At Wasatch Jobs, we meet a lot of job seekers—people between employers or those entering the workforce anew after a long period of unemployment—and we know that getting started on the job search can be daunting. In this article, we offer advice gathered from our employers and other job services around the web to make taking the leap into your search a little less frightening. Job seekers who follow this advice are sure to make their search more productive and land a job quicker.
1. Be Active and Optimistic
We recommend posting about your search on local job boards on social media when re-entering the workforce. When you do, make sure you write actively and enthusiastically. Make sure you express that you’re looking for help—not someone to do all the work for you. Don’t write in a way that makes you seem lazy or entitled to great offers. Instead, write in a way that shows your best personality. Use an optimistic, commanding voice to convey that you are willing to put in the footwork that finding the right job requires. Be specific and try to put yourself in the shoes of an employer.
- “I’m looking for work if anyone knows of any leads.”
- “Does anyone know of a good-paying job with flexible hours?”
- “I’m struggling to find a job and hoping someone out there can help me out.”
These messages are apathetic, unspecific, and can come across as bratty—and we see them all the time! Don’t forget that potential employers don’t know anything about you. So make sure their first impression isn’t that you’re picky, inflexible, or unmotivated.
- “I’m looking for work in the construction trades and I’m available immediately if anyone knows of any leads. Thanks!”
- “If anyone out there is looking for hard-working service staff, I have lots of experience in food and beverage. Thank you!”
- “I am out today turning in my resume for a sales position. If you know of any leads, comment here and I’ll drop one off. Thank you!”
These posts offer specific details about what you like to do or have experience doing. They are active, positive, and express gratitude—all qualities are very attractive to potential employers. They ask for leads while conveying that you’re doing your part: hitting the pavement!
2. Keep An Open Mind
Often, while searching for jobs, you’ll encounter opportunities that aren’t perfect. The pay might be less than you hoped for, the hours may not be ideal, or the work might be different than you expected. The worst thing you can do at this stage is write off an offer because it isn’t perfect. Many times, the less desirable qualities in a job are offset by qualities you like. At this stage, be open-minded.
In our experience, hardworking employees with the right attitude climb through the ranks quickly. If you accept a job that isn’t ideal, give it a chance. Be your best self and your employer will want to keep you happy. Don’t forget that the employment relationship inevitably involves compromise.
3. Put Your Best Foot Forward
The kind of job seeker you are says a lot about the kind of employee you’ll be. This is especially important when you consider that you’re looking for work in a close-knit community—you may encounter your future employer at a crosswalk! As soon as you begin your search, be deliberate about the kind of attitude you demonstrate. Written correspondence, conversations while networking, and even the kind of customer you are all influence the opinion potential employers may form about you. Don’t disqualify yourself before you apply by being careless in these areas.
- Use casual but professional language
- Put some time into maintaining your appearance
- Be polite, considerate, and motivated
- Follow up in a timely manner and do what you say you will do
Put your best foot forward online, too: review your social media accounts and consider how your profile represents you in the job market. Of course, be yourself. But also remember: don’t post anything online that you wouldn’t discuss with your boss in person.
4. Be Yourself
Employers can usually sense when an applicant is putting it on, no matter how convincing the acting. So, do yourself a favor and be genuine from the beginning. In addition to being an easier needle to thread, being yourself will convey a more important quality that is almost universally appreciated among employers: sincerity. Employers also value variety in a team, so let your personality shine.
This tip can be tricky if your past includes incidents that you’re not proud of. If you have a police record or a reputation from your wild youth, it’s best to get it out in the open early. Employers value candor. Discussing the less-redeeming points of your life experience also shows that you are willing and able to handle awkward or difficult conversations. And, once again, you’re applying for work in a close-knit community. If this concern applies to you, it’s best to be up-front and demonstrate that you have learned from your past and matured.
5. Emphasize Your Strengths
If you haven’t started a list of your strengths, this is a great time to do it. Sit down and objectively list the things you’re good at. As you do, consider how these strengths may set you apart from the crowd. After you finish, choose a few of the most distinctive and most valuable qualities, and emphasize them in your conversations and correspondence. When you create a resume, be sure to include these qualities in your work experience or skills section.
You should also consider the types of questions you might be asked by a potential employer, and find a way to mention your strengths in your response. Don’t forget that, in your job search, you are selling yourself. In the same way that you find a particular brand of cell phone or running shoe appealing, employers will be attracted to your resume because of qualities you emphasize. No matter how long you’ve been out of work, and no matter what your experience is, there are qualities that you bring to the table that no one else can—identify these qualities!
6. Use Your Connections
Today’s job market is more connected than ever. Still, we’re surprised by the number of job seekers that don’t efficiently marshal their resources. Review the job posts on Wasatch Jobs and social media. Talk with your friends and family about their jobs. When you patronize a business, consider if you’d like working there. Once you begin your job search, your whole world will be about finding employment for a time. So, don’t waste any opportunity at a lead. The process can be intimidating, but if you approach your search with energy and optimism, you’ll find opportunities to work in places you’d never considered before.
7. Get Involved
There are many opportunities to get out and meet new people throughout the Wasatch Back. Review activities posted to community pages on social media and sign up! Volunteer with a non-profit that shares your values and meet like-minded people in the community. The number one resource for getting you employed is you.
Remember these seven tips as you begin your job search, and remember to check out our articles on resume building and interviewing skills, too. Good luck, and happy job hunting!
Research for this article was compiled from Wasatch Jobs staff expertise, Fast Company, and The Seattle Times.