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10 Job Search Tips From a World-Class Recruiter

I recently had the privilege to interview Toffee Real, Managing Director at Eastridge Infotech, who has over 20-year experience in Information Technology (IT) staffing, on the topic of IT job searching. Here are Toffee’s tips for IT job candidates. Enjoy!  

Top 7 job search strategies

1. Work your network. Nothing is like being referred directly by someone who knows you and who also knows the hiring manager.

2. Have a LinkedIn profile updated with recommendations. Employers go there.

3. Set up job search engines and respond job leads selectively. Distinguish yourself with your style and a relevant resume.

4. Call to follow up. Do not rely on e-mail.

5. If inclined, have a blog. Be a thought leader in your field.

6. Keep the pipeline full until you have a suitable offer.

7. Partner with recruiters with integrity.

Top 3 common mistakes that job seekers make

1. Not prepare for an interview thoroughly such as not knowing the company or not knowing the job.

2. Badly written resume: need to be concise (3 pages maximum). The resume is grammatically correct. It contains significant accomplishments relevant to the job requirement.

3. Not listening to what’s important to the interviewer and not answering questions directly by going around the questions and rambling.

Top recruiting sources

Our over 20 year-old database is constantly updated with referrals and other acquisitions from various other sources (e.g., references, previous clients, LinkedIn connections, job leads from Dice.com and Monster.com).

Favorite recruiting story

A client needed a senior Project Manager and ended up hiring two of our candidates not only because they were well qualified but largely because they were well prepared for each interview. The final interview included a mock-up presentation. I reviewed their PowerPoint presentations and rehearsed with them.

Top 3 Job Searching Tips

In this day and age, it is more important than ever to get a job or career that is both lucrative and dependable for the long haul. It can seem daunting at times to find a job or career that fits into the right mold for you, and there are many setbacks that could potentially harm an impending job search. In order to secure a job that you would like to have and increase your potential for getting a job or career that impacts your life in a positive way, certain aspects have to be taken into account as well as tips and tricks to take into consideration to help your job search overall.

Ask friends, family, or anyone you know for a referral

In this current market, one of the best things you can do for yourself and your job search is to ask people you know if they have any leads. Usually, the best jobs come directly by referrals from people that you know. This is also a great idea because referrals are looked at more fondly by management and you are bound to have an easier time getting the job; all the way from the interview process to the actual hiring process. Just make sure your referral is coming from someone who is looked at fondly by the management of the job you are looking to get.

Make sure your resume is up to date

Having an updated resume is one of the best things you can do to present yourself in the best light for an upcoming job interview. An updated resume makes you look like you are vigilant in regards to details and it also saves employers time when trying to look up your experience and other information. An updated resume in a clear font, on a professional looking piece of resume paper can go a long way in the job search and the eventual hiring process.

Don’t forget the power of the internet

One of the easiest ways to look for jobs these days is through the internet. There are countless sites that are available for everyone, and are usually free or at very little cost. Using the internet to find a job makes financial sense, since you do not have to spend your time and money driving all over town applying in person. Using the internet for your job search is one of the best ways to secure a job in a company that would be otherwise unattainable if you tried to do the footwork yourself. Postings are everywhere on the net, just do a general search in a top search engine, and you are bound to find numerous prospects.

Optimizing Your Resume with Buzzwords

Most likely, when you apply for a position your application doesn’t go straight into the inbox of a recruiter; you’re added to a database of possibly hundreds of other applicants. The recruiter will then search through the database using strategic keywords to figure out which resumes are most likely to meet their needs. Their strategy is designed to get to the best candidates fastest, by selecting the criteria that matter to them, then evaluating candidates who are the most promising. You need a strategy to optimize your chances of appearing in the “promising” pile. We’ll focus here on the word choices and keywords that can help you move closer to your next job.

To optimize your resume’s keywords, it’s very useful to use similar words in the job description- of course, only if you are skilled in those areas and have the experience to show it. By leveraging the skills you already have that are also keywords in a job description, your resume is a step ahead of those who didn’t check for strategic vocabulary first. Also, make sure to include industry-specific wording. This step helps you to stand out in an electronic search, but also helps the recruiter think of you in terms of their ideal candidate. Don’t make them match your experience to her needs. Show that you’re already a match.

