Tips for a quick hire
Job seekers who've been out of work for more than six months have a harder time getting hired than those who are fresh on the job market. Here are tips to help you get hired fast, geared to how long you've been out of work:
Less than 6 months
This is not the time for a family vacation or for finishing the basement. The faster you get out of the gate, the faster you will get hired.
First, determine your ideal job and which employers you want to target.
Next, write a resume that looks current and is well written. Pick up a current book on resumes. “Knock ‘em Dead Resumes: How to Write a Killer Resume That Gets You Job Interviews” by Martin Yate (Adams Media) is one I'd recommend. Post your resume on job boards (Monster, CareerBuilder, etc.) and on search engines for job search (the best known are Indeed.com and SimplyHired.com). Set daily “alerts” to learn of new postings.
Update your LinkedIn profile, emphasizing skills and accomplishments. Get testimonials and endorsements.
Now, network. Wexford-based career consultant Betty Berkely says, “Nowadays, owing to overwhelming schedules, this more often takes the form of communicating via LinkedIn and emails, along with phone calls.”
Get ready for interviews and phone screens by practicing aloud. Prepare “STAR” statements — examples of Situations and Tasks where you took an Action and got a Result.
Berkely urges, “Be certain you are able to confidently and convincingly answer these two interview questions: ‘What salary are you looking for?' and ‘Why are you no longer with your former employer?' If you can master those two questions, you can handle whatever else comes your way.”
More than 6 months
Figure out a reasonable explanation for why you are still unemployed: You had to care for an ill relative who no longer needs your care; you were planning to relocate but changed your mind; you were trying to establish a consulting practice but found it was not to your liking.
Don't say you were waiting until unemployment ran out; took time off to enjoy life; weren't sure what you wanted to do next.
Once you've established your plausible reason, follow the steps above and you will be back on the job before you hit the 12-month mark.
Chris Posti is president of Posti & Associates in Pittsburgh. She can be reached via e-mail or at 724-344-1668.