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To end the year, a few reminders for job seekers . . . . . .

The holiday season - things seem to be winding down.  People are busy at work - that has not changed. The mindset has, however.  We all know that the next two weeks (starting on Monday, 12/23) are very quiet. People take time off for the holidays.  Work hours seem to be shortened (we do have that last errand to run).  Out of town family is now in town.

Statistically, mid-January to mid-May is the best time of the year for a job hunt.  Companies have new budgets; staffing plans that were approved in the last quarter of 2013 need to be implemented.  And there is pent-up demand . . . . . . we have had a few weeks of slower activity.

If you are a job seeker, there are things you should think about AND act upon to make yourself look better to prospective employers. You want to be the one that gets the resume read, not one of the many resumes. Here are a few simple rules to end this year of blogs and hopefully start your year off on the right footing.

  • E-mail addresses can give people hints about you.  If I end mine with the digits 1957, you know how old I am. If you are worried about age discrimination (and many of you say you are), don't help it along.  
  • Personalization - if you are actively or passively seeking another position, it is assumed you have a standard resume (or two) and a few standard versions of a cover letter. Cutting and pasting makes efficient sense. That said, make sure you keep your font the same - and that you personalize your greeting.  To whom it may concern is not going to get the attention of the reader.
    • Staying on the theme, sending out a 'bulk' e-mail and hiding who you are sending it to doesn't make a great first impression either. You want our attention - but in a positive way.
  • Many of you want your resume in the hands of search firms.  You simply send it to everyone you can find and hope that the firm will work for you. Do you REALLY want the firm to send your resume out without your full knowledge and permission? This is sadly an all too common practice with some contingent search firms. Get an assurance from any firm that has (or will have) your resume that they will never ever send your resume anywhere without your consent.
  • LinkedIn - everyone one uses it differently. Some search firms and their individual staff use it as their own personal database. Some individual search professionals use it only with people they know well. Do not assume, just because you met someone at a networking event, that you should be part of their LinkedIn contacts. Ask permission - and work to establish a  true relationship before trying to gain access to the other person's contacts through a simple connection.

Last, and certainly not least . . . . . .

  • Leave voicemails. Phone systems today leave clues as to who called and how often they tried. If you dial my phone and I do not answer AND you decide to not leave a message, I still know you called. Doing this multiple times per day can be an annoyance. Leave a voicemail - let the person you are calling have a chance to return the call. 

Wishing you the best for 2014.  Happy holidays to all!