As of July 2013, there were three unemployed people for every one job available, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job seekers must have a plan to set themselves apart from the competition. Getting the job isn’t just about being the most qualified candidate—you need to know how to market yourself, too.
Launch a Website or Portfolio
Designers and writers probably already have a portfolio, but job seekers with business and marketing backgrounds should also set up shop online. Use free website-building software or invest in a designer. Register a domain that reflects your name (“JohnDoe.com”) or area of specialty. Make sure to include:
- A picture of yourself
- A brief bio
- Your educational background
- A section for your resume or CV
Build another section with links to projects or companies you’ve worked with and a brief explanation of what you did. For example, if you worked on social media for a major retailer, include their information and a link to their Facebook or Twitter pages. Include an image of their logo to make your site look more visually appealing and enable hiring managers to zero in on who you’ve worked with.
Get Your Interview Outfit Together
Know your industry before you go shopping. If you’re looking for creative work at an ad agency, don’t arrive in a stuffy three-piece suit. At the same time, going too casual can cost you the job. According to a survey conducted by the staffing company Adecco, 75 percent of hiring managers said the biggest mistake millennials make is wearing inappropriate attire to an interview. Flip-flops, shorts and golf shirts are unlikely to make a good impression, unless you’re interviewing at a golf course. Stick to a wardrobe that looks professional.
Attend Conferences and Networking Events
While your competition is waiting around to get a call from a recruiter they met at a hiring event, find conferences targeted to your industry. If you have an editorial background, attend events that explore the future of publishing, social media or ebooks. The real goal is to rub elbows with senior professionals and hiring managers who aren’t being flooded with a slew of hopeful candidates. Instead, they’re looking to meet new and interesting professionals with a unique perspective on the conference.
Attending conferences can get pricey, but look at it as an investment in your overall job search. Spending a few hundred dollars on a networking event that’s sure to put you in the room with the right people could save you months of job searching. Earn extra income by taking on freelance projects and look for other ways to fund your job search. If you receive regular payments from a structured settlement or annuity, you may be able to sell your future payments to a company like J.G. Wentworth for a lump sum of cash now.
Organize a Mock Interview
You have to nail the interview. Contact your local library, community center or university and inquire about mock interview sessions and job-hunting help. A seasoned HR professional or recruiter can guide you through the standard interview questions and help you think fast on your feet. They can tell you if you’re coming off negative, stiff or unsure in your abilities. Record yourself with a video camera to see how you act under pressure and keep refining your technique until you are polished and professional.
Invest in a Quality Web Cam
Today’s job seeker needs a quality webcam and solid Internet connection to tackle long-distance interviews. Skype a friend to check the visual and audio quality before your interview, so you can troubleshoot in advance.