Credit: Job Search Image via Shutterstock
The past year was filled with stories offering suggestions for job hunters looking to increase their chances of landing work. Here are the top 20 pieces of advice that job seekers can use to jumpstart their job search in the New Year.
[To read the full article featuring each expert, just click on their name]
Donald Kluemper, management professor at Northern Illinois University
With social media as popular as ever, it is critical that job seekers be extremely careful about what they post on Facebook, Twitter or any other online outlet that an employer might see.
"One perspective that job seekers need to realize is that there is little hope of coming back from ill-advised posts or comments made in poor taste on their profile," Kluemper said.
Alexandra Levit, business and workplace consultant and Career Advisory Board member
With the job market especially tough on college students, younger job seekers should be taking advantage of the career resources offered on most every campus.
"Students are missing an opportunity to benefit from the full range of services career centers provide while they are still in school. College and university career centers offer tools and coaching to empower students to succeed in their job search. They are more than just job placement centers," Levit said. "In today's competitive employment landscape, the interview coaching, job search guidance and even simple 'résumé review' that campus career centers provide can make the difference in getting their first job."
Robert Dickie III, president of Crown Financial Ministries, a nonprofit financial organization.
While finances may be a significant motivating factor in taking a job, money shouldn't be the main reason to choose one.
"This error is so established in our culture that it'll take a strong commitment to a larger vision to choose a job based on talents, rather than on money alone," Dickie said. "And if that high-paying job disappears, your résumé advertises you with skills in a profession you may hate."
Roxanne Hewertson, principal of the Highland Consulting Group
It is important for those after a new job to not ask the wrong questions during an interview. Asking if a company has on-site child care, for instance, advertises the candidate's family status, which can come back to bite the interviewee.
"Since they can't legally ask about your family, you could leave them with the impression that your children's child care is not just a consideration but a problem," Hewertson said. "Once you have the job offer, you can ― and should ― feel free to ask about child care options, but not before."
Jonathan Nafarrete, director of social outreach at BLITZ Agency in Los Angeles
Although Facebook may be the most popular social network, developing a presence on other networks is just as important for those in search of a new job.
"Employers love to see individuals with a professional online résumé presence," Nafarrete said. "Profiles at sites such as LinkedIn and About.me show a level of professionalism and seriousness about your career."
Sara Sutton Fell, CEO of FlexJobs, a job service site for finding flexible employment
While job seekers are eager to share details about themselves to potential employers, there is a fine line between sharing good information and revealing too much.
"I once had a candidate apply for a job, and listed on his résumé under 'Awards & Honors' was 'Pig Wrestling Champion – multiple wins in the large pig division,'" Fell said. "This information, while it did most definitely differentiate the candidate, wasn't in the least related to the job at hand, and was more of a distraction than a positive addition to his application."
Amanda Augustine, job search expert for TheLadders
While a job interview itself is important, what a candidate does once it's over can be equally critical.
"Many job seekers believe that the interview is over once they step out of the office, but that's simply not the case," Augustine said. "I can attest firsthand that failure to follow up can be the deciding factor in rejecting a candidate who is otherwise a great fit."
Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps
Research this year revealed that 60 percent of human resources managers form a positive or negative opinion of job candidates in 10 minutes or less, meaning job seekers have to make a positive impression from the second they walk through the door.
"Candidates are under scrutiny from the moment they arrive for an interview," said Max Messmer, Accountemps chairman. "Job seekers should convey their professionalism, including through their body language, and be able to quickly highlight the value they bring to the organizationusing a well-honed elevator pitch."
John Reed, senior executive director of Robert Half Technology
Those in search of work should consider looking for internships – paid or unpaid – to show they have the ability to make meaningful contributions early-on.
"Employers expect new hires to contribute right away, and experience gained through internships can help recent graduates hit the ground running," Reed said.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, television host
When searching for a job or going after that dream career, it is critical to fight through the difficult times.
"Never, ever give up. Just stay the course. Slow and steady wins the race, and enjoy the journey," Oz said.
