As some of you know I worked for a ten-store chain in San Diego as a personnel manager. It’s a big responsibility to hire and fire for ten stores.

During that process I learned a lot about how some job candidates stand out and others don’t.

Here are a few job hunting tips that might be helpful.

My Favorite Job Hunting Tips

  • Define your industry: If you flipped hamburgers at McDonald’s what did you learn there that will translate to another industry? You learned dependability, teamwork, speed, accuracy and time management. Take that experience to your next position.
  • Research Job Opportunities: What openings are in the newspaper or local job service. What are the employee traits they’re looking for? Make a list of those you’re going to approach and research them.
  • Make Your Resume Valuable: A resume is not what you have done it should demonstrate what you will do. At McDonald’s you were promoted to team leader after six months. In your retail job you increased sales by 3% in the first quarter. You excelled at your last job so there’s no reason to think you won’t excel at your next position. Build on your record.
  • Do Your Homework: Before doing an interview with anyone look the company up online. Do name searches and find out what the company does and any profiles or write-ups on the owners or the personnel manager that you’ll be talking too. Let them know you researched the company and why you would be a good fit for them based on your research.
  • Dress Appropriately: That doesn’t always mean suit and tie but it does mean well groomed. Clean, pressed shirt and pants, clean hair, etc. You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.
  • No Such Thing As Too Much: Resumes are usually about one and a half pages. There’s no law that says you can’t include more information. If you have letters of recommendation or performance reports from former employers include them. They may not get read immediately but when it comes down to two or three candidates they might make the difference.
  • Check Your References: You future employer might call your references if you’re a serious candidate. So make sure that your references know they might be called and what to say about you. Not suggesting that you try to deceive anyone but if they can’t answer honestly about you and your work ethic then don’t use them as a reference.

Some Final Thoughts

Personnel managers have little to go on other than what you present to them. Smile, be friendly, and give the interviewer a firm but not a bone-breaking handshake.

Ask questions about the job and give examples of where you had a similar experience. This is where your homework really pays off.

The personnel manager is looking for a fit with the existing team. Show that you’re a team player.

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