12 New Rules for Getting Hired

Blog, business

I am what people like to call a “millennial”. Whatever connotation comes with that label, I really don’t care. Some media articles lump all people of this generation into one group. Not ALL their sweeping generalizations are wrong. We millennials do tend to care more about the environment, social justice, and the overall well being of humankind. One thing we’re stuck with: crappy job prospects.

The rules of getting hired have changed. Even the rules schools taught our generation no longer apply. I’ve had the “opportunity” to spend a lot time searching for a job, and I want to share what I’ve learned with the masses.

Rule #1: Show Up To Your Interview
I’m not kidding about this. In my current position, we’ve tried to interview ten people for a new position. Six of those prospects were complete no-shows. Just like most of life’s challenges, showing up is half the battle.

Rule #2: Ditch the Resume Objective
Delete this entire section from your resume. It’s completely pointless. Your objective is to get the job you’re interviewing for. There’s no sense in being redundant.

Rule #3: Your GPA Doesn’t Matter
Do you have any idea how many Americans work in an industry that has absolutely nothing to do what they majored in in college? The ability to excel in school can translate some skills in the workplace, but it does nothing to convey your potential as a member of a team.

Rule #4: Do Not Ignore Social Media
Social media is here to stay. The trick is to use it to your advantage. I use Facebook primarily to keep in touch with family and friends (and keep my privacy settings locked tight). I use services like Twitter and LinkedIn to not only research job opportunities, but build my online brand. Yes, YOU HAVE A BRAND. Follow local companies. Learn about jobs on LinkedIn. Utilize these resources. You may not land your dream job, but they’ll allow you more direct access to employers than mailing off a resume, which brings me to my next rule.

Rule #5: Only Mail If Told So
Mailing an application is an outdated concept. We live in the 21st century and if a company you want to work for refuses to take electronic resume, cover letters, or applications, that may give you more insight into how they run their company. If a job ad instructs you to mail in your resume, by all means, do so, but ONLY when instructed to.

Rule #6: Construct Many Resume Versions
I learned this the hard way. Most people create their resume as a Word document. That’s fine, but you need to convert it to PDF too, because more and more people are moving away from standalone word processors. It also wouldn’t hurt to create a plain text version. Trust me, these come in handy when you need to copy and paste your resume into an online application engine, like Jobvite. If you copy and paste from a Word document, the formatting will get lost in translation and your resume will look like it was typed by a chimpanzee.

Rule #7: Dress Appropriately
Not all dress codes are created equal. Dress to be a part of the organization, not what Forbes tells you to. These customs vary by industry and region, but trust me; nothing feels more awkward than walking into a small start-up in Austin, Texas wearing a three-piece suit trying to get a Marketing Assistant’s job. When in doubt, just ask what the appropriate office attire is.

Rule #8: Don’t Mention Money…At First
Nothing annoys me more than being asked how much a job pays during an initial interview. Just don’t mention the entire subject, unless they do. If the company wants to hire you, they’ll bring up the money issue. Until then, shut it.

Rule #9: Do. Not. Lie.
Magic is not real. Simply putting on your resume that you are fluent in Spanish not only will come out as a lie, it’ll get you fired. In a corporate world where there are daily headlines of thieves, liars, and cheats, the virtue of having integrity is becoming more and more a commodity. As the saying goes, the truth will set you free.

Rule #10: Always Have Extra Resumes
I’m guilty of this one. I went to a job interview early in college and didn’t bring a copy of my resume. I assumed they already had it. I was wrong. I spent a total of 30 seconds in that lady’s office, and it’s never happened again.

Rule #11: Be Personable
You need to look like you want the job and that you’re a good person to be around. Hopefully you wouldn’t be at an interview unless you really wanted a job, but if you just aren’t a fan of people, or just hate the interviewing process, fake it until you make it. They’re taking time out of their busy day to talk to you. The least you could do is seem engaged in the process.

Rule #12: Always Send Thanks
Thanking someone for their time after the interview is a given, but that shouldn’t be the end of it. In no less than 24 hours, you send additional thanks. Send a follow-up email. Show a nice touch with a hand-written note. One person I know even got an internship at a prestigious Austin advertising agency by sending both a note AND a package of freshly baked cookies from Tiff’s Treats.

Those are my new rules for getting hired. Will doing all of these get you that dream job with $60K a year, full benefits, and a 401k? Probably not. They will, however, get you going in the right direction. What are your new rules for finding a job?