The New Year is a new start, and there is no better time than now to be on the job hunt. Companies are reevaluating their budgets, rebranding their names and deciding what path they want to take for a year of success. You can capitalize on this fresh start by making one of your own with these four simple-but-effective tips for getting hired faster:
Recognize You are a Brand. Tweak That Accordingly. (Cough. Social Media. Cough.)
Social media is a convenient way to stay connected with friends and family, but it can also be your best friend or worst enemy when it comes to your career. The truth is that even when you have strict privacy settings in place, you are essentially still in the line of fire.
Everything you say, do and post is open to public eyes. For example, say you post a distasteful photo. (Don’t feel bad. We all do things that we don’t want the whole world seeing.) However, say this same distasteful photo catches the eye of a friend who thinks it is a pretty funny snapshot and then, they save it and t post it to their account. Enter the chain reaction of social media hell. It happens. It sucks. We have to be aware of it.
Long story short, no matter what you post or how careful that you are, your information is still going to become available to more people than you know. Because of this, you must be on your game when it comes to presenting yourself as a brand, not just another hire. Like it or not, to have a lucrative career, you must be willing to give up a little bit of normalcy. Fortune 500 companies don’t want PR nightmares. They want brand-appropriate hires. Don’t let that photo of you in a thong contest come back to haunt you…unless you are Sisco. Then, that’s just part of your résumé.
Make Sure All Your Details are Professional.
Your email address says a lot about you. Imagine that you are a boss looking for the perfect marketing mastermind to head up your department. You already know that marketers have a hard task ahead when it comes to selling themselves because we sell for a living.
Don’t let this freak you out.
This doesn’t mean that you need to overthink it because that usually backfires and leaves you with a terrible, utterly disastrous piece of copy. However, it does mean that you need to be diligent about the tiny details that other people might not consider.
Emails and user names for documents are two small details that hold a lot of weight. If your email is something like “Tina.Butts@someplace.com,” that looks professional. Nothing wrong with that. You just have an unfortunate last name. However, if your email is, “Tina.Loves.Butts@someplace.com” then you need to rethink your email address. You may also want to rethink your life path because there is more to life.
Volunteering Isn’t Just for Decorating College Applications.
I know what you are thinking, “But, Josh, I cleaned 200 hours’ worth of dog kennels in high school just to get into Penn State”. Well, did it help? I assure you it did. Regardless of if you made it into Penn or ended up getting in someplace else, volunteering makes a difference. (If not just with the admissions board, but also with the universe because, hey, I’m a bit of a modern-day-hippie. It’s ok. I own it.) It also gives you an edge, and it shows your human side—not your corporate side and even those of us IN corporate America know that “corporate” is slang for Mr. Boring.
This doesn’t have to be true, though. There is always room to be an individual even on the most cut and dry résumé. Decorating it with volunteer work can help. What do you love doing? Are you passionate about your country? Donate time to help veterans in need. Do you like kids? Call your local children’s hospital and offer to read or teach a craft lesson there as most have small event rooms for kids who are on extended stays. Do you like to dance? Volunteer at your local nursing home and dance with the residents. Trust me—you’ll feel ridiculous and GREAT at the same time. They’ll love you.
Whatever it is that you enjoy, find a way to make it work for you while you give back. It makes a difference in more ways than one.
Think About Your References.
Your old boss who hated you hardcore is not a good reference. Your mom’s best friend is not a good reference. Your mom with a talent for changing her voice is not a good reference. Sometimes the answer is the unusual one.
Did you have a teacher who loved you? Call him.
Did you have a coworker who thought you were a real team player regardless of their position? Call them.
Do you volunteer? Ask the coordinator for a reference.
There are plenty of people just within reach that will give you not only a glowing recommendation but also one that shows character. You just have to figure out who those people are.
Like anything worth it in life, sometimes snagging what you want takes time. Don’t be discouraged. If you find that you still can’t get where you want to be, I’d love to help you polish your skills, your life, and your résumé. It’s kind of my job.