Aim for business casual and up. You never know who you will meet at the bank, grocery check out line, kid’s softball game, Starbucks, Home Depot, recycling centre, etc.

    29. Have a personal business card. It’s a vital networking tool. If the person you impressed today can’t find you tomorrow when they find a job opportunity for you, then it’s your loss not theirs.

    Cathy

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