Fred Kapel, Asst. VP – Recruiting Manager for The Inland Real Estate Group of Companies, Inc.
Conducting a job search can be a stressful and challenging experience. Here are a few quick and easy takeaways job applicants should keep in mind when seeking employment.
Remember to utilize your professional and personal social networks as a source for opportunities. Open positions are not always posted on national career boards or company websites. Searching online is always recommended and necessary, but sending your interest and résumé to five trusted people is an igniter for networking. Ask those five people to consider you for opportunities while also asking them to forward it to five additional people. This tactic has the potential to get your information in front of 25 people. If those 25 people forward your information to five more people in their network, your résumé and interest is now in the hands of 125 people – all from simply reaching out to a few contacts. Lean on your trusted network and cast a wide net.
Ask a few friends to read your résumé before you circulate it to your network. There are two main reasons to do this: spelling and grammar errors and presentation. First, a poorly authored résumé riddled with grammar, spelling and formatting errors, run-on sentences and font and tense inconsistencies will close the door of opportunity on you every single time. Second, it’s important to confirm that are you presenting yourself in your resume in a way that states a clear professional objective and history of your experience. After your friends proofread your résumé, ask them to answer a few simple questions. What level or type of position am I looking for? What skills or attributes do I bring to the table on day one? What positions have I held and where have I been working the last few years? What are my most significant accomplishments in recent positions? If your friends can’t answer these questions after reading your resume, it’s time to develop a new résumé.
Follow the company’s protocol for submitting your resume. Are they directing you to their Applicant Tracking System? Do they want you to email your résumé to one person? Do they want a phone call? Following application protocol is essential. In addition, remember to follow-up if you don’t hear anything. Submitting your résumé can feel like dropping your information into a black hole. Give it a week and then research the company, find a phone number and ask for the Human Resource or Recruiting Department. Don’t be overly aggressive on the follow-up call or email, simply make sure they received your résumé, ask if the position is still open and if there is a timeline, reiterate your interest and remind them you are available for further discussion at their convenience. However, do be prepared for the company representative to provide very little detail, some details or express interest in continuing a discussion at that exact time. This level of follow up shows your continued interest, forces someone to look at your resume and might just be the extra step that others are not willing to take.
Clean up your social media accounts, record a professional voicemail message and have an appropriate email address. These can be immediate door closers. If you get a phone interview, find a quiet place to conduct the call with limited background noise – don’t be on a bus, a train or in a crowd. If possible, try to use a landline phone instead of a cell phone for a phone interview to eliminate the possibility of a dropped call mid-interview. If you get a face-to-face interview, arrive early or on time, be the best dressed person in the room, be engaging and most importantly be prepared by researching the company and the people you’re interviewing with and knowing the job responsibilities and requirements inside and out. Prepare questions ahead of time and don’t be afraid to interview the interviewer. Interviewing is a two-way street; a company should be willing to answer your questions and make an attempt to impress you to ensure it will be a good fit. Most importantly, ask for a business card or email and follow-up within 48 hours with a thank you. Sending a follow-up thank you is a lost art, and it will separate you from other applicants in a good way.