We know -- it's a jungle out there. Times are tough, jobs are scarce, and competition for open positions is fierce. Face it: you could use a Headhuntress.
In The Headhunstress -- a one-hour special airing tonight -- we'll introduce you to Wendy Doulton, a headhunter and career coach whose no-nonsense advice and guidance have been placing clients in high-end positions for 15 years. She's worked for Yahoo, DreamWorks and Google, and has partnered with Sony, Fox, Amazon, Discovery Communications, Fremantle Media, but now, her expertise can be all yours. In advance of tonight's special, she offered The Dish 10 tips every job seeker should follow:
1. Your resume is your calling card. Trim It Down, Tone It Up, Get It In Shape.
The Headhuntress says: Your resume is not your life story. It is a tool to get you the interview. If something isn't absolutely essential to the role you are applying for, take it off of your resume. Adjust your points to fit the position you are applying for. Grab the requirements and experience directly from the job description and use strong verbs “created”, “managed”, “produced” etc. to prove you've got exactly the chops they are looking for.
2. Make an appointment with yourself.
The Headhuntress says: Even a perfect resume isn't any good if it never gets seen. Make an appointment with yourself to send out at least two resumes every day. I know what you are thinking. Some days you won't feel like it. But it will become a habit over time if you keep at it. And I promise you will be motivated when you see your phone ringing off the hook.
3. Go Google yourself. Seriously.
The Headhuntress says: If you haven't done a search on yourself in the last 30 days to see what comes up, prepare for an ambush. I guarantee the person sitting across the interview table knows all about that Facebook status you posted at 2am last Saturday. If you can help it, keep your personal business off of the internet. And don't leave anything to chance -- manage your online rep like it's your job. (Because it is.)
4. Have a great elevator pitch.
The Headhuntress says: An elevator pitch is the 30 second personal pitch that tells someone who you are and what kind of position you are looking for. Polish this pitch so you can recite it anytime, anywhere. You never know when you may need it.
5. Dress the part.
The Headhuntress says: If you've got an interview, do yourself a favor and don't screw it up by "going sexy" unless that is expressly required for the position. (Here's a hint: it's not.) Dress for the job you WANT. They'll develop their impression of you within minutes of you walking in, so DON'T give them any opportunity to write you off before you've finished your 30 second elevator pitch.
6. Get to know the Spin Cycle.
The Headhuntress says: Do you have some professional dirty laundry? Don't hide it. Whether you have worked in the adult entertainment industry or were fired for a personal Tweet... Address these things before they find out about it so you can spin it to your advantage. What should you keep to yourself? Physical or mental illnesses, as long as it the situation is resolved and won't affect performance, is none of their business and beside the point.
7. Get to work... on building your network
The Headhuntress says: It is true that amazing jobs can be won through the standard application process. But it can also be about who you know. 75% of people find a job through someone they know. Pay attention to building an outstanding reputation not only with potential employers, but also with EVERYONE you work with now or have ever met...(what, you didn't guess that your workout buddy’s uncle was a hiring manager at Facebook?) Start combing your “Happy Holidays” list – I guarantee that you know someone who could be the magic link in your career.
8. You've got the technology, use it.
The Headhuntress says: You know that smart phone in your pocket? It is a lethal weapon against other job-seekers competing for the positions you want. Speed and response are some of the most powerful tools recruiters (and YOU) have for scouting career opportunities. Emails, Job listing feeds, Linked In, even job alerts on Twitter...there is no excuse not to use them. Employers are posting jobs online and assessing applicants often within hours. Get online and get ready!
9. Follow up, but make it appropriate.
The Headhuntress says: Follow up after a conversation or an interview but don't become a nuisance or they will rename you "Crazy - Don't Answer" on their caller ID. You do want to stay on their radar, but be careful not to be too persistent. It shows them you are selfish and don't respect their time. The casual follow up is good form. Turning into a stalker is not.
10. Excuse Me? Drop the excuses.
The Headhuntress says: I hear the same excuses all the time: "I CAN'T get a job because the market is so hard," Excuses are great...if you want to have exactly the situation you currently have. But you know what? I just placed someone in your dream role. The jobs are OUT THERE if you are willing to work for them. "I can't" may be doing a great job protecting your ego, but ignoring the hard truth about what YOU are doing wrong will prevent you from having the career that will change your whole life.
For more of Wendy's wisdom, follow her on Twitter, and tune in tonight for The Headhuntress at 10/9c.