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A Common Sense Guide to Acing the Job Search

Submitted by on October 16, 2019 – 7:57 pm

Launching a job search can seem like a daunting task. Luckily, Northern Essex Community College is here to help.

Before you start on your next career move, be sure to check out these common-sense tips, courtesy of the NECC Career Center team, to perfecting your application. Who knows – they might just help you land your dream job.

1.      Sharpen your resume heading

The devil is in the details. Take a close look at the contact information you list in your resume heading — it is, after all, the way that employers will reach you.

Make a good first impression by having a professional email address. Preferable professional emails include some variation of a person’s first and last name. (If you have a common name and encounter some trouble finding an appropriate email address, you can use numbers as well.)

If you do choose to include numbers in your email address, be sure to avoid using a combination that might indicate your year of birth. Including your age can, in certain instances, increase the possibility of age discrimination. Employers are prohibited from discriminating against people over the age of 40 under the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

Make sure to use a modern and recognizable email service such as Gmail — this is particularly important for individuals who are looking for jobs in high tech fields, like IT or Computer Science. An outdated email service like AOL or Yahoo can lend the impression that you are not keeping up with the latest tech trends.

If you put your phone number on your resume, expect a phone call. With that, consider what your voicemail sounds like and what type of impression it will have on an employer. Do you have a ringback tone? Are you using an automated voicemail that just states your number? A professional voicemail should include a personalized greeting with your full name. Including your name in the voicemail will help an employer ensure that they are leaving a message with the correct applicant.

2.      Make a resume appointment with the Career Center

The NECC Career Center is here to help students and alumni! Making a resume appointment with one of our enthusiastic team members will help ensure that your resume is current and easy to skim and read.

Fun fact: Did you know that, on average, a recruiter or HR professional will look at your resume for six seconds before deciding whether or not it should go in the “no” pile? Knowing this, you should take the time to ensure your resume is clean, well-formatted, and easy to skim. We recommend that your resume focus on highlighting marketable skills, quantifiable career accomplishments, and relevant experience for optimal results.

Resumes should be free from grammatical error. To boost your chances of passing the six-second test, run a spell check on your resume and have several people proofread.

3.      Use social media wisely

We often hear about how social media can negatively impact your job search, but consider the ways in which you can use it to positively enhance your brand.

Find one to three social media platforms that are manageable and relevant to your future career. Spend time on boosting the quality of your posts on their platforms, rather than focusing on having presence on all social media platforms. Schedule and time your posts that are geared toward your target audience. Post content that is positive and related to your future career or target industry. Follow thought leaders, target companies, and professional associations to learn from them and to remain current on industry trends. Social media can also be useful for researching employers in order to prepare for hiring interviews.

4.      Prepare your references… and respect their time

Nothing is worse than a surprise reference call or an unprepared reference. Before you list someone as your reference, contact him/her to request permission. Doing so will give your prospective reference the opportunity to agree or to explain why they may not feel comfortable.

Help them to prepare for the conversation by sending them an up-to-date version of your resume, along with a copy of the job description you are applying for.

Keep them informed about your job search and the timelines, so they know when to expect a phone call.

5.     Send follow-up communication to your prospective employer

Take the time to thank the person/people who interviewed you. A hand written note is nice, but is certainly not required in today’s job market. A post-interview email thank you is expected, however.

During the interview you may meet with just one person, or multiple people. Make a point to collect business cards so that you can send the proper acknowledgements after your meetings.

To help remember specific conversations with individuals, jot down notes on the back of the business cards. Taking this step will help you personalize the thank you email(s) that will follow.


Want to learn more about career services at NECC? Visit the Career Services page to explore jobs and internship opportunities, sign up for upcoming workshops, and more.