By: Yolanda Owens
In the current employment climate, landing a job may feel like a task that can only be achieved through divine intervention. But if relying on a wing and a prayer isn’t part of your job pursuit, then here are five employment commandments to help you get to the occupational pearly gates.
Thou shalt not be a spaghetti thrower.
You know that old trick of testing spaghetti to see if it’s done by throwing some against the wall and watching if any sticks? Well many of you approach your job search the way.In your frustration, you’re throwing everything against the wall. We get the concept of casting a wider net. But there is no need to apply for every job on a company’s career site in hopes that one of the applications will stick.
Not only will this leave you with a mess you won’t want to clean, it will also leave employers with the impression you’re not serious about their company or putting any thought into your job search. Be strategic and thoughtful in the roles you apply to. Not seeing anything that fits what you’re looking for? Then check your LinkedIn contacts and find friends with connections to the companies you want to work for and ask for an introduction. An introduction now could lead to an opportunity later…And you won’t be wearing spaghetti on your face.
Thou shalt let hooked on phonics work for you.
Save yourself and the employers whose jobs you’re applying to some frustration and read before you respond. Whether it’s the job description, an email about an interview or potential meeting, an application, or an invitation, take the time to READ (not skim, assume, or guess) what’s being said or asked before you react.
Keep in mind that there could be hundreds of applicants applying to the same job. So the deciding factor could boil down to who’s able to read more effectively without interrupting the manager or recruiter with endless questions that have already been put in writing. Exercise patience and your reading comprehension skills and let hooked on phonics work for (not against) your job search.
Thou shalt always dress to impress.
Just because a company embraces casual Fridays or has a business casual dress code, doesn’t mean you come to your interview dressed for happy hour on the beach. Always dress in professional business attire (suit, tie, skirt, heels…) when going for interviews and make sure the clothing is clean, pressed, and presentable. You should never show up to an interview with mustardy armpits or look like a balled up piece of paper in sensible shoes. Be well dressed so you’re remembered for your many attributes and not your fashion flaws.
Thou shalt not commit stalking.
As a recruiter, this commandment is near and dear to my heart. We understand you want to get our attention and stand out among the masses. But invading personal space will not win you any brownie points in the attention grabbing game. So please don’t blindly friend recruiters and managers on their personal social networks, personal emails, websites, or personal cell phones in hopes of making a good first impression.
Trust me, this is the quickest way to get your credentials added to the recycle bin or blacklisted in larger recruiting circles. Use this as your litmus test; if you’d feel weirded out by someone doing the same thing to you, you should probably rethink your actions.
Thou shalt not talk in generalities.
Employers aren’t looking for generally speaking when reviewing candidates to fill their roles. They want candidates who can give them specific examples of what they bring to the table. So don’t come to the table regurgitating the job description or spouting what someone in the role would generally do.
Instead, talk about what you’ve done in your previous jobs to improve a process, save money, be more efficient, demonstrate your leadership or accentuate teaming skills. Then take it a step further and quantify these examples. Explain how your process improvement caused 25% fewer defects saved the company $5000 and freed up four hours a day in production time. That says a lot more to employers than the fact you created a spreadsheet.
Yolanda M. Owens is a recruiting sensei, intern whisperer and awarding-winning author of How to Score a Date with Your Potential Employer. Learn more about Yolanda and her employer “dating” tips by visiting her website or fan her on Facebook.