Posted by Lindsey Pollak
I absolutely love end of year lists, and swooned when I found Time.com’s list of The Top 10 of Everything of 2010.
Although Time’s list of lists is pretty comprehensive, ranging from apologies to new species to Twitter moments, I wanted to add my own top 10 list -- top 10 tips for job seekers. And so here are the 10 tips that readers found most helpful to their job search efforts this year.
1. Ask for honest feedback. Recruit a trusted relative, career services staff member, professor or friend to assess you honestly as a job seeker. Ask the person to list your best qualities and most impressive accomplishments. On the flip side, ask for constructive feedback on your weaknesses. Find out if the things you’re most concerned about — lack of experience, a less-than-desirable GPA, shyness, etc. — are legitimate concerns or if you’re obsessing over nothing. If your fears are unfounded, let them go once and for all!
2. Don’t be turned off by the terms “internship” or “part-time.” This tip came from Lauren Porat, co-founder of UrbanInterns.com. In a difficult job market, sometimes you need to be flexible and “settle” for a less-than-perfect opportunity, such as a non-full-time job. According to Lauren, many people have developed incredible careers by serving multiple part-time clients. Also, starting out this way may allow you to get your foot in the door with some very cool, interesting startup companies.
3. Overprepare. Think about your confidence level when you walk into a test for which you’ve studied really thoroughly versus how you feel walking into a test for which you’ve skimmed your notes for ten minutes the night before. Most people don’t realize that a job hunt is something you can study for. Before attending a job fair, spend an hour or two on the websites of companies that will have booths. Before a job interview, spend an hour reading the organization’s website (especially the mission statement, recruiting pages and recent press releases) and study the LinkedIn profiles of the people who will be interviewing you. Read e-newsletters and blogs from your industry to keep up with current events that might be discussed at a networking event. The more preparation you do, the more confident you’ll feel when you interact with recruiters and other professionals you’ll encounter during your job search.
4. Do not ask to “pick someone’s brain.” Okay this one is more about how not to ask me in particular for advice on your job hunt (or anything for that matter!). Some people don’t mind this phrase, but I definitely do. Why? First of all, I think it sounds kind of gross (think about it). Second of all, it is very one-sided: if you are picking my brain, what’s in this conversation for me? It feels as if I’ll be left brainless afterwards. My advice is to always request advice in a way that makes the ask-ee feel respected and like he or she will leave the conversation with something, too.
5. Clean up your online image. According to a Microsoft survey, 85 percent of HR professionals responding said that positive online reputation influences their hiring decisions, and 70 percent said they have rejected candidates based on information they found online. Make no mistake about it: your online image will affect your job search and your career. If you haven’t already, set up strict privacy settings on all social networks (often, including on Facebook, the default setting is for all of your information to be public, so check every setting!), take down any inappropriate pictures or content, set up a 100 percent professional profile on LinkedIn and Google, and think twice before posting any new content on Facebook, Twitter or a blog. In many recruiters’ minds, you are what you post.
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