Five Job Search Tips to Help You Land Your Next Job

Scott Gordon

When going to a job interview as early as one year ago, you’d be confident that you had the enough of the right skills for the job and that you would be hired. But now, being confident and having the right job skills are not enough in a job search. Today I hear more and more job seekers ask the question, "What am I doing wrong in my job search? I know I can do this job. Why can't I get hired?"

Before the bottom fell out of the global economy it was safe to say that if you had 60 percent to 70 percent of the listed requirements on a job description, you had a decent chance of being hired. Back then, the job market was thin on talent, and some employers found themselves grateful to have found someone who could do the job, albeit someone with partial abilities.

The job market is different now. If you’re a job candidate you have to conduct your job search differently.

Job Search Tips

Below are five simple job search tips that will put your job search in the fast lane.

Job Search Tip 1: Don't apply for jobs that you know you can't do.

If you are a Software Quality Assurance specialist, don't apply for a Senior Director of Regulatory Compliance. Read the job description in full detail and only apply to the positions for which you have the skills. It feels good to send out a bunch of resumes, but going through the motions isn't going to yield faster rewards in your job search.

Job Search Tip 2: Don't embellish on your resume.

Lying on a resume is more obvious today than it ever was. Don't. Many job seekers think that it's perfectly OK to "fib a little" on a resume. Why do you list it if you know you don't have that job skill? I know why—because if makes your resume look stellar. It adds to the already glowing list of things you've accomplished in your professional career. Psych 101 says that the things you've listed nearest the top of a resume and mentioned multiple times are the things you are most comfortable doing. Many job seekers today are straining to add words and tasks so their resume looks better than their competition. But this is going to come back to haunt you in your job search—so don't do it! Highlight what you are best at, but also come clean when asked about something you have not done. Your candor will get your further.

Job Search Tip 3: Take a pay cut if you have to. Don't price yourself out of the market just because you think you deserve it more than the next job candidate.

Trying to recover from a previous layoff by overpricing yourself is a bad idea. Assume there are 15 other people applying for the same job. You must, must, must be more aggressive in this market. Pride is the 800 pound gorilla—let go of it and land the job even it means taking a small pay cut. The job candidate who is next in line needs the job more than you. A pay cut will not last forever; and you'll recover from the pay cut and be back to where you were soon enough.

Job Search Tip 4: Apply once and follow up with an e-mail to confirm receipt.

Sending 28 resumes to the same company won't get you a quicker response than sending one resume. My inbox fills up typically between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. with multiple submissions of resumes from the same job seeker. The additional submissions are deleted. The contact management tools of today are smarter than you think; and if you submit more than once, your resume is automatically deleted. Some job search Web sites won't allow you to submit your resume more than once anyway, so make your first shot your best one. After submitting your resume, send a simple e-mail to the contact asking to confirm receipt. Most of the time, you'll get a reply. If you don't...send another e-mail. Recruiters today are averaging 150 to 300 resume submissions per day from job seekers. It's a lot to dig through and takes time, so be patient.

Job Search Tip 5: Use a job recruiter.

When I say use, I mean use. Find a reputable job recruitment firm and partner with them. Part of what I tell job candidates during interviews is that we are all in this together. Use their contacts and search with job recruiters instead of sitting at home waiting on a call. If you come across a job listing that fits your job skills, call your job recruiter and ask what he or she knows about the company. There's a better than average chance the recruiter will know someone on the inside who might be able to get you in the door faster.

Word to the wise on a job search: If you don't trust your job recruiter, find another one. This is your career, this is how you put food on the table, and this is how you pay your mortgage—don't waste your time with a job recruiter who’s only in it for personal gain.

First published on Human Resources IQ.