Amp Up Your Job Search: A Round-Up of Advice for Tough Times

Last Updated Nov 19, 2008 8:43 AM EST

  • An alternate way to amp up your job search.The Find: If you're job hunting don't let the dire economic news get you down, even in tough times there are plenty of ways to boost your chances of getting hired.
  • The Source: Recent articles from CareerBuilder.com and Monster Career Advice.
The Takeaway: Job hunting is always tough, and with the headlines full of companies cutting rather than adding jobs, it's even more challenging now. So how can job seekers get an edge on the competition and stand out? We're rounding up resources today.

CareerBuilder insists that getting a new gig is as much about "hire me!" attitude as it is about experience or education. It's not enough to have a polished resume and cover letter, you also need that little bit of swagger that gets you noticed. Not a natural swaggerer? No worries, they've got tips to help you along, among them:

  1. Pick up the phone. "What gets my attention is a phone call and real live voice," says Barbara Zaccone, president of BZA LLC, a strategic design company. "A perfect example would be a follow-up phone call after the interview. No one ever does that. And I mean no one."
  2. Analyze keywords. Analyze several job postings in the field for which you are looking for a job, says Cheryl Palmer, an executive career coach. "Develop a list of keywords from those postings that you incorporate into the resume under a subheading entitled 'core competencies.' Employers search their database of resumes by keyword, so having these terms on your resume increases your chances of your resume being selected for further review."
  3. Lose the "To Whom It May Concern." That went the way of the 20th century, says Lynda McDaniel, a business writing coach. "Try to get the person's name. If not, simply say 'Greetings' or 'Hello.'"
  4. During the interview, keep your responses job-related. Many job seekers start off the interview on the wrong note when they respond to the statement, "Tell me about yourself," Palmer says. "Job seekers give a personal response instead of a professional response. Your response will say, 'Hire me,' if you tailor your responses to the position you are applying for."
What if you're already doing all of the above, you've got a killer interview suit (sorry guys, this link is for the ladies), but you're still disappointed with how things are going? One answer could be to blame your timing rather than yourself. Monster is offering a piece that promises to help you understand recruitment cycles to give your job search an edge. The article goes through the trends for all four quarters and offers tips.

For example, in the third quarter recruiters may be less pressed for time than in peak months and may be willing to take a longer look at a woman trying to return to work after spending a few years off with her kids. The fourth quarter is characterized by a rush, then a lull. Check out the complete article for much more.

But don't let your attempts at playing the recruitment peaks end up as an excuse for procrastination. "You need to be out there looking for opportunities, not finding excuses to avoid looking," says Tom Johnston, CEO of SearchPath International at the conclusion of the article.

The Question: Do you have any further tips or resources to add?

(Image of homemade motivational poster by slushpup, CC 2.0)

  • Jessica Stillman On Twitter»

    Jessica lives in London where she works as a freelance writer with interests in green business and tech, management, and marketing.