Have you ever wondered what went wrong during a previous job-seeking process? Do you ever think about what you could have done better or how you might maximize your chances of success in the future? Sometimes there are little things we do or don’t do that significantly affect our chances. Germantown resident and author Janice R. Jenkins (a.k.a Janice Tosto) outlines the way people undermine themselves as they look for a job. Jenkins shared her top five tips to aid job seekers on the September 23 episode of the Info Hub Hour

Do Basic Preparation 

Jenkins says job seeking should be seen as making employers feel like you’re the prize. It’s about selling yourself. So, here are small things you should do during your job-seeking process that will help present you as someone who brings value to an organization:

  • Get a professional email address. Your name and a few numbers are OK.
  • Monitor your social media because employers may be watching.
  • Clarify your career goals to narrow your searches.
  • Use phone etiquette because you never know who’s on the other side of the phone.
  • Let your references know where you applied ahead of time so they can prepare.

Update Your Resume and Cover Letter

An updated resume and cover letter should be a given whenever you’re thinking about starting a new job search. You are forever gaining new skills, but some of them may or may not be relevant to the career path you seek. Making sure your resumes are error-free and up-to-date helps your chances of being noticed by employers. When an employer requires a cover letter, you should be sure it tells a story. It should let the employer know who you are, what you offer, and why you want to work there. Remember that jobs will always ask you for references, so putting “references available upon request” is unnecessary. 

Target Your Search

You must know what company you’re applying to and what position you’re applying for. Be sure to read the qualifications. If a job explicitly states there are requirements you can’t meet, then don’t apply. If a job requires you to have a license, don’t get to the interview and reveal you don’t have one. It wastes a lot of time on both parties’ behalf. Be sure you know where you applied. Often, people lose track of where they’ve applied, especially when they’ve applied to numerous places. But, not being able to identify a position you applied for is slightly embarrassing and could also waste a lot of time. Remembering where you applied will help you prepare for the unexpected.

Show Up for the Interview and Be Engaged

While some would assume this is the most necessary step in the job-seeking process, Jenkins says you can’t imagine how many people don’t show up. It is always alright to let an employer know that you can’t make an interview or that you’ve decided to pursue another opportunity. It is never okay to be inconsiderate of anyone’s time and take a space somebody else could have had. When you’re in the interview, you should convey to the interviewer how engaged you are in the company. Employers are impressed by a job-seeker who takes notes and asks questions, as it shows their interest. When you answer questions, be sure to tell stories about your experiences at your former employers. Be sure to highlight your strengths, but don’t give too many details about your personal life.

Send a Thank You Note

Following up with an employer with a brief thank you email is both a pleasant and easy way to remind employers that you’re pushing for the position and that you’re grateful to be considered. . These take less than two minutes to send and they make a  great impression.

The Germantown Info Hub is one of over 20 news organizations producing Broke in Philly, a collaborative reporting project on solutions to poverty and the city’s push towards economic justice. Follow us at @BrokeInPhilly.

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