Ford R. Myers, career coach, speaker and author of the book "Get The Job You Want, Even When No One's Hiring" (John Wiley & Sons, 2009)
When applying for new employment, it is important to draw on a variety of past experiences in both paid and unpaid positions.
"These transferable skills, acquired during any activity — volunteer positions, classes, projects, parenting, hobbies, sports — can be applicable to one's next job," Myers said. "By adding transferable skills to a résumé, employers get a better understanding and broader picture of who they are hiring — as well as the interests, values and experiences that the candidate brings to the table."
Greg Kaplan, economics professor at the University of Pennsylvania
While certainly not the first choice of many, research this year found that workers who moved back home after losing their job set themselves up to get a better position later on. The study discovered that by living at home they did not need money immediately, so there wasn't pressure to rush into a job with low future-earning potential.
"Jobs with higher growth potential may be harder to find," Kaplan said, "and they often involve low earnings in the short run but higher earnings in the future — an internship, for example. If you're living at home, you might be able to wait for these better opportunities."
Peter Harms, assistant professor of management at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
When it comes to job interviews, a study this year discovered that modesty is not the best policy. Harms' research revealed that narcissists who promoted themselves in the interview were rated more highly than those who were modest.
"This is one setting where it's OK to say nice things about yourself and there are no ramifications. In fact, it’s expected,” Harms said. "Simply put, those who are comfortable doing this tend to do much better than those who aren't.
Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder
In today's crowded job market, it is crucial that those in search of work use their résumé to truly stand out from the crowd.
"It's a highly competitive job market and you have to clearly demonstrate how your unique skills and experience are relevant and beneficial to that particular employer," Haefner said. "We see more people using infographics, QR codes and visual résumés to package their information in new and interesting ways."
James McLauchlin, founder of the nonprofit Hero Initiative
Job seekers can't sit back and wait for someone to show up at their door offering them a job.
"Chances are, nobody but nobody is going to pick you out of a crowd and offer you your dream job, not even knowing what it is," McLauchlin said. "So you have to jump up, pursue, ask, demand and make the first move yourself."
Bruce Hurwitz, president and CEO of Hurwitz Strategic Staffing
While working from home is becoming more common, it isn't something a job seeker should ask about during an interview.
"Raising it during the interview process raises concerns that maybe the candidate has some home-related issues that they are hiding," Hurwitz said. "Of course, it could simply be because of the commute, but the time to ask the question is after the employer knows they can trust your work ethic."
Phil Rosenberg, president of reCareered.com
Those looking for a new job shouldn’t be afraid to list the times they've struck out on their résumé.
"One non-intuitive thing employers want to see on a résumé is failure," Rosenberg said. "Employers want to see that you've tried, failed and learned from your failure, all on a prior employer's dime. This demonstrates innovation, willingness to teach risks, [and] faster reaction and response time. It is also a learning experience, and failure teaches success."
Dan Finnigan, president and CEO of Jobvite
In today's online-focused world, job hunters who aren't using social media as part of their search process are putting themselves behind the eight ball.
"With fierce competition for jobs, which now includes a majority of employed people on top of active job seekers, social media has become a critical tool for job hunting and career growth," Finnigan said.
Ron Selewach, founder and CEO of Human Resource Management Center Inc.
Since many jobs pack in more work than some employees can easily handle, it is critical job seekers show off their ability to multitask.
"Especially in a small business, you need someone who is willing to come out of their role and do whatever is necessary," Selewach said. "A small business needs people who can not only tolerate chaos, but thrive in it."
Ned Smith, professor at the University of Michigan
While the loss of a job can be difficult emotionally, it is critical those out of work don't look down on themselves. Research this year from Smith found that people who view themselves as members of a lower social class may have a harder time getting a job because they end up viewing their social and professional networks as smaller and denser than they actually are.
"They feel threatened, reach deeper inside their network, limit their access to information on new opportunities, and feel further threatened," Smith said.