Ask your friends and family for tips for finding a job, and you’re likely to hear the same old job search strategies repeated time and time again.
You know that you need professional references. You know that you need a firm handshake. But it’s a competitive job market, which means it’s time to think outside of the box.
So if you’re wondering how to find a job, here are 13 unique tips you’ve probably never heard before.
1. Go Visual
If you’ve applied to jobs before, you know that your resume needs to be clean, concise, and formal.
But what you probably don’t know is that it doesn’t need to fall into the same template that you might be familiar with working in the past.
In fact, if you’re planning on applying to a job in a more creative discipline, such as photography, design, or even writing, you might want to consider changing how you go about presenting your past experiences.
You can whip up a thoughtfully-designed resume that reflects the best of your graphic design abilities – or put your career accomplishments on display with a personal website or digital portfolio.
This can be a fantastic strategy to break into working at a startup for example.
For some people, this might serve as a far better representation of what you’re capable of. Plus, since it’s outside the norm, it’s sure to grab the hiring manager’s attention.
2. Clean Up Your Social Media
If you’re active on social media, it’s extremely important that you put some thought into what you’re posting.
Don’t assume that just because your account is private, that hiring managers won’t see it. It’s possible to find just about anything if you know what to look for!
It’s totally fine to showcase some of your personality online, but you want to be careful about what you post – especially if you’re getting a job in marketing.
Pretty much everybody knows that you shouldn’t share racy photos if you’re on the hunt for a job – but there’s other content that should be off-limits, too.
For example, you might want to avoid posting too much negative content, confidential work information, or complaints about your former job or boss. This can reflect poorly on you when it comes time to search for a job.
Trends on the Rise:
Social media use is on the upswing, with more than 70% of all Americans using social media in some capacity. About 91% of hiring managers say they use social media to screen potential job candidates with about 69% of them reporting having turned down an application for social-media related reasons in the past. So post wisely!
3. Schedule the Interview Early
The early bird gets the worm – and that’s true when it comes to interviewing for jobs. The earlier in the day you interview, according to Psychological Science, the more likely you are to get the job.
Interviewers tend to have a more positive outlook the earlier in the day it is. They are more likely to give out high ratings.
If you interview a letter on the day after many other candidates have gone before you, hiring managers might be concerned that they’re giving out too many positive ratings – and will consequently rate you lower, even if you are the best candidate.
4. Don’t Wear a Red Tie
Here’s a tip for finding a job that you’ve probably never heard of – don’t wear a red tie.
Wearing a tie is a smart style move for a job interview, although there are more and more jobs with no dress code in this remote work era.
However, research from Durham University shows that the color red is closely tied to feelings of aggression and anger – probably not emotions you want to convey when you’re trying to land a job.
Tactics for Success:
- Tailor your interview attire to the job. While you want to look professional, that doesn’t always mean a suit and tie. For example, if you’re interviewing for a creative job, like a fashion designer, don’t be afraid of pops of color in your attire.
- Keep your toes covered! Many women, especially, make the mistake of wearing open toed heels to an interview, but this isn’t recommended for most kinds of jobs as it is not the most professional.
5. Find Your Own Career Mentor
Everyone can use a little guidance every now and then.
Consider finding a career mentor whose accomplishments you admire and that you feel could be a valuable contribution to your job search success.
Consider approaching that person to find an externship – or simply spend a few days shadowing them.
Not only will you build skills that could be valuable on your resume, but you might gain an extra letter of recommendation, too!
6. Try Creative Networking
Going to networking events is a great way to find a job. However, this is an obvious tip. Everyone who goes to a networking event goes for the same reason – to find a job or to find a candidate for a job.
Instead of going to standard run-of-the-mill networking events, consider going to informal meetups and other events (like online networking events and virtual roundtables) instead.
This will show you’re interested in meeting people in more unique ways, not to mention networking is a high income skill that’ll serve you well in other ways too.
