6 Common Sense Job Search Tips

by Pollak, Lindsey Friday, September 24, 2010

Lindsey Pollak is a bestselling author, speaker and consultant with over a decade of experience providing advice and ideas to young professionals and the organizations that hire them. She is the author of Getting from College to Career: 90 Things to Do Before You Join the Real World and writes a top-rated blog, the
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Lindsey Pollak
Last week’s post, “5 Simple But Brilliant Job Interview Strategies,” generated a lot of feedback, particularly from recruiters who told me how often job seekers make seemingly obvious mistakes such as spelling a recruiter’s name incorrectly. This reminded me of the fact that, as Voltaire famously said, “Common sense is not so common.”

So today I wanted to share some additional seemingly simple career tips that many job seekers overlook.

1. Use your career services office. College career centers have very helpful (and usually free) resources -- exclusive job databases, resume workshops, mock interview sessions, career counseling, salary negotiation guidance and much more. If you’ve never visited your university’s career center (which is often available after you’ve graduated as well), you are seriously missing out.

2. Alter your search criteria. When you’ve searching for opportunities on jobs websites, don’t get stuck in a rut of using the same search terms over and over again. Dig deeper and expose yourself to more opportunities by expanding your search to new keywords (such as “communications” in addition to “public relations”), new sectors (such as government and nonprofit if you have been looking only at corporations) and further distances from your desired location (such as the San Fernando Valley if you’ve been looking in Los Angeles or Westchester County and New Jersey if you’ve been looking in New York City).

3. Set your Facebook profile to private. While you’re sitting at your computer searching for jobs, click over to your Facebook profile and make sure your privacy settings are set to the maximum. Many recruiters regularly check out candidates on Facebook, so even if you believe your profile is harmless, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

4. Check your messages. Particularly for a generation that’s known for being permanently connected to technology devices, there is no excuse for not returning a call or email within a few hours. Especially if you’re engaged in an active job hunt, check your messages frequently.

5. Don’t be too early for a job interview. While we’ve all heard the advice never, ever to arrive late to a job interview, employers are equally peeved when you arrive too early. By all means get to the company’s building or parking lot as early as you’d like, but don’t enter the actual office any more than 15 minutes before your scheduled interview time.

6. Smile. I’m surprised at how many recruiters tell me that a smile really makes a difference at a job fair, networking event or interview. Even when you’re nervous, a genuine grin helps convince an employer that you’d be a good person to have around. So show those pearly whites!