Over the past few months, I have had a lot of job openings. These positions have been for various jobs, ranging from personal assistants to inside sales representatives.
During my short experience of hunting for qualified candidates, I have learned one really important thing about you: the only reason why you don’t have a job is because of you. So, get out of your own way!
If your jaw didn’t drop, maybe it will after you read this:
Create a good resume
When you’re submitting your resume, make sure it is short and to the point. You would be amazed at how many 5-page resumes I got when I posted an ad for a personal assistant on Monster.com.
Look, I understand that for some of you with a ton of work experience it’s hard to fit everything on one page, but ideally your goal should be to have no more than two pages. You see, when employers have to read more than two pages, they think you’re trying too hard. Not only are you coming across as desperate but it kind of brings the question as to why you’ve never been able to keep a stable job.
The other thing to keep in mind before submitting a resume is to check for grammar and spelling errors. Small mistakes like that show potential employers that you won’t be thorough with your work, which is a huge turn off.
I hate it when someone submits a job application, and all it says is:
To Whom It May Concern:
Attached is my resume. I look forward to hearing from you.
Do you think I am really going to respond to Jennifer? No way. If she couldn’t spend one minute on personalizing her resume for me, how can I trust her to deal with my customers? Show some enthusiasm—talk a bit about yourself and why you would be a good candidate for the job. A simple cover letter can go a long way.
You have to sell yourself, but don’t go overboard. If you’ve been blessed with good looks, don’t include sexy pictures of yourself. And yes, this has happened to me numerous times. It’s simply degrading! I am not going to hire someone based on her (or his, for that matter) looks. I am looking to hire people that can make me more money.
Do your homework
If you know that I am looking for a developer, make sure you do a bit of research on my company and the requirements for my job opening. Your resume should be tailored to my opening instead of being a display of your entire skill set.
Last week, I got hit by someone who said they were an excellent developer and wanted to work for KISSmetrics. I told them to email firstname.lastname@example.org with their resume because we are always looking for talented developers to join our team.
But once the KISSmetrics team looked at the resume, we noticed that it was tailored more around that person’s marketing background instead of his/her developer skills.
So, when you apply for jobs, make sure that you pitch yourself for the job opening specifically. Typically, no one is looking for a jack-of-all-trades because we know it doesn’t exist.
Be on time
If you did everything else right and you got an in-person interview, make sure you are on time. You would be surprised at the number of people who blew me off once they had agreed to the time. They were either late or just didn’t show up.
Time is money, and a potential employer won’t hire you if you can’t be on time.
If you happen to have an emergency and can’t make it, call and email the employer letting him or her know that you can’t make it and why. The chances of you not getting the job will probably increase, but at least you won’t look like a big flake.
The biggest mistake you can make is lie during an interview. You should assume that your future boss isn’t dumb. After all, he or she must have done something right to get to that position. So, if you lie, chances are you will be caught.
Tell the truth even if it can hurt you. It’s our nature to try to make ourselves look the best we can. So, when someone asks if you can do something and you can’t, be honest, but do say you are willing to learn.
If you get caught in a lie, I guarantee that you won’t be hired. If you made it this far, don’t blow it by telling a small lie.
I have had a good number of candidates that were perfect for my job openings. They went through all the steps correctly, but they forgot to do one really important thing—follow up.
If I tell you that you are hired, make sure you get back to me. You’ll be amazed at how many people just disappeared off the face of the earth after I agreed to hire them. When I finally figured out why, it wasn’t because they didn’t like my company or found a better position—it was because their personal lives distracted them.
Get your priorities straight. If you can’t, the least you can do is to let the employer know that you can’t work for him/her instead of leaving the employer hanging. It’s just common courtesy.
I know, the economy is bad, and you can’t find a job, right? Stop blaming the economy because there are a ton of job openings. You just have to look for them. Most of the people I know who own companies, including me, are all hiring. The hardest thing we are experiencing is that we can’t find people who are hungry, scrappy, and smart.
If you think you are hungry, scrappy, and smart, here is the best way for you to get a job:
- Leverage your network – companies are more likely to hire people that are referred to them. We hate wasting time on bad hires, so we’d rather reduce our risk and go with a recommendation.
- Don’t wait for an opening – the biggest mistake you can make is to only apply to companies that have job openings. If you really feel you can help a company grow and you see that the company is making mistakes, hit these people up and tell them all the things they need to fix. You will be surprised at how many companies will hire you when you do that. You will probably even get paid more.
- Don’t be shy – what’s best for the company is typically what’s best for you. Don’t beat around the bush during an interview. You’re more likely to get a job if you are upfront and tell things how they are. Don’t make the mistake of telling me what I want to hear. Instead, tell me what’s best for my business.