There are plenty of jobs out there in the big, scary world that require degrees with various acronyms from prestigious schools. There are also jobs that say those credentials are “preferred”, but in reality, the recruiter is just looking for a smart, reliable person who isn’t an ass.
We all know that there are more folks out there applying for jobs than jobs to fill. There may be a hundred people going after the job you want – or more if it’s at a high profile company. Yes, your resume (or, very likely, your LinkedIn profile) is one thing that will help get you an interview. However, it’s not necessarily the thing that will get you the job.
Here is a quick list of simple, practical things that will help you when job searching for anything from comic book store clerk to a creative director:
WHAT CAN HELP GET YOU THE INTERVIEW
Good Recommendations – Do you get your work done on time? Do you know how to dress yourself? Do coworkers tell you how happy they are that you work with them? Ask those people to say all of those nice things about you on LinkedIn (in the form of a recommendation). It will help.
Help Others and They May Help You – Be nice. Make friends. Help them because they are awesome, and maybe they will help you one day. However, do not befriend someone simply because they may be helpful – karma is a bitch and no one likes to be used.
Present Yourself Well Online – No matter how “private” your settings are on Facebook, assume that everything you post there (on your own wall and others) is public. If you would not want your coworkers today to see what you’re sharing on any social network, DO NOT POST IT. Make sure all of your social media profiles, especially Twitter, are up to date and present you well.
Persistence – Do not just submit your resume and assume anyone will care. Follow all of the instructions a company provides, and follow up with their HR manager or the contact they provided when you submitted. Also, look to see if you know anyone who works there. An internal recommendation can go a long way. (However, if the person inside may not view you favorably, it’s better not to mention your connection.)
WHAT TO DO ONCE YOU’RE IN THE DOOR
Follow Wil Wheaton’s Rule of “Don’t Be a Dick” – If you go into an interview with a chip on your shoulder, there are a select few who will respond well to that. Most, however, will try to get you out of their office or store ASAP. Be friendly – it doesn’t make you look weak.
Be Confident, not Cocky – It’s a fine line to walk, so practice with friends or family that won’t judge you.
Regardless of the Job, Wear Clean Clothes and Take a Damn Shower – The more put-together you look, the better. I’m not saying wear a suit to an interview at Game Stop, but don’t be a shlub. But DON’T OVER DO IT. Wearing an outrageously expensive outfit to an interview for a junior position can make you look entitled and materialistic.
No Swearing – Even if the guy interviewing you is your pal, keep your words nice and PG-13 at most. You never know what might set someone off. Save that language for when they want to get a beer with you later.
Use Your Words – You’re smart enough to have gotten through the door, so don’t clam up once you’re actually speaking to someone. Answer their questions, and don’t be afraid to say “I’m not sure, but I will find out.” or “I don’t have experience with that specifically, but I am a quick learner.” Ask them questions that you’ve come prepped with. Above all, be yourself!
The tips above are certainly not a comprehensive list of everything you need to do when job searching, but they will help give you an advantage over people only thinking about their “credentials”. Now go out there an get employed!