Follow this job search advice if you’re aiming for a tough job market. Learn the three key factors suggested by the writer and find tips that are applicable to your specific situation.

When the job market is tight, it may be tempting to cut corners on your job search, but for the sake of landing a position, please don’t. When it’s a buyer’s market, you owe it to yourself and your family to put your best foot forward.

To stand out, there are three key factors you need to concentrate on your resume, interview skills, and a follow-up strategy.

Resume

While a homespun resume would have garnered interviews in the past, in a tight market you have to step up your game. This isn’t a time to rely on a friend’s goodwill and use her as your “resume writer.”

Search for a professional a Nationally Certified Resume Writer or someone who works at a One-Stop Center. A professionally written resume can make the difference between getting called in for an interview and getting overlooked.

To ensure the best possible service, ask to look at the writer’s resume samples. Don’t get caught up in all of the hype regarding certifications and publications. This advice may sound strange coming from a Nationally Certified Resume Writer and published author, but I’ve been in the career-services industry long enough to know that quality work trumps credentials.

That said, you can and should add weight to the extras, but the bottom line is that you have to be comfortable with the quality of work you will receive.

Interview Skills

Admit it. How many interviews have you gone on without preparing? In a job-seeker-friendly market when companies are clamoring for great employees, the “wing it” method works just fine. But to compete in today’s market, you have to invest time getting acquainted with common interview questions and sample responses.

To get you started, here are a few.

Many candidates have submitted their resume for consideration. Why should I hire you over other qualified candidates?

Keep in mind that the interviewer is interested in your candidacy. That is the reason you are interviewing for the position. When answering this question, mention the three main reasons you stand out from others. Depending on your position, reasons can include your proficiency in account management, customer service, and/or strategic planning.

What do you know about our company?

There is a difference between wanting a job and taking a sincere interest in working for the hiring organization. There are no shortcuts to answering this question successfully; you have to conduct research.

What areas of your abilities would you like to improve upon?

This is a tricky way of asking, “What is your greatest weakness?”. Choose an ability that needs improvement but isn’t an integral part of your job.

Follow-Up Strategies

The interview isn’t over when you walk out of the interviewer’s office. Chances are, many candidates interviewed for the position before you did and many more will interview for the position after you. To remain competitive, it is essential that you write a follow-up letter.

This is advice most job seekers tend to ignore. And it’s a shame because the follow-up letter can seal a job offer. This is because only a small percentage of job seekers write a follow-up letter, so those who do take the time to write one stand out.

Below is a sample of a follow-up letter.

Thank you for the opportunity to interview for . The level of professionalism displayed by the associates immediately impressed me. Each was warm and exuded a level of enthusiasm that is contagious. My initial impression of was solidified during our interview. From the information you relayed during our meeting, my qualities are a direct fit with the job opening.

Please know that I remain interested in working at <name of company>. If necessary, I’m open to attending another round of interviews to explore this opportunity further.

I can be reached at (631) 387-1894 or [email protected] I look forward to your positive response.

In Closing

Following the advice above will make you more confident. Confidence leads to more interviews. More interviews leads to job offers. Job offers leads to career satisfaction.

So what are you waiting for?

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Certified in all three areas of the job search Certified Interview Coach ™ (CIC), Job & Career Transition Coach (JCTC), and Nationally Certified Resume Writer (NCRW) Linda Matias is qualified to assist you in your career transition, whether it be a complete career makeover, interview preparation, or resume assistance. You can contact Linda Matias at [email protected] or visit her website http://www.careerstrides.com for additional career advice and to view resume samples.

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