Job Search Tips: Getting Noticed to Get Hired

In our LinkedIn Group, the City Clerk Cafe, we’ve noticed more than a few clerks with the same problem: lots of clerk experience, great skill sets, but no job.

Whether you are looking for a new job in a new town, or looking to advance your career within your current office, it pays to know what employers are looking for, and what it takes to get noticed!

Based on our own hiring experience, and some tips we acquired along the way through the City Clerk Cafe’, we’ve put together a list of what it takes for job candidates to get noticed–and hired!

1. As the public demands more public outreach via the internet, social media savvy candidates are being noticed.

Social media is not just for the teens and tweens anymore.  In fact, it is the perfect avenue for demonstrating your expertise or eagerness to learn about your industry and a new technology, and is also a great way to network with people in your industry.

Sharing suggested readings and interesting thoughts via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+ is very powerful. Saying you are creative and tech savvy is one thing, but having an appropriately creative and interesting online presence proves it.

Not only does social media allow you to market yourself online, it’s also a smart move to forwarding your professional career as well. If you are youthful, there will be assumptions that you “know” social media whether you engage in the media or not, so you’d better be ready to step up and shine! As an older person, you have the opportunity to break through stereotypes and stand out as unique, all while being appreciated by others for your ability to provide social media skills for the organization.

If you don’t know where to start, consider engaging with the LinkedIn group, the City Clerk Café. This group is a great way to get your feet wet in a professional social media forum, especially if you’re a clerk interested in networking and expanding your social media savvy.

Tip: It’s a social world; time to build a trail of breadcrumbs leading to you. Include the blog, and links to any especially relevant posts, in your emails to recruiters with whom you’re working to show off your social savvy.

2. Employers are looking for more than a degree, they want professionalism and people skills.

Although professionalism and being a people person sound like vague concepts, recruiters and hiring managers can spot a candidate with these skills as soon as they enter the room. There are many different ways to exhibit professionalism, beginning with your resume and cover letter.  Is tone correct? Is everything spelled correctly? Is your resume neat and organized? Is your cover letter easy to read?

Once face-to-face, how you dress, your comfort level, confidence, manners, and etiquette are all being evaluated.  Because professionalism and communication skills come with practice, an older job seeker may have an edge over a younger person in this department.  It’s important for candidates of all ages to perform mock interviews and seek feedback about how they are perceived during an interview or first impression..

The same goes for being a “people person,” or a conversationalist–skills that are definitely in your best interest to develop, says Vicki Salemi, author of ‘Big Career in the Big City.”

“You need to be able to show that you can interact well with people, and within a group,” says the former recruiter. One way to prepare yourself for these interactions is to stay current on industry news and even water-cooler buzz. “Your resume is going to highlight your skill sets and past experience, but it won’t say if you’re going to seminars or reading trade magazines.” Before going to any outing or event, Salemi advises that you take a few minutes to read some headlines so that you’re up on the things people are likely to talk about.  It is also a good idea to have a few sentences about yourself and your experience in the industry prepared just in case.  Professionals call this your “elevator speech”–a piece about yourself that could be recited in the time it takes to ride up an elevator with employer.

In short, do your homework when meeting with potential employers.  Whether in an interview, or just in a social or networking type setting, it pays off to be prepared. “If you’re more of an introvert, get out there and practice talking to people. Go to a mixer or a church event,” she says.  Show off those professional people skills!

Tip: Either a resume writer or an SEO expert can help you increase your odds of getting through the talent management software. If you can’t afford this step, read the top career blogs for advice.

3. Change is the only thing that remains the same. Be open to learning.

If there’s one trend that’s true for all professions, it’s that you have to be adaptable and open to learning new ways of doing things if you expect to stay competitive and move your career forward. In other words, make it a habit to think beyond your job title and continually learn new things. There are no disadvantages to taking a class. You’re going to learn something, and learning shows motivation and passion.

You don’t necessarily have to go back to school for an advanced degree to stay sharp. Seek out free webinars, short-term programs, online courses, or even check out some tutorials on YouTube, ready industry magazines, or ask to job shadow a person in another department.  The more you learn, the more you know!

4. Take initiative and be proactive to show your enthusiasm for the workplace.

Bring out your go-getter attitude in the interview process. You should bring a list of intelligent questions to show your enthusiasm about the organization, and examples of your work or projects you’ve worked on. You don’t typically see in the job description, ‘We want someone to step up to the plate,’ but think about it – all employers do!

When you’re given the opportunity to start a new job — even if it’s temp work — take the initiative to figure out how things work so that you can do your job in the most efficient way possible. “Become friendly with the mail room people. Figure out the office equipment. Get an organizational chart to learn who’s who and how they relate to each other. And take cues about corporate culture,” Salemi says. “It’s important for people to see that you’re street smart and aren’t afraid to ask questions.”  Being proactive and showing enthusiasm in the workplace is a win-win.  Your employer will be happy, and you will grow and keep lasting work relationships with your natural enthusiasm.

5. The job market is tough, but don’t let the stress of job hunting “get to you” or make you bitter.

Don’t apply to jobs that don’t really interest you; it will show and come across as desperate.  Be true to yourself and your goals, as well as your experience and capabilities.  It’s good to reach for career growth, but don’t settle for a job that will bore you too quickly, or will leave you stress-ridden and full of anxiety.

Be calm – if you’re nervous, you’ll make other’s nervous. Channel nerves into controlled energy and enthusiasm of what might come.

Tip: If at all possible, don’t wait until you’re out of work to find your next job. It’s a sad fact, but your chances of finding the next job are best when you’re still employed.

6. It IS who you know.  Network like your job depends on it.

We’re not talking about a computer network – we’re talking about a people network. It’s old advice, but still true. Be visible, be upbeat, be informed about industry trends and news in your area of expertise, and be connected to and communicative with others.

If you live in a small town or if you’re new to a town, carefully research non-profits or other organizations related to the job you are seeking and volunteer! This will help you connect with people and become known in the appropriate crowd. Then maybe next time a job opening becomes open, you’ll be the first person that is thought of for it. You can also network online, through groups on social media, forums, blogs, and groups like the City Clerk Cafe on LinkedIn.  If people experience your skills and personality and know your goals, they become your career advocates! The more people you have helping you with your job search, the better off you’ll be.

7. It’s a matter of manners to send a thank you and follow up.

Don’t try once with an organization and then just quit. Stay in their radar so that you’re top of mind when the timing is right. A simple phone call or email to follow up is appropriate, and if meeting face-to-face, it is essential to write a thank you note.  You can also choose to follow the company on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, which will keep you keyed into the company’s new job postings and company business.

At the same time, don’t become a pest! How you follow up after an interview or a networking encounter can either keep you in mind for future openings, or permanently take you off their list. Have a trusted, professional friend proofread your follow-up correspondence before you send it.

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