Top Ten Job Search Tips

Here’s our list of the Top Ten Tips that will help you put your best foot forward when looking for your next contract opportunity or full-time job.

Don’t Let Your Resume Get Lost
  • We get resumes every day with cryptic job titles that probably mean something to the candidate, but which don’t tell the reader anything useful.
    • Avoid generic terms like “consultant” or “manager”
    • Make sure that your job title helps the reader understand what you did on that job
    • Use a brief description of your function rather than a vague “official” title
  • Remember that your resume will be one of hundreds or thousands, both in the Stanfield Systems database and in any company's files
    • Make your resume easy to find and identify by using a simple, descriptive naming convention like “John Smith Resume” or “JohnSmithResume07-12-2012”
Make Your Resume as Close to Perfect as Possible
  • Never forget that your resume will be the first impression you make on a prospective employer
  • Don’t waste this opportunity to look your best
    • You’ve had all the time in the world to write your resume.
    • If an employer sees errors, he’ll wonder about the quality of your work on the job
  • Pay close attention to readability, consistency, correctness of spelling and grammar
  • Visit our Resume Tips, Resume Starter Questions and Resume Example pages for detailed advice and more tips
Make Your Resume an Effective Marketing Tool
  • Highlight your strengths, particularly those most relevant to the position you’re seeking
  • Minimize your weaknesses or balance them with accomplishments
  • Do not lie or mislead, but focus on your strengths
  • Make sure that your most relevant experience and training are listed near the top of your resume. The top summary section we recommend gives you a logical place for this.
  • Plan to generate different versions for different positions
  • Follow the format we recommend on our Resume Tips page
  • See those tips in action on the Resume Example page
Don’t Get Rusty
  • Keep certifications current
  • Earn any education or training credits needed to qualify for recertification
  • Seek opportunities to take workshops or courses in your areas of expertise or related fields
  • Consider assuming an active leadership role in professional organizations
  • Look for opportunities at your work sites to learn new techniques and approaches.
  • Consider seeking new certifications if these areas are a good fit for your specialty
Connect with People
  • Get to know your Stanfield Systems recruiter, and help him or her learn more about you
  • Consider accepting our invitations to social events
    • This is an easy way to gain visibility with your recruiter and Stanfield Systems
    • You can network with colleagues and other job seekers
    • Often some of our clients -- potential employers -- also attend these events
  • Remind your recruiter from time to time that you’re actively looking, and make sure that we have your dates of availability
  • Make sure that we always have your current contact information
Be Nice to Your Recruiter
  • Don’t send mass mailings of your resume to dozens of recruiters at once
  • Respond to specific positions, or select recruiters to work with who are active in your area of expertise
  • Don’t waste the recruiter’s time by applying for jobs where you’re not a good fit
  • Track your activities
    • Use a database or spreadsheet to follow positions you’re interested in
    • Makes notes about the companies and recruiters you’ve talked to
  • When you hear from a recruiter who’s looking for candidates for a particular job:
    • If you're a good fit, respond immediately. Time can be critical
    • If you're not a good match for the position pass the information along to a colleague who might be. (Remember our Referral Bonus program)
      • Send your colleague’s information to the recruiter.
      • You want to become known as someone who is responsive and professional.
    • If you don’t know of anyone who’s a good fit – contact the recruiter and tell them that. Use this opportunity to develop a connection with the recruiter
  • Always respond to calls or emails from recruiters as soon as you can.
    • Recruiters are always working on tight deadlines, and may need to find top candidates very quickly.
    • Again, responding quickly tells the recruiter something about you as a professional
  • Offer added value to your relationship with a recruiter - whether it’s of long standing or brand new. Don’t merely write and ask if they’ve got a job for you. Develop a professional relationship. Try sending some information that may be of practical use to a recruiter:
    • Something you read in a blog
    • A news item about recruiting in your field
    • Publicity or sponsorship opportunities for the recruiting company
    • Referral of a top candidate whom you can personally recommend
    • A link to a relevant article
  • Your recruiter will appreciate the contact – and you will have continued to build a connection that will pay off sometime in the future
Follow Instructions
  • Did you read and follow all of the submission instructions for a position you’re seeking?
  • Is your resume current, accurate and in the format requested?
  • Did you take the time to edit and target your resume to the specific position?
  • Did you submit your resume using the medium requested?
Make Sure You’re Qualified for the Position You’re Seeking
  • Avoid applying to large numbers of positions.
    • This will become known to recruiters and/or employers over time.
    • Doing this will affect your credibility as a serious and qualified candidate
  • Read all materials carefully:
    • Job description and required skills and experience
    • Requirements for work samples, suggested approach to the problem, etc.
    • Reference requests and specific information required from references
    • Any addition material sent to you, including RFOs, SOWs, etc.
  • Know the details of the position requirements
  • Respect the client’s “must have” requirements. Don’t apply if you’re not even close
  • If you're a close match, but not perfect, don’t hesitate to propose yourself.
    • If you're a good match, your other experience or skills may balance what you're missing
    • Explain what experience or skills you have that would enable you to do the job even if you don’t have a skill that was requested
  • Read through our extensive Interview Tips for more ways to research the job and company
Give Your Recruiter the Information He Needs to Represent You Effectively
  • Any recruiter has to present a candidate to the client effectively and positively, no matter how expert the candidate is, or how perfect a match he is for the position
  • Don’t make your recruiter guess at all the ways you might be a great fit for the job
  • Make sure that the recruiter is fully aware of:
    • Your education, certifications, experience and skills.
    • Specific metrics of your achievements in previous positions.
    • What you can do for the client in the position you’re applying for.
  • Don’t hesitate to point out areas that are similar or relevant. For example: “I haven’t done X, but I’m highly experienced in Y, and these are the ways that the two are similar.”
  • No one can know your experience better than you do
  • Make sure that your recruiter knows the facts, so he can represent you as strongly as possible
Be Ready to Answer Questions About Your Resume and Background
  • Does your resume show gaps in your work history? Your recruiter – and prospective employers – will want to know about those.
  • Are you moving from contract work to permanent employment? Or the other way around? Why?
  • Are you local to our areas of activity? Are you planning to relocate? Would you travel if the position required it? How much travel would be acceptable?
  • What is your citizenship or visa status (if citizenship is a requirement)?
  • And, of course: Why, exactly, do you want to work for this particular employer?
  • How can you benefit the employer? What value can you bring to the organization?
  • Our Interview Tips section lists dozens of questions that you may be asked. Review those and practice how you will respond. We also provide a list of questions you might want to ask the interviewer.
Bonus Tip - And One You Can’t Afford to Ignore
  • Remember that the interview process itself – from the moment you walk in the door, until you have earned the position – is absolutely critical to your success
  • Study all of our Interview Tips
  • Make sure that you are fully prepared to represent yourself positively and professionally before, during and after your interview