Trends on the Rise:
Virtual professional events, such as networking events, are up 1000% since the coronavirus pandemic. People still want to make positive business connections – and virtual events make it possible even in times of quarantine or if you live halfway around the world from potential business connections. Take advantage of platforms like Zoom and Slack to take part in these events!
7. Work for Free
Nobody wants to give away their talents for free, but if you’re hard-up for a job, it might be time to put some consideration into this one.
Lack of experience is one of the biggest reasons why people can’t get a job. Fortunately, working for free is an option to break into highly competitive industries.
Doing some pro bono work could help you make valuable connections with a specific company.
You can also use this as a way to score an interview or a follow-up meeting with a business!
Tactics for Success:
- Consider making a presentation showcasing how you would solve some of the company’s biggest problems – or how you might upgrade their social media presence. By showing a company how you can help them, you can bump your resume to the top of the pile.
- Limit how much free work you do. While it’s a good idea in small quantities, if you do too much free work, it’s a hobby – not a job.
8. Schedule an Interview, But Not For an Actual Job
Did you know that many companies will be willing to interview you even if they don’t have jobs to offer?
Doing an informational interview is a great way to learn more about a company – and get your name in the minds of the recruiters, too.
9. Bring a Toolbox
Not hammers and nails of course…unless you’re interviewing for a job in construction!
However, it’s a good idea to bring along a toolbox of samples. Bring work samples to your interview, regardless of the industry in which you work.
If you have a business background, bring samples of past projects and deals you’ve closed. If you’re a writer, bring writing samples. If you work in education, bring along some lesson samples or videos of you teaching.
This will show that you are not only talented and experienced in your field, but also that you are prepared.
10. Drop Names…in Your Resume
You probably shouldn’t drop names too often in your conversations with a hiring manager, but it’s totally cool to put some on your resume.
By citing specifics – such as companies you’ve closed deals with or other organizations you’ve worked closely with – you might be able to grab a recruiter’s attention a bit easier.
It’s not a bad idea to cite your performance reviews, either.
You don’t need to include photocopies of your reviews with your application materials, but you can look at the positive feedback you’ve received and include those details in your list of accomplishments.
11. Keep it Brief
You may have heard of including keywords in your resume to help your resume get picked up by resume scanning software.
That’s still a good rule of thumb to follow – but avoid overdoing it. Keyword stuffing is usually pretty obvious.
On that same note, keep it simple. Focus on quality over quantity.
Rather than listing dozens of skills on your resume (especially the obvious ones, like Microsoft Office and email – we know you can use a computer, it’s 2021!), focus on the unique ones that will matter most in your job.
12. Don’t Put Your Address on Your Resume
The resume template is so basic and generic that most of us probably have it memorized and could write one in our sleep. Name, email, phone number, address, list of accomplishments.
You may want to rethink that strategy, though.
Some career advisors recommend leaving your address off your resume – unless it works in your favor. If you’re applying to positions in your own city or town (or close by), then leave it on.
That can help a hiring manager know that you’re close by and could start, theoretically, right away.
However, if you’re applying to jobs in another area and would need to move in order to start working, leave the address off.
Even though you might be totally qualified – and totally capable of making the move – recruiters are often hesitant to interview candidates from other states or cities.
13. Focus On the Job You Have to Get the Job You Want
Even if you’re not actively searching for a job, it’s smart to keep a log of your work accomplishments, successful projects, and positive feedback.
That way, you’ll have a journal of all the reasons why you’d make an ideal candidate for a job – before you even start looking for one.
So what are you waiting for? Searching for a job in 2021 and beyond isn’t like it was in the past – you’ve got to get creative!
Consider these unique tips for finding a job – and search for a job with confidence.
Rebekah is a writer who covers all things education, business, agriculture, and finance. She owns a small farm business in upstate New York. Her educational credentials include a bachelor's degree in English from St. Lawrence University and a master's in special education from SUNY Plattsburgh.