Whether you've been out of the workforce for awhile or you're asking an elder for career advice, it's important to recognize that the rules of job-hunting have changed in recent years.
Thanks to the internet, it's easier than ever to find a suitable position, but harder than ever to get noticed. By modernizing your job searching tactics, you'll be more likely to impress recruiters in an increasingly competitive environment.
1. Peruse the want ads.
You don't have to be very old to remember the stereotype of an unemployed person hunched over the newspaper classifieds, red pen in hand.
While that may have been an effective way to search for jobs a few years ago, it would be truly unwise to limit your search to the want ads today -- or even the online equivalent.
Job postings play a key role, but be sure to spread your efforts across a variety of websites, tap into your network and use social media to find out about potential positions.
2. Go door-to-door.
In the past, proactive job-hunters may have paid a visit to businesses whether they were advertising an opening or not; it seemed like a great way to make an impression and find out about jobs before they were advertised.
Today, dropping by uninvited is a great way to irritate potential employers who undoubtedly already have a lot on their plate.
3. Paper resumes are best.
While there's no harm in submitting both paper and digital copies of your resume, many recruiters prefer the convenience of digital copies.
Besides being easier to send and store, digital resumes reduce paper waste, making them a better fit for a growing number of paperless workplaces.
Worried your email will get lost in the ether? Your paper resume is just as likely -- if not more so -- to get tossed in the recycle bin. In the same vein, don't waste money investing in heavy card stock paper or overnighting your resume.
4. Begin with an objective sentence.
Do you really need to tell potential employers that your objective is to obtain a position at an organization where you can maximize your unique skills? Isn't that implied simply by the fact that you've applied for the job?
Rather than focusing on your own objective, use that space to include an impactful summary of what you can offer the organization. Recruiters might still skip that section to get to the meat of the resume, but at least you've used the space more shrewdly.
5. List every job you've ever had.
When it comes to resumes, more isn't necessarily better. Rather than listing every job you've ever had (including your high school fast-food stint), choose the positions that are most applicable to the job you are applying for, and emphasize your accomplishments that make you seem like the strongest candidate. Yes, that means you should have more than one resume. It should be constantly evolving, depending on the position you are applying for. 6. Use formal language.
To whom it may concern: Neither your resume nor your cover letter should sound like a legal document -- even if you're applying for a job as an attorney.
Instead, use clear and concise language that gives a hint of your personality while retaining a professional tone.
7. Be aggressive.
In today's competitive job-hunting field, often hundreds of people are vying for the same position. When that's the case, an overly pushy candidate might push themselves right in to the reject pile.
Stopping by the office, calling recruiters, and incessantly emailing is not only amateurish but rude. If your resume stands out, you will receive an email or phone call. Until then, wait patiently like everyone else.