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The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Job Seekers

It's a tough market out there. For every one position there are 80 candidates. How do you increase your odds of making the short list? Get back to the basics.

Remember back in the good old days? The Internet Boom? For every one person there were 80 positions. Companies were begging people to come to work. Signing bonuses, flex schedules, pool tables in the lobby, cappuccino machines in the break room, bring your dog to work…definitely a seller's market.

Those times have passed. If you don't remember anything else about this article, remember this: we are deep in the throes of a buyer’s market. The employer's are driving the train now and you must act accordingly.

You must present a body of knowledge about yourself. Use your resume and cover letter to paint a picture. You are given the opportunity to make yourself real and distinguish yourself from the pack. Why are you special? Why are you a good fit for this job and this company?

  1. Be Specific: Make sure your resume and relevant skills match the opportunity. If you have done something really great, spell it out. If you have received awards, list them. If you have completed post-graduate or professional education, display your honors prominently. If you participate in volunteer organizations, let the reader know. Do not include a picture of yourself.

  2. Be Concise: Get a friend or colleague to review your resume. If they can’t understand it, neither can a potential employer.

  3. Be Honest: Embellishments will be uncovered and many companies will flag your name in their database. As they used to say in the old movies "you’ll never work in this town again..."

  4. Be Precise: Check and re-check your resume and cover letter. I am amazed at the number of resumes with misspelled words and poor grammar. Would you hire a senior level professional who can't spell?

  5. Be Polite: Always include a cover letter. Tell the employer you are interested, qualified and available.

  6. Be Respectful: In today's market you cannot pick your spot and name your price.

  7. Be Responsive: Employers expect someone serious about a position to be prompt and punctual. Remember, the person you ignore at Company A will be the hiring manager at Company B next year.

I know managers who spend 30 seconds with each resume. Can you pass a 30 second review and hold someone’s attention? If you get back to the basics you will get more responses, more interviews and more opportunities.

-Melanie Mancebo
Melanie Mancebo is the award-winning Lead Technical Recruiter for AGSI and has many years of recruiting experience in Silicon Valley and Atlanta.