The world of job searching is an ever-evolving place, with new technology and techniques regularly phasing out the “old” ways things were done. If you are looking for a job in the current market, you may be familiar with some of these new practices, such as online applications, video interviews, LinkedIn, etc.
These are all great tools, and they all have value in the current market. However, it is important to remember that some of the old ways of doing things are still valuable as well. Below is a list of five “old school” job hunting techniques that still have a great deal of value in the current job market.
1. – Applying in person vs. online
Many companies have developed online programs that allow applicants to apply for the positions that they have available via their website or a job board. This is becoming more and more widely used, because it allows employers to filter out candidates using a computer program without ever having to actually review the applications personally.
While this is great for the employers, it isn’t so great for potential employees. What this means is that a computer program decides whether or not the hiring manager ever actually sees your application. One misspelled word, one wrong choice in phrase, and your app is in “file 13” (the trash can).
You can get around this, however, by simply applying in person. Paper applications as a general rule have to be reviewed by an actual person, and they give you opportunity to introduce yourself to a potential employer by giving you a face to face encounter with them when you’re applying. Even if the employer has gone completely paperless, it is to your benefit to go into the place and ask for an application.
2. – Sending a handwritten note after an interview
It seems that somewhere job seekers have gotten the impression that an email is sufficient thanks for an employer after completing an interview with him or her. Unfortunately, this is not true. While an email may be acceptable to some employers, it is important that an applicant also follow up with a handwritten note as well.
Doing so allows you to stand out to the employer (because most applicants will not do it), and it shows that you are courteous because you took time out of your day to thank the employer for taking time out of his/hers to talk with you. It makes a great and lasting impression with the interviewer, and could mean the difference between you getting the job and not.
3. – Observe the “10 Second Rule”
The 10 Second Rule is the idea that each person that you meet develops an opinion of you within the first 10 seconds of meeting you. That means that you have only 10 seconds to make a good impression on a potential employer. It also means that, because it is highly unlikely that you will be able to say anything other than “Hello, my name is…” in the first 10 seconds, you need to be aware of all the nonverbal messages that you send. How is your posture? Are you dressed professionally? Do you look nervous and tense, or do you appear at ease with your surroundings?
All of these are considerations that lead to the person that you’re meeting with making assumptions about you and categorizing you in a certain way based on those assumptions. You should always be aware of the perception that you give to others, so that you are in control of the messages that you send. This is the best way to ensure that the message that you’re sending is the message you want to come across to the other person.
4. – Follow the rules
This one sounds like a given, but there are many people who violate this rule every day. If an employer says to apply via fax, don’t send them an email and a letter as well. If they say “no calls please,” then don’t call to inquire about the status of your application. Many times there are stories about people who have gone to excessive lengths to impress an employer, and they wind up getting the job because the employer is so impressed with their tenacity. Hear this clearly – these people are the exception, not the rule.
Most of the time, violating the parameters that the employer sets forth concerning how they would like for you to apply for a position only sends the message that you are either not good at following directions or that you have an issue with rules and authority. Neither of these are a good way to make a first impression on an employer. Be sure to be persistent, but also to adhere to the employer’s wishes.
5. – Network in person
The advent of social media has made it extremely easy to connect and network with people from the safety and comfort of your own home. Still, nothing can compete with the value of real, live interaction with the people whom you are interested in getting to know better.
There is a connection that is established with face to face interaction that cannot be duplicated with Facebook or LinkedIn, and, although these tools are extremely valuable in maintaining contact with your network, they are not a substitute for good old fashioned networking.
So, there you have it. Including these five tried and true techniques in your job search/development plan is a sure fire way to increase your positive results. There is much to be said for the many amazing advancements in connectivity and interaction, especially when it comes to the job search. Still, there is no substitute for many of the “old school” techniques like these.