How to find a job: Dos and don'ts

July 25, 2011 10:56:38 AM PDT
It has never taken longer to find a job. Job seekers look for an average of 10 months before finally securing a job.

Last week, new unemployment figures for Illinois show the rate increased to 9.2% in June. It was the second straight month the state jobless rate increased. While the job outlook appears bleak, Career Builder,, says there are jobs to be had. The company tracked job listings in the Chicago area over the last 6 months to provide an insider's perspective on hiring trends.

The following five industries continue to see solid growth in hiring based on Career Builder job listings:

Sales - up 24% since January
Businesses are focused on growth and revenue generation. We're seeing increased sales jobs in new media and advertising, technology, health care and biotechnology, and professional and business services.

Healthcare - up 10% since January
They need both clinical and non-clinical staff. On the clinical side, they need everything from nurses and physical therapists to radiology technicians, medical assistants, home health aides, etc... On the non-clinical side, you can find the same positions you see in corporate America - accounting/finance, office managers, IT staff, etc.

Information Technology - up 22% since January
Cuts costs and drives innovation to open new revenue streams. With the proliferation of smart phones and the Internet and the increased emphasis companies are placing on business analytics, we're seeing demand for .NET developers, JAVA developers, business and network analysts, database administrators, etc...

Marketing - up 22% since January
Jobs in a variety of marketing functions (e-mail marketing, social media management, advertising, etc?) are needed to promote offerings and add to top-line growth. These roles directly support sales and are revenue generators.

Customer Service - up 38% since January
Coming off the worse economic downturn in history, businesses understand that a good costumer experience results in a stronger brand and an increase in future revenue.

In addition, it's encouraging to see increased growth in entry level jobs in the Chicago area over the last six months as organizations invest in developing new talent for their organizations. Entry level jobs are up 17 percent, which is good news for college graduates.


  • Stay relevant Hiring managers are looking for the best person to fill one specific position. Giving them details of every job you've ever held doesn't help your case if only ¼ of that information is relevant. Only list experience that positions you for the job or reword your past work to appear relevant.
  • Format to your benefit Many job seekers don't realize that the résumé format they learned from their parents isn't always the best one. The chronological format lists jobs from the most recent to the oldest. However, a functional résumé groups information by skills and experience. Arrange your résumé in a way that emphasizes your strengths for that particular position. There are no set rules for how a résumé must look.
  • Use numbers and facts Most job seekers would probably consider themselves team players, hard workers, and quick learners. Avoid empty clichés and list statistics instead. Cite quantifiable results to prove your worth. Ex: Increased sales 25 percent in one quarter, reduce production costs by 10 percent, saved the company $3 million, managed a team of 20 copywriters and graphic designers.

  • Send the same resume for every position Seventy-nine percent of human resource managers say they pay more attention to résumés that are tailored to their open positions. Don't think one size fits all when it comes to résumés. Look at the job posting and be sure to include the same keywords and phrases in your résumé. Some companies use automated readers to scan résumés for specific terms before they ever make their way to the hiring manager's desk.
  • Lie or stretch the truth If you lie?or exaggerate or stretch the truth?an employer might not know the moment he or she reads it. They might find out the truth when they call one of your references or if you make a mistake during an interview. Regardless, a lie tarnishes your reputation and can ruin your chances of receiving an offer or could even cause an employer to rescind an offer. Save yourself the anxiety and stick to the truth.
  • Forget to spell check Typos and spelling errors are perhaps the most inexcusable mistakes you can make on a résumé. Review your résumé, then let your word processor's spell check have a go at it, and then review it again. Even let a friend look it over. Typos tell employers that you don't care much about detail, which is not the impression you want to make on a potential boss. Remember not to only rely on spell check, however, because "to," "too" and "two" are all proper words that won't get picked up by a computer even if used incorrectly. This is not the time to be lazy and skimp on the details.


Leverage social media - Use social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to make connections and promote your personal brand across the Internet. Launch a blog or networking group to establish thought leadership and showcase your communications skills.

Quantify when you can ? In addition to listing your responsibilities and accomplishments at your past positions on your resume, make sure you share how you've impacted the bottom line by including numbers whenever possible. Had a great sale that led to increased revenue? Increased awareness of your brand by 20%? Make sure to include metrics, the more the better.

Prepare, prepare, prepare - Before you go to a job interview, research the company by looking at the press room for recent announcements, the about us section to learn more about the company culture, and the list of products so you are familiar with their offerings. Having this knowledge will allow you to easily answer and ask questions during the interview.

Stay upbeat: Don't focus on the hardships associated with being unemployed in your communications with an employer. Focus on what you learned from the experience and how that makes you a stronger candidate for the employer.

About Rosemary Haefner,

Global Vice President of Human Resources/Senior Career Advisor

Rosemary Haefner is Vice President of Human Resources for, the nation's largest online job site with more than 23 million unique visitors and over 1.6 million jobs. Haefner is responsible for developing and implementing global strategies for employee engagement, talent management, organizational design, recruiting, benefits, and community outreach. In this role, Haefner conducts extensive research on global recruitment trends and tactics, job seeker behavior, workplace issues, employee attitudes and HR initiatives.

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