10 Top Tips for Job Hunters

polish your résumé – and your attitude – to land your dream job

Barbara Arnold

Regardless of the unemployment rate, finding the right job can be a challenge. Volume One reached out to these Chippewa Valley experts and organizations to help compile this job hunters’ guide. Keep in mind these 10 tips while seeking the job that’s right for you.

1. HAVE THE RIGHT ATTITUDE

Attitude IS everything. “Life is 10 percent of what happens to me and 90 percent of how I react to it,” according to pastor and educator Charles R. Swindoll. Surround yourself with your hallelujah chorus, i.e., those who support and cheer you on. Get rid of the Greek chorus, i.e., those who bellyache, complain, and bring you down. Cut the cord with negative thinkers who zap the energy out of you.

2. NETWORK

“Over 70 percent of today’s jobs are in the “hidden job market” and are not advertised as posted positions.” – Staci Heidtke, associate director of Career Services at UW-Eau Claire

“Build relations – family, friends, acquaintances, former employers, and many more are important people when looking for a job. Most jobs are not advertised. Hiring is done through connections. Enquire within your own network, or try our network. Contact businesses directly – many appreciate your initiative.” – Candi Geist, Market Leader at Manpower

3. BE ORGANIZED

“Stay organized in your search!  Create a document where you can save job site information like usernames, passwords, website addresses, networking contacts (with notes on your conversations), and follow-up actions. Being able to refer back to information collected over time can be vital when you are active in your job search.” –Bryan Barts, Director of Career Services at UW-Stout

“Make sure your materials are ready; cover letter format handy that you are ready to tailor to each job you apply for, résumé is proofread, aligns with the job you are applying for, and ready to be given to an employer, references are aware that you are actively looking for work, and you have their approval.” –Lindy Schneider, Career Services Specialist at Chippewa Valley Technical College

4. CUSTOMIZE WITH KEY WORDS

“Target your résumé and cover letter to specific companies. Make changes to these application materials based on the organization and the position you are applying for.” – Staci Heidtke, UW-Eau Claire

According to a recent article on Money.com, companies now use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to pore through numerous résumés they get for any open position. The ATS scans your résumé for keywords applicable to the job you’re applying for. Approximately 75 percent of candidates are taken out of consideration before a human even eyeballs your résumé.

ATS software is designed to scan vertically, so résumé that are centered are the best bet. Want to get through the “bot?” Make your résumé and application match what the job is asking for, and be able to back up with your skills and experience.

5. USE TECHNOLOGY AND SOCIAL MEDIA

“Use technology to your advantage. Sites like LinkedIn and others are working for you 24/7. Keep them updated and complete.” – Bryan Barts

“LinkedIn has a great ‘Jobs’ function. It is easy then to see which of your connections work for an organization. Reach out to them to garner tips for the application and interview process.” – Staci Heidtke

6. RESOURCES

“Technology certainly makes finding a job easier. But don’t forget about the human touch. Who you know still holds weight, and traditional contact methods do yield results. Employee referrals are held in high regard. Networking with industry peers or volunteering in your community can open doors. Staffing and recruitment firms can serve as a bridge to permanent employment, help job seekers get the experience needed to develop a career path, and serve as a job seeker’s advocate with the clients they service.” – Laura Schick, Branch Manager at Flex-Staff, Inc.

“Find a partner – like a staffing/recruiting agency. They make it easy for you to job search. … Applying with us is like applying with 50 area businesses.”  – Nicole Kauphusman, Territory General Manager at Express Employment Professionals

The Job Center of Wisconsin, 221 W. Madison St., in Eau Claire, is a tremendous resource for job seekers. They offer a multitude of free workshops ranging from how to use keywords in your résumé to how to prepare for a job interview and more. Counselors will meet with you one-on-one to review and discuss your job search strategies. There is a weekly job club for job seekers, and the center has job specialists trained to work with veterans and those with disabilities.

7. WHAT SHOULD I DO WHEN I DON’T HEAR ANYTHING BACK?

“The biggest barrier I see nowadays is employers who are not responding to applicants. Or they receive what appears to be a spam email from an employer they applied to that says they have selected another candidate.” – Andy Vinson, Owner, CEO, Advanced Staffing, LLC

There is a very fine line between being politely persistent and being a pesky pest. So walk the follow-up line carefully. 

“Consider finding a mentor or two that you trust to give you constructive, authentic feedback about your job application materials and your chance of getting a job you apply for.” – Staci Heidtke

8. WHAT ARE SOME BARRIERS FOR JOB SEEKER IN TODAY’S ECONOMY?

“In today’s economy, in this region, the largest barrier that exists for many job seekers is that they simply do not meet the qualifications for positions. Increasingly, companies are becoming much more specific in the qualifications required of positions they are looking to hire: education, experience, and skills – especially technical skills.” – Bryan Barts

“With a low unemployment rate, the competition for positions rises! So, you need to SELL yourself! Organizations will be particular with their candidate selection. Put effort into the job application and pre-screening process. Don’t rush it! Be prepared though to act quickly and make yourself available for interviews. Interview, interview, interview. Some companies just share the great parts about the job, so be sure to ask questions about the more challenging aspects of the position.”  – Joe Underwood, Royal Credit Union, Chippewa Valley Chapter of the Society for Human Resource Managers (CVSHRM)

9. YES, THERE’S LOW UNEMPLOYMENT, BUT WHAT DOES THAT REALLY MEAN FOR THE JOB SEEKER?

“Avoid falling prey to the “Shiny Penny Syndrome” – In a tight market, employers are offering an array of incentives to attract candidates to consider their opening over that of another. As a result, it may prove hard to resist the immediate lure of higher wages and promised perks. Do your research. … Rely on your research to reveal those fundamental elements that hold true regardless of the state of the economy because there will always be a shinier penny around the corner.”  – Laura Schick

“In a low unemployment market it may seem like there are no consequences to actions because you can find another job right away if you are let go or quit a job. Just remember, the economy will shift, and then your résumé will be left with many job hops and no longevity. Always be thinking of the future. This may mean staying at a job even when opportunities exist with higher pay because you are looking to master a skill set, build longevity, grow internally in the company, and essentially find a long-term, solid career home!” – Nicole Kauphusman

 10. AND FINALLY, BE PERSISTENT!

Never give up, Never quit. Persist!

About the Author(s)

Barbara Arnold

Barbara Arnold, a writer in Eau Claire, is a “cool aunt” who will take care of your kids for a date night and deliver them back on a sugar high. She has served as a coach and mentor to hundreds of young people.

View more of Barbara Arnold's work »

Where the Jobs Are is sponsored by:

Chippewa Valley
Technical College

620 W. Clairemont Ave
Eau Claire, WI