The job market for 2014 continues to become more competitive. The right education and skills are not enough to land a good job, because all the other applicants also have the right education and skills. So what can you do to increase your chances of not just getting an interview, but getting hired?
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“Experts foresee the job market being more competitive than ever in 2014,” writes Mary Gay Townsend at Mashable. “With 10.9 million Americans unemployed, it is important to take a fresh look at your job search strategy. Now is the perfect time to develop an effective plan for success.”
Townsend’s tips include:
1. Be Yourself
You are unique, so don’t try to mimic another candidate. Consider your own personal strengths (and, yes, even weaknesses) as they relate to the specific job you are applying for. Craft a skill-specific resume for each and every job you apply for. And don’t worry about what landed somebody else a job, because somebody else is not you. Put yourself into your resume.
2. Use Social Media
Townsend reminds us that first impressions are everywhere. Clean up your social media profiles before would-be employers get a chance to find you online. Cute or funny profiles are not professional. Anything that can be accessed by the public (i.e., just about anything online,) must be grammatically correct, spelled correctly, and sound mature and businesslike. A first impression of you might be your LinkedIn profile. Do not dot your “i’s” with little hearts.
3. Be Ready for Success
An interview is not necessarily just a chance to find out more about the company. Be prepared to have them offer you the job right now. Acting surprised if they want you may diminish your value in their eyes.
4. Be Realistic, Not Desperate
Be realistic about what you can offer the company and what you are truly capable of. For example, if you know you will need a few hours to complete certain projects, don’t say you can do them in two hours just because you think that is what the employer wants. If you get hired on a false pretense, you will likely lose the job and burn bridges. Employers are likely to appreciate your honesty.
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