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Looking for a job?
For whatever reason, you may be re-entering the work force after a long period of time. Maybe your young children have finally all entered elementary school. Maybe your unemployment benefits have run out. Maybe you've discovered your retirement planning didn't go as planned. Maybe you've been working at home for yourself and decided you'd rather have a pay-per-hour job. Whatever your reason, there are some important things you need to consider. Here are some tips to help you find your way back into the work force.
Fashions have changed since you last worked. If you're not up on the most recent fashion trends, it might hurt your job hunt. No, you don't need to go buy all new clothes on credit until you get a paycheck. But you do need to take a few minutes and surf the internet to see what is trending in business clothing. Why? Because if you show up to hand in your resume and you're wearing clothes from ten years ago, you may end up feeling really old and out of place, and that will affect your confidence level. The good news is that fashions do tend to cycle, so there's bound to be a few outfits in your closet that you can pull off as possible recent purchases. Update your wardrobe with one or two small purchases, like a trendy new scarf or belt. Clothing should be mostly neutral, with maybe a small pop of color somewhere, unless you're auditioning for a clown position.
Even resumes change with the times. Ten years ago it may have been the style to center your name in the middle of the top, but with electronic communication so prevalent now, it makes more sense to justify your information to the left of the page. A great cover letter is very important, especially if you're sending your resume as an email attachment. If your cover letter doesn't impress an employer, they may never open the attachment that contains the incredible resume that you spent hours crafting.
Smart Phone Etiquette
Turn it off and put it away. Do not, under any circumstances, fall under the temptation of pulling out your smart phone and surfing through your email or the internet while you are waiting for your interview. It makes you look totally detached and uninterested. Look up. Look around. Look at the door to the interview room. Look interested. Look hopeful. Look confident. Look at the art on the wall. Look at the receptionist and smile. But do not look at your phone.
A thank you goes a long way. If you want to make a impression on a potential employer, send a thank you. Yes, email is acceptable. However, to make the absolute best impression, send a hand-written thank you note. GASP! Yes, really. You can take five minutes to sit down and actually use a pen to write a short note, thanking the potential employer for their time. In this world of electronic communications, sending REAL mail is truly impressive. It is important to mail it within 24 hours of your interview so that it arrives in a timely matter, when the employer is still making hiring decisions. If the job offer is teetering between you and one other person, chances are that hand-written note will get you the job.
Good luck on your job search!