Never use passive verbs in your resume; if you led a specific part of a task or project, say exactly that. Don’t mention “assisting” or “aiding” the entire project when you can take control and responsibility of a certain area. Use these strong verbs to start off your bullet points, and make sure to state when an assignment was successful or not- never leave the reader wondering about the outcome.

Know thyself. Do you lead, plan, organize? Analyze, report, evaluate?  Represent, promote, advertise? Each of these groups of words begins to create a mental map of a set of prominent skills, which map better onto certain roles (managerial, quantitative, and communications respectively). This is of particular interest for people looking to switch industries. Focus on the verbs and wording of the field you want to be in, using your past experience to illustrate those skills.

For additional help, here are some lists of resume buzz words:  

http://www.resumebuzzwords.net/list-of-buzz-words.html

http://www.resume-help.org/resume_action_words.htm

This is a guest post contributed by the Ivy Exec Blog, an exclusive site where pre-screened, high caliber professionals find relevant job opportunities with leading companies.

5 Things to Bring to a Job Interview

You finally landed a job interview. Congratulations! After patting yourself on the shoulder, you need to start preparing for it right away. Interviews are about 80% preparation and 20% execution. You cannot leave anything to chance on your big day. It is important to remember all of the little details. As I said before, it is the details in life that counts.

I heard a story of a man that went on an interview for his dream job. He was introduced to the hiring manager and hit it off right away. However, when the hiring manager asked for his resume, this man simply forgot to bring a copy. The interview went downhill from there. The company did not make him an offer. He said if he had not forgotten to bring his resume, he would have landed the job. On the day of your interview, these are the 5 things you need to bring with you.

1. Resume copies

Interviewers usually have a copy of your resume. However, don’t assume that the people interviewing you will always have a copy of your resume. Printers do break down or run out of ink. My advice is to print out your resume on nice professional paper. Make a few copies just in case you will be interviewed by many people.

2. A pen and notepad

You don’t want to look silly when you need to write something down but don’t have a pen. Your future employer will probably make a mental note that you did not bring something as simple as a pen to an interview.

You need to have something to write during an interview. When interviewing candidates, I pay attention to whether they have a notepad with them to jot down notes while we talk. If you want to stand out from the crowd, bring a notepad. It is even better when you use it during the interview.

3. Questions

Don’t forget to bring a list of questions to ask the hiring manager. Some people forget to do this in their rush to prepare for the interview. They think they can just make up some questions during the interview. I believe the questions you ask is just as important as your replies to questions. Never leave this to chance. In the heat of the moment, your mind might freeze up and you will forget to ask those great questions you wrote down before the interview. So bring your questions along.

4. References or testimonials

Some interviews require you to bring a list of references so that the hiring manager can check them afterwards.  Depending on your industry, it might be common practice to bring along your references. Testimonials are also another form of references that can really make you stand out from the crowd. Testimonials let the hiring manager know how great other people think you are.

5. Work samples

Certain professions might require you to bring some of your work to show the interviewer. For example, a programmer can show his/her latest coding projects on a laptop or iPad. An artist can show his/her portfolio of creative work.

Job Search Myth: There Are No Jobs In The Summer Months

We are quickly approaching the summer months. The summer months are usually associated with lazy days at the beach or family vacations. Most job seekers mistakenly believe that hiring slows down during summer time. This is not true. I have successfully landed jobs during the summer months and also done a lot of hiring during this period. I sometimes browse the job boards during the summer time and the number of jobs listed decreases a bit but you don’t see a major drop off.

Although the summer seems like a slow time for business because everyone takes vacations, the majority of companies do hire in the summer months. And if you’re looking for a job right now, you can actually take advantage of the summertime job market.

In fact, the summer months can be the most fruitful because employers are more likely to read your resume and ask you to come in for an interview. There is less work pressure and demands because the summer months are usually the slowest months at most companies. They will have more time to devote to searching for and interviewing job candidates. Also people tend to be in a better mood when it is sunny and warm. You can use this to your advantage.

The best time to apply for a job is when you need one. The month of the year should not dictate your decision on whether to launch your job search. If you are looking for a job from now until September, you should not slow down under the mistaken assumption that employers are not hiring. You should be consistent in your job search efforts regardless of the time of year. If you stop your job search, you could miss out on some great opportunities.  And you may face less competition if other job seekers are buying into the summer slowdown myth. If you are thinking about looking for a new job, there is never a better time to look than the present. Don’t let the “summertime job market myth” stand in your way of your goals.

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