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Here’s Your List…Check it Twice!

There are a lot of moving parts when looking for employment. Here is a list of basics to keep in mind as you search. Following these simple suggestions could help keep you on any hiring manager’s nice list this holiday season.

  1. Social Media – In this day in age social media is so prevalent in everything we do. Make sure your online presence is acceptable. Before you start applying or interviewing, go through your accounts and take down any photos, videos, or posts that might not put you in the best light. I work with several clients who check social media before moving forward in the process. Examples would include drinking/partying, bad/inappropriate jokes, politics, etc. If you don’t want to change your platforms, make sure everything is set to private. If you don’t already have LinkedIn, this is a great tool to add to your social media quiver.
  2. Resume – Make sure your resume is clean and easy to read. Most hiring managers only look at a resume for 10 seconds, so make it count. Bullet points make it easy to read. In my opinion, chronological order is the best type of resume because it shows the timeline of your work history as well as specific responsibilities for each job. Do not put your age, a photo, religion, quotes, or hobbies (I have seen some that say eating hamburgers…). You don’t want to allow there to be any room for discrimination. Simple black font is the best, especially if you’re applying to a job that is business related. If you have more than a few years of work history or jobs, it’s ok to go over a page.
  3. References – Not all companies require references, but there are still a lot of companies that do. As a recruiter, we require all of our candidates to provide references. Make sure they are professional references. They shouldn’t be family or friends. Ideally, you’d have a manager, a coworker, and a subordinate (if applicable). If your current employer doesn’t know you’re looking, it’s ok to wait, but you can always ask anyone who used to work at that company with you. Don’t just assume that colleagues will provide a reference. Make sure you call and ask for their permission to be contacted first.
  4. Dress – It is important to dress to impress for interviews. My encouragement is always a suit or at least slacks, blouse or button shirt, and/or a blazer. Make sure your outfit is wrinkle free. Don’t overdo the perfume or cologne. Your hair should be well groomed and make up tasteful. I would encourage you to cover tattoos (unless you know the company’s specific tattoo policy). If you are a smoker, do not smoke before you go into an interview.
  5. Phone – Since you are applying to jobs, hopefully you’ll be getting calls from either recruiters, HR professionals, or hiring managers. Make sure you are ready for those calls. Do not have a ring back tone or a song. Make sure your voicemail is set up and it is simple and professional with your first and last name. Keep your voice mail box clean. It’s hard to get a hold of you if we can’t leave a message. When answering the phone, have an upbeat and positive attitude. I know talking on the phone isn’t for everyone, but when a candidate is blah or seems uninterested on the phone, that is a red flag for me. When you return a call, make sure you know who you’re calling and what you’re calling about. We get several returned calls that say, “I don’t know if it was you who was calling or someone else” or “I applied to a job, but I can’t remember what it was because there have been so many.” A lack of organization at this stage in the process could be perceived as a red flag to hiring managers. Keeping an Excel spreadsheet of the jobs you’ve applied to, dates, companies, etc. is a good way to keep track and stay organized.
  6. Email – I think back to my very first email address and just shake my head. It was the “cool” thing to have a really funny or catchy address. That ship has sailed. If you still are operating under your middle or high school email, and it has something like “bigmanoncampus@someemail.com” or something even more ridiculous, it’s time to change it up. First and/or last name, initials, numbers, anything that is simple and professional is the best thing to use.
  7. Handshake – One of my clients turned a highly qualified candidate down because of their handshake when they first met. My dad taught me as a kid that having a good handshake is one of the most important skills I could learn. I couldn’t agree more. Now, I am very aware of people’s handshakes. Use your right hand. It should be firm, but not too tight and use your whole hand. Practice makes perfect. Ask for feedback!
  8. First impression – Putting your best foot forward starts way before you meet the person who is going to be interviewing you. Don’t forget about the front desk professionals you’ll be in contact with. We ask our front desk how people treat them in person and over the phone. Their impression of you matters. Be kind, be patient, and engage in conversation. If you are waiting, do not play on your phone. Better yet, don’t even bring your phone into the interview.

The job search can be stressful, so hopefully these tips are helpful to you. Just remember that everything counts. You are being judged. Take a step back, evaluate yourself, ask a friend or a colleague about how you present, and take the necessary steps to get better. If you have any questions about any of these things or would like additional coaching, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Aureus Group. We are here to help.

Chelsea Liska, Aureus Group Account Manager

Chelsea Liska

Chelsea has been with Aureus Group since September 2011, and currently is an Account Manager for the Iowa market. Chelsea works with clients to discuss their staffing needs and assist in finding them the perfect candidate to join their team. She loves when she is able to use her skills to help someone and give them an amazing experience in their candidate and career search. Every day Chelsea gets to be a part of a company that is building into her so that she can build into others. When she isn’t working, she is active in her church. Chelsea loves being active and playing volleyball, golf, softball, snowboarding, working out, and hanging out with her friends and family. Binge watching her favorite shows is definitely a notable skill! She is personally and professionally committed to being an “Energy Ambassador!”


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