Career Advice: The Do’s & Don’ts of the Job Search Process
There are few things more daunting than the job hunt; spending countless hours researching companies, writing cover letters, filling out applications, stressing about what to wear to the interview, actually interviewing, getting your hopes up…and then having to do it all over again. No one enjoys this process – not you, not the person making the hiring decision, and definitely not your ego.
Having had the responsibility of hiring, I can say without a doubt that it’s incredibly hard whittling down 100’s of applicants to a small pool that you can invest the time to interview. Not only do you feel guilty when you pass up qualified candidates who may have ended up being perfect for the role, but you can also become slightly jaded when the ‘memorable’ on paper candidate turns out to be the opposite of what you expected and leaves you questioning your judge of character.
If you’re on the search for your next role, just remember that the right opportunity WILL present itself. Being rejected sucks and the entire process can certainly be humbling. But landing a gig at a company that is right for you is worth it.
So to help you all out a bit, I spoke with two co-workers at AMP Agency, Jessica Alicea, Human Resources Manager, and Liz Chapin, Group Account Manager, and compiled a comprehensive list of do’s & don’ts. Whether you’re looking for your first job out of college or you’re a seasoned industry vet, this list should at least give you a few helpful tidbits or things to consider.
The Do’s & Don’ts of the Job Search Process:
- DO pay attention to detail – things like spelling errors, grammar, or having the wrong company name in the cover letter will raise immediate red flags for hiring managers. TIP: Have someone look over your materials before sending them off, sometimes it can be hard to notice minor errors when you’ve been looking at something for so long.
- DO research the company – this is so important in every phase of the process. Your resume and/or cover letter should indicate that you have a solid understanding of the role you’re applying for; after all, this is the first impression you are making to your potential future employer. During the interview process, an interviewer can tell and will appreciate if you’ve looked into the company and can reference specific things that interest you about the company or role itself. TIP: Small things like dropping in the name of a client, referencing a specific case study, or mentioning the core values can leave a lasting impression on the hiring manager.
- DO actually have the qualifications required. This may sound obvious but it’s not always the case and can be especially tiresome when you’re looking through 100’s of resumes.
- DO be punctual in any email communication throughout the hiring process.
- DO show excitement about the company and the prospect of working for them.
- DO follow up. Always follow up after any type of interview, whether it be a phone screen or an in-person interview. If you interviewed with multiple people during an in-person interview, send follow ups to all of them and make them personalized. Don’t copy and paste the same follow up to each person. TIP: Hand-written follow ups are always a plus. Do always email within 24 years of the interview but a hand-written thank you card in the mail is always a nice added gesture.
- DO ask questions during the interview. Asking questions shows a level of preparedness and interest. You should be interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you.
- DO show personality and a sense of humor. This helps determine cultural fit and gives the interviewer a better sense of how you’ll fit in within the team and the organization as a whole.
- DON’T overly design your resume to try to show creativity. Poorly designed or overly designed resumes can make them harder to read and understand.
- DON’T apply for a position that you have zero qualification for. It creates more work and is a nuisance for recruiters.
- DON’T apply to a position and then not respond to interview invitations. If you are no longer interested or have found a job already, respond to the interviewer and let them know, especially if you may want to be considered for employment at this organization down the road.
- DON’T apply for a position that you are way too overqualified for or know that the salary will not match what you are looking for.
- DON’T send a resume as a text document. This makes it very difficult for someone to read and actually see your experience.
- DON’T take out your cellphone or use it during an interview unless in the case of an absolute emergency. If you are waiting for an urgent call, let the interviewer know ahead of time.
- DON’T show up late for an interview without contacting the interviewer and letting them know.
- DON’T waste someone’s time. If you know you aren’t going to take the job, let them know. If you aren’t going to make an interview, cancel it. Being honest and upfront instead of wasting someone’s time will leave the door open for future opportunities.
If you’re in charge or have been in charge of hiring, let us know in the comments if there is anything you disagree with or would add to this list! We love hearing from you.