JOB HUNT / 21 November 2018
Selling Yourself: Quick Start Guide for New Job Seekers
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Eva Benoit

Today’s job market is tighter than ever, and with so many vacant positions, it can seem like catching fish in a barrel. But it’s not that easy. You still have to put in some effort if you want to catch -- and keep -- your dream job.  


Your reputation precedes you

Twenty years ago, you could all but count on employers contacting your references as well as your former supervisors. While that practice still remains, more often than not, your interviewers are turning to the internet for the scoop on you. Any documented indiscretion is easily available online, and especially if your social media accounts have been left public. 


Business News Daily reports that seven out of 10 employers check their applicants’ social media at some point during the hiring process. Almost half continue to keep tabs on their employees once they are hired. Unfortunately for today’s job seekers, the internet remembers everything.


If you’re concerned about what’s lurking in your digital closet, consider contacting a reputation management firm. This is an agency with experience in search engine optimization (SEO) that can get the most truthful and positive aspects of you to the front of Google, Bing, and other search engines. By leveraging the collective power of content developers and project managers, an online reputation management company can help you put your best foot forward. Your achievements, volunteer experience, awards, and professional accolades are brought into focus through strategic content placement. These are a much better measure of your integrity and competence than a more widely-publicized past personal indiscretion. 


Making a positive first impression

Once you have the internet on your side, you should get to work polishing your resume. This is, after all, a potential employer’s first exposure to you. It’s not enough just to lump your experience onto a sheet of paper and hope that’s enough to catch their attention. It’s not. Put some thought into your resume by first determining which style is best suited to your situation. A functional resume, for example, is a composition of your experience according to skill. These are useful when changing career paths. A chronological resume is simply a list of positions you’ve held since the beginning of your career until now.


Crafting the perfect resume is an investment in time that can pay off in job offers. Once you have your information down, review it meticulously for spelling and grammar errors. Keep your summaries short, and use bullet points to highlight your most valuable experience. Remember, you only have about six seconds to capture your interviewer’s attention before your resume is skipped and forgotten completely.


Suit up

Your resume looks great and, after a Google search, your potential employers found out that you volunteer at the local animal shelter and have won numerous awards in the industry. They’ve asked to see you in person. Now, it’s time to prepare to impress. Before you interview, it’s imperative to research the company as well as the job description for the position in which you are applying. Know exactly what the company does and what’s expected of you should you be hired. You can use social media to your advantage here by perusing the company’s Facebook and the LinkedIn profiles of your future new bosses. This will give you insight as to the culture of the company and help you put together thoughtful questions to ask at the conclusion of the interview.


You’ve no doubt heard the wisdom that you should dress for success. Your job interview is somewhere this mantra should remain at the forefront of your preparations. Never show up to a job interview in dirty, wrinkled, or overly-flamboyant attire. A suit and understated accessories is an acceptable outfit for most workplaces. If you are already familiar with the company’s environment and know they are strictly casual, a pair of khakis and polo may work. Jeans, sweatpants, shorts, and flip-flops are always off the table.


Confidence is the key

Showing confidence is one of the most important things you can do for yourself during a job interview. It’s mostly achieved through simple things, such as body language and assertive conversation. Fox News explains that confidence is easily displayed by keeping your eyes forward, your back straight, and your hands out of your pockets. A firm handshake and a warm smile also go a long way toward showing your interviewers that you are self-assured. 


Although body language is important, your confidence is also measured in your interview question answers. Your interviewer will likely ask you what makes you the perfect fit for the job. Similarly, they might simply give you an open-ended query to impress them. Keep your answers simple, straightforward, and insightful. InHerSight.com covers a few of the most uncomfortable questions and how to respond like the professional you are.


Finally, don’t think that a job offer means your work is done. Your employers will watch your every move closely for the foreseeable future. Don’t get comfortable and start posting pictures of yourself taking shots or, perhaps even worse, patronizing the competition. 


It doesn’t matter if you’re in the market for your first job or are changing careers after a decade. Pay attention to your online reputation, and prepare a perfectly-polished resume and a clean suit. This will give you the confidence to keep your head held high even if things get uncomfortable.