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How to be a smarter job seeker

11:34am Wednesday 8th June 2011

When looking for a job you often need to come up with more creative and smarter ways to stand out from the competition. So what is it that some jobseekers do that they often seem to find a new job faster than others? Oftentimes, it is one of these 10 things that make your job search smarter:

1. Surf job boards for more than just open positions.

Job boards can be "goldmines" for research. You might see companies you didn't know before and you might see the same requirements for the job you want over and over again -- this indicates a standard, so incorporate these items into your pitch and cover letters.

2. Realise a potential job lead could be anywhere.

Smart job seekers aren't afraid to mention occupational aspirations to their book club, their parents' friends or their dentist. (One never knows whose golf partner might be the ticket to getting a foot in the door.) Also, when sending e-mails you can easily attach your CV to every correspondence by adding a link to your LinkedIn public profile in your e-mail signature. Even friends who think they know you may click through to your profile, learn more about you and perhaps think of you for a job that they know of.

3. Put adequate time and effort into your applications.

Spend time to make your CV the best possible written advertisement of you. Analyse the job requirements against your own skills and abilities, and always customise your cover letter for each application. All correspondence should be free of errors and typos. And before sending off the application packet, look at the job posting one last time to ensure all desired material is included.

4. Make your value known quickly.

An employer gives each CV about a three-second window of time before he decides to either 'delete' or read further. A smart applicant answers the "What can you do for me?" question right off the bat with a summary of strongest accomplishments at the top of the CV.

5. Do your homework.

It seems logical to smart applicants to know something about potential employers. From searching a company to checking out its financial statements, they learn what they can -- and use the info to enhance their correspondence.

6. Know that employers do their homework, too.

"According to [a 2010] Coremetrics [study], 75 percent of companies require recruiters to research job applicants online, so you'll want to be sure you know what they'll find," states Sherrie Madia, co-author of "The Online Job Search Survival Guide." Besides thinking twice about what you choose to post, she suggests doing an online search on your name. If you find something undesirable, try to have it removed.

7. Look and act like a professional.

Simple but effective: A smart applicant arrives on time, dresses appropriately, both talks and listens, displays confidence and minds his manners.

8. Show that you want this job.

Smart job seekers are not "tyre kickers." They focus on the needs of the employer and demonstrate how they are perfect for this particular position. Show enthusiasm during the job interview and always make certain that the company you're interviewing with feels as if it is your first choice, no matter what other companies are involved in your job search.

9. Don't get ahead of yourself.

As much as you may be dying to know about promotions, raises and vacation time, being a smart candidate you don't jump the gun and tackle these issues during the first interview. Rather focus on landing the position, then on whether the package is suitable.

10. Show your interest in the job, follow up and thank.

At the end of the interview, sum up your strengths, tell the interviewer that you are excited about the position and say, 'I would really like to contribute to this company. I am hoping you will select me.' Then, a smart interviewee keeps his name in the game with a follow-up note reiterating interest and offering thanks. A great last impression can seal the deal!

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