The standard professional job search process has come a long way since the first published edition of “What Color is Your Parachute”. But while the 1980s and 1990s are long behind us, many of the job search strategies we now take for granted were developed and shaped in that era, and some of them are overstaying their welcome. If you’re still following the outdated advice below, it may be time to take another look at your approach and make some changes that work better in the current millennium.
1. The Printed Resume
A resume is still a vital component of the job search process, of course. And when you head into an interview or a formal networking event like a job fair, you’ll still need to carry a few copies of your resume printed out on heavy, high quality paper. But the printed resume is rapidly giving way to the digital version, which will mean a few adjustments to your presentation.
First, make sure your resume is available as a Microsoft word file. Unless specifically asked, don’t send your resume in the form of a PDF, a Richtext file, or any other file format that employers might not be able to read. Chances are they won’t work very hard to convert your file format, they’ll just move on. Second, make sure your resume looks professional, balanced and appealing on the screen, not just the printed page.
2. The Interview Suit
In an earlier era, a professional job interview required a suit, no questions asked. Women could vary between skirts and pants and men had the freedom to choose a tie color, but otherwise, the interview suit was expected and universal. These days a suit still works most of the time, but it’s a better idea to dress in a way that matches the culture of the workplace you’re stepping into. Think about the environment you’ll be entering and then dress as you would on an average day for a position two levels above the one you want. For men, this typically means an oxford shirt, pressed slacks and a tie. For women, it often means a professional dress, wool-blend trousers, or a skirt-blouse combination.
3. Boundaries Between the Personal and Professional
Once upon a time, it seemed almost absurd for an employer to glance deeply into a candidate’s personal life before making a hiring decision. But these days, even when employers would rather avoid exposure to a candidate’s personal information, the internet throws everything wide open. From the articles we published in our high school newspaper to the party we attended last weekend, employers know more about us than they used to, and it affects the job search whether we want it to or not. There’s no need to stay off the web completely, but pay attention to the things you make public.
For more tips and advice that can help you shape your modern job search, reach out to the Little Rock employment experts at CSS.