5 habits of highly successful job seekers
Today's job market is tough. But landing your dream job is still within reach if you know how to set yourself apart from the pack. Here are five tips from human resources experts on how to be a successful job seeker:
1. Be honest.
Whether it's your resume or how you present yourself in an interview, honesty is always the best policy. "The most common mistake I see job seekers make is trying to embellish their experience in a less than truthful manner," says Donna B. Wyatt, PhD, SPHR, a human resources executive with more than 30 years' experience in Fortune 500 companies and an instructor in the MBA program at University of Phoenix.
You should be able to back up anything you say on your resume or in an interview, because job recruiters will then verify this information, according to Wyatt. "Don't ever, ever lie," she says. "It will come back to bite you!"
2. Dress for success.
In today's ultracompetitive job market, appearances count — and not just in terms of what you wear. "How you present yourself to the recruiter is very important," says Pat Fitzgerald, DPA, an HR consultant with more than 30 years' experience and a human resources instructor in the MBA program at University of Phoenix.
"What you wear doesn't have to be expensive, but it does have to be professional and appropriate for the position being offered."
3. Do your homework.
Fitzgerald says that the job applicants who impress her the most are the ones who have researched the hiring company ahead of time, and then ask questions accordingly. "Ask the recruiter concise questions about the company's mission, the philosophy and the corporate culture," she says. "And listen more than you talk. Companies want to hire candidates who are savvy when it comes to navigating office politics, and the best way to do that is to understand how the company operates and what it values."
4. Prove your worth.
In a tough job market, employers are looking for candidates who show they provide skills and talents that others don't. "Applicants should be able to articulate clearly not only how they have benefitted past employers in positive ways, but also how their background and experience will help fill a specific need that the hiring organization is experiencing," says Wyatt.
5. Network, network, network.
Successful job seekers understand the value of networking, according to Fitzgerald. "Building relationships is important for any job search," she says. "Put yourself and your skills out there whenever and wherever you can — job fairs, networking events, even talking to friends and family. Those of us in HR are always keeping our eyes and ears out for the best job candidates, and you never know when making a contact will lead to a company expressing interest in you."