I was recently asked a good question: "What is the difference between job seeking in the US and the UK?" In reality, it's hard to find any differences between how you need to market yourself. In fact, here are 10 ways job search stays the same, no matter where you are looking:
1. Your Resume And Cover Letter Should Be Customized For Each JobHighlight the reasons you can do the job and more importantly why you want it. Cut and paste is NEVER read. Cover letters need to be short and to the point. Use the terminology from the job posting in your materials. If they call "programmers" "analysts" call yourself an analyst.
2. You Will Only Have 30 Seconds To Grab Their AttentionFrom my point of view, nobody reads a personal sentiment as everyone is always a "great team player" or "dynamic at sales." Leave these out and save valuable space. Present your experience under clear headings with bold bullet points. Make it easy to find the information I want. If I have to hunt, I probably won't look.
3. If You Want Feedback, You Have To Ask For ItWhen working with staffing companies, if you want feedback on your resume, you will need to ask for it. Most recruiters (we call them consultants) are more than happy to give feedback but are tied by time constraints. Use them as "expert" marketers of people by asking the question. Also remember to treat a recruiter with the same respect as you would a direct employer. This will help make you stand out.
4. Preparation Is EverythingYou need to show you have considered this job rather than just a job. I recommend my candidates prepare a clear statement about why they want the job and why they are suitable. Practice your opening statement. Most interviewees think about what they want to say when the interview starts, but end up drying up after the first "Hello." Google the interviewer to find out what they might be interested in and find a way to make conversation.
5. You Need A Professional E-mail AddressI can't tell you how many good resumes I've seen that end up being a laughing stock because the e-mail address is something like "firstname.lastname@example.org."
6. Always Ask Questions And Take NotesYou need to question in three areas:
- Question something you have been told. This shows you have been listening.
- Question something you haven't been told. This shows your interest and that you have researched.
- Question what the next step is, what reservations they have about progressing you to that stage and for the next step. Hard but critical.