Before I started to work for Syracuse University’s Career Services office in 2011, I worked as a Technical Recruiter for three-and-a-half years. During that time I experienced many odd behaviors from job-seekers. So, how can you avoid joining those job-seekers that were more memorable than hirable? Here are a few tips:
1) Network. The number one way to find a job is through networking. There are plenty of ways to do that, no matter where you physically reside. When I worked as a Technical Recruiter, I would go to events where technology professionals would meet-up. Find out where they are, wherever you are, and attend those events. It’s also easier now, more than ever, to find a job in another city than where you currently live. For example, LinkedIn has several groups for you to join, as well as opportunities to take your online networking IRL. Join the Syracuse University Alumni Network, ‘CuseConnect groups as well as other industry groups (a quick search of “Social Media” or “Washington, D.C.” will provide other ways to connect with individuals in your area, industry or geographically).
2) Research. Even though your research for school may be complete, it’s important to use those skills as you approach your career. For example, the last thing you want to do is accept an opportunity with a company that treats their employees poorly. Sure we all have ‘dream’ companies but what do we really know about them? Make sure that you search the company’s website, LinkedIn profile, and find out about them through networking. Ask questions about the work environment and management style. Find out exactly how the company operates and how that measures up to what you want in an employer.
3) Know your interview: behavioral or technical. Lucky for you, the technical job-seeker, there are two kinds of interviews that you may encounter! When you’re interviewing for a technical job, you will need to prove your technical skills (makes sense, right?). Some companies may send you a coding test to complete online; other companies may have you hand-write code on a white board during the interview (<panic> with everyone watching </panic>).
When you get a call to schedule an interview make sure to ask if it will be a behavioral or technical interview and find out who will be conducting it. Some companies prefer to screen applicants for personality first (behavioral) and then see where skill lies. Many companies believe that you can improve a skill (e.g. programming) but not a personality trait!
4) Say thank you. When I worked as a recruiter it was rare that I ever received a thank you (email or note) after an interview. That being said, if you follow this piece of advice you can really stand out to the recruiter. Make sure to thank the interviewer for his/her time, and also reiterate your interest in the position. Want bonus points? Send individual notes to each person you met at the company and mention something specific to your individual conversation with that person.
Don’t forget: if you are involved in social media, you may feel compelled to live-tweet your hiring process. Please refrain from doing this. It is important that you remain professional and keep in mind that the employer could be viewing your social media activity.
Good luck with your search!
Have any tips to share? Please share in the comments.