Q&A: How to Gain an Edge in the Job Hunt

job huntJust the thought of hunting for a job might put some on edge. The Detroit Free Press asked four experts for their best advice and summarized their answers, highlighting a few specific responses.

QUESTION: How much time can it take to find a job?

ANSWER: Much will depend on a variety of factors. Are your skills in demand? Do you have a resume at the ready?

Joseph Genest, an employment service facilitator for Michigan Works, a workforce-development agency, said it can take a month to prepare a solid resume and other paperwork. He wants to see more people attend free workshops at his office, such as a social media seminar and a job fair boot camp.

Q: What?s the biggest mistake people make with a job hunt?

A: Emailing the exact same resume to 10 or 20 employers.

Customize what your resume says for each job, said Chad Austin, job placement officer at Henry Ford Community College in Dearborn, Mich. A resume must mention your exact qualifications and certifications for specific openings, he said.

Some employers hire third parties to sift through resumes, and they may be looking for six or so key words, Genest said. If the words don?t show up, your resume hits the trash. Job experts recommend researching wording for qualifications at http:///www.onetonline.org.

Q: What are some things to consider about creating an image online?

A: Make sure to be active on LinkedIn. Ford Motor, which announced it is hiring salaried workers, is expanding use of social media to recruit tech-savvy workers.

LinkedIn is viewed as a standard tool now. ?If you?re not there, it?s like I can?t find you,? said Liran Kotzer, founder and CEO of DoNanza.com, which aggregates freelance jobs for graphic designers, writers, those with experience in social media and video, and others. Kotzer said individuals also should write a blog about their own expertise.

Many know they should be careful about their images on Facebook and Twitter. But what?s one key tip?

?Don?t tell anything bad on your past bosses,? Kotzer said. A company isn?t going to want to hire you if they see you said something negative about a past employer ? even if it?s true.

Q: What about the interview? Any tricks to know?

A: Some interviewers start out by asking: ?Tell me a little about yourself.?

Genest warns this can be a trick question for you to open up about troubles. It?s not the time to answer: ?I?m a single mother with two children in school,? or, ?I?ve been sick and out of work for one year.?Instead, Genest said, talk immediately about your skills for that specific job.

Q: Where do you look for work?

A: Too often people might put all their luck on one strategy ? say, asking families and friends to let them know about job openings, the experts say. Be diverse. File applications online. Go to job fairs. Consider how your skills can transfer to other businesses.

Austin said career fairs are more about making a connection with someone in the company. Take the manager?s business card, jot down details about the conversation, send a letter to the person. It?s OK to apply for the job online, but mention meeting a representative for that company.

Q: What?s a pitfall of looking online for work?

A: ?The biggest pitfall we have found is unsuspecting or desperate job seekers who are charged a fee for a list of jobs that they could have found free,? said Pamela Moore, president and CEO of Detroit Employment Solutions, a Michigan Works agency and the administrative and fiscal agent responsible for workforce programs for Detroit. Another pitfall is job sites that require you to subscribe to something or have you sign up to take classes you don?t need.

Q: Does the employment picture seem a little easier than a year or two ago?

A: Definitely, experts said. ?It?s not the Wild West of hiring right now,? Austin said. ?But it?s definitely showing growth.?

Source: MCT Information Services