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 Job
Highlight 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 Attention
From 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 It
When 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 Everything
You 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 Address
I 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 “[email protected]”
6. Always Ask Questions And Take Notes
You 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.
7. You Need To Gear Your Interview Toward The Interviewer
Environment and interviewer type will help with this. There are four interviewer types as follows:
Commanders – Big desks and big chairs. Pictures of themselves with famous people on the wall. Very dominant. Don’t fight them or be weak. Ask what they think is important and what they want. They will tell you what to respond.
Energizers – Messy office (if not meeting you in the canteen). Comedy pictures, comedy tie, and so on. They want to like you before they will hire you. Engage in personal conversation before business. They want to know about family, hobbies, likes and so on. Tell them about yours but remember to tie down the next step as they appear positive to everyone.
Contemplators – Plain office with lots of charts and labeled files. Will interview on facts. Back up every statement with an example and expect a cross-examination on the resume. Don’t be wooly and if you don’t know, say so.
Empathizers – Have a comfy office with no desk. Will give all candidates a fair chance. Focus on “team” and “people” questions. Link your objectives with the company objectives and ask about mission statement. Will be process orientated. Expect to have to wait for decision but show “love” for the environment.
(FYI – To learn more about the communication styles above, take the ISAT test HERE.)
8. You Must Dress Appropriately
You can never be overdressed for an interview. Take time on your appearance. Important things are hair, laundered clothes, polished shoes, belt and so on. This is even for the agency interview. Remember recruiters decide who to put forward. Makes a big difference in a two-horse race.
9. Having A Good Handshake Is Important
Interviewers place lots of importance on handshake. A limp one and I’ve switched off. Break my hand and you’re leaving! Practice with your friends to get it right.
10. You Need To Determine If The Job Is A Fit For YOU
Ask about the things you want to know to help you decide if the job is right. You need to be sure you leave without questions because uncertainty will lead to you being discounted and offers can be withdrawn. No one wants to be rejected! Be clear when you go what you want to know to be sure and ask it.
In summary, a good job search process is the same wherever you live. People are people, you have to do yourself credit every time you seek out an opportunity!
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