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9 ultimate job search tips and tricks

GeneralEdward KiledjianComment
Image by  Alex France  used under Creative Commons License

Image by Alex France used under Creative Commons License

Whether you have been laid of, abused at work or simply need something new, here are 10 tips to help you find your next perfect job.

Preparation is king

Before starting the job search process, make sure you have the required infrastructure in place to look professional. Make sure your primary voicemail (attached to the number on your CV) has a professional sounding message (no music, slang or clichés). 

Make sure your email address looks professional and isn't something childish (e.g. [email protected], sexy[email protected], etc). Ideally you should invest in your own domain name (which can be had with a hosted email service for about $20 a year). Some recruiters even recommend setting up a new email address to be use only for your job search but this isn't something I personally recommend.

Have a cell phone number that makes you immediately reachable and add that to your CV (instead of your home number). The worst thing that can happen is you are selected and the recruiter can't reach you.

Find contacts in the fields (jobs) you are looking for and ask them about their jobs. What is it like? What are the required skills? How did they find their job? Ask them for recommendations on getting a similar job.

Update the paperwork

You should be updating your CV a couple of times a year, even if you aren't looking for a job. During a job search, spend the time to critically evaluate your CV and ask trusted friends to also provide their honest feedback. You only have once chance to make a good first impression.

Use the PDCA continuous improvement approach : Plan, Do, Check Act.  Plan what you want on your CV. Write it. See how recruiters react and then make changes as necessary to solicit the required response.

Google yourself

Most recruiters will search for you on the internet as part of their funnelling process. Google yourself and see what comes up. If you find embarrassing items, try to have them removed by the site hosting the content.

Make sure you have an up to date LinkedIn profile with some (select) information showing on your public LinkedIn profile page. Here are 7 LinkedIn tips to help you make a great first impression and to help with your job search:

  1. LinkedIn Tip #1 - Customize your public LinkedIn URL
  2. LinkedIn Tip #2 - Create a profile badge for your blog or website
  3. LinkedIn Tip #3 - Your profile should be keyword friendly
  4. LinkedIn Tip #4 - OpenLink allows you to message non connected members
  5. LinkedIn Tip #5 - Export your LinkedIn contacts
  6. LinkedIn Tip #6 - Convert your LinkedIn Profile to a professional resume
  7. LinkedIn Tip #7 - Don't spam your connections with every update

I recommend you start a personal about you page. You can start by using a site like About.Me or setup your own personal blog (like I have at These sites are an opportunity for you to put your best foot forward. If you don't know anything about websites or blogs, setup a site using one of the hosted services like SquareSpace , Tumblr, WithKnown or WordPress.

Reference List

Most companies will ask you to provide a list of 3 references. You should already plan on who you would use and contact them asking for their permission and contact information. Never use an existing colleague or boss. Never use a contact without first asking for their permission. 

Ideally you brief your contacts on why you are looking, what you are looking for and what skills they may be asked to verify.

Use your network

Most jobs are found through contacts and not job sites. Use your network (friends, former colleagues, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc) to let everyone know you are looking. Tell them what kind of job you want and solicit their help in finding opportunities. 

Most jobs are found this way. 

Don't follow your passion

Cal Newport has written a book called "So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love" (link) and says the most common advice he sees is to "follow your passion".  He says this is a fallacy and explains in his book how (through a study) people end up loving their work didn't follow a pre-existing passion and instead their passion developed as they got better at their jobs.

Be a good listener and journalist

My wife is was a journalist and her ability to extract information from people she meets is uncanny. A good journalist knows how to ask open ended questions that encourage the other person to talk and talk and talk. 

Practice being a good journalist and asking potential interviewers open ended questions to get them talking about the job and company. Find out who is hiring? Why are they hiring? What are the skills they are looking for? What does the ideal candidate look like? 

First you have to build rapport, then start your gentle interrogation. Once you start asking questions, become an active listener and pay attention to every nuance. Some of my best interviews were spend listening rather than pitching myself.

Be nice to everyone

I love talking to everyone from the administrative assistant to the janitor. Everyone has a story. Unfortunately I have seen too many candidates ignore these people when waiting for the main interviewer. My recommendation is to be nice and try to talk to everyone. 

Talk to the receptionist. Talk to the administrative assistant. Talk to anyone from the company that may pass by and say hi. Just be a nice likeable guy or girl. 

Learn to speak body language

Most candidates I have met don't spend too much time thinking about this but it is critically important. What are your non vocal cues saying? Take the time to read up on body language and then practice your's using a mirror.

Once you learn body language, you will also be able to interpret how the interview is going by reading the body language of the interviewer.