gift

The crafty elves at SRG have been working overtime to bring job seekers everywhere the gift of knowledge this holiday season. While finding a job is on everyone’s wish list, not everyone knows how to tweak their tactics and land a job in the new year. In our ongoing efforts to help SuRGe your career forward, we have come up with “12 Days of Getting Hired” – a daily dose of job searching knowledge and tips to hopefully make a job search more successful. Beginning Wednesday, December 12, we’ll update our list each workday with a handy tip, article or nugget of knowledge. So stick with us on Facebook and Twitter for a first look at the tips.

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On the First Day…  Finding a Job is a Job!

For those serious about finding a job, it can easily be a full-time commitment, and frankly it should. Finding a job takes time, energy and diligence. For those beginning the journey, we suggest treating your job search AS a real job. This means waking up every day, showering, getting dressed as usual (maybe not in a three-piece suit, but not your pajamas either), and eating a good breakfast. Getting a routine started helps you set goals for the search and put you in the right mindset each day. Whether you have a coffee meeting or searching for leads and jobs online, get moving at the same time every day.

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On the Second Day… Help Your Resume Get Noticed

Objective – The top 20% is the most important part of your resume, so be as clear as possible in your objective. Use succinct and concise wording; save the prose for something else. Use easy to understand terminology and take it easy on any industry speak that might be hard to understand for hiring managers. The clearer that objective, the easier it will be for hiring managers to focus on you for the job.

Quantify – Use quantifiable numbers to explain any impact you have had in previous positions. For instance, how much money did you save your previous company when you suggested or implemented a new cost-saving program? Did the numbers decrease year over year? Generally speaking, what type of ROI have you have had on a company.

Brag! – Is your career progression clear on the resume? If your career has progressed in ways that play to your benefit, then highlight those positions so hiring managers know you moved up in a company. If this happened fairly quickly, explain that as well. Have you won any awards or been recognized with an honor? Include that too. Companies are looking for driven people willing to work hard and be recognized in their careers.
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On the Third Day… Clean Up Your Social Media 
Facebook photos are so much fun! You are a fun person and have great friends and maybe you like to grab drinks on the weekends to unwind. Unfortunately, hiring managers don’t want to know that. In fact, if there is anything on your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages that could be deemed “unsavory,” such as party photos or rude Twitter posts, then delete them if you are serious about getting a job. (Here is a good article about it.) HR departments scour the internet for information about a candidate and then take notes on everything they see. Don’t give them any reason not to hire you.
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On the Fourth Day… Use Social Media to Find a Job
You put yourself out there every day on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and the like, so why not have those outlets work in your favor when you are job searching? Be sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date, and use LinkedIn to research companies where you have a contact. Use Facebook to follow companies you like, and maybe even use private messages to let your network know that you are in the market for a job. Follow companies or people you know and like on Twitter. Many staffing firms and companies use Twitter to post jobs.
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On the Fifth Day… Network, Network, Network!
It has been said that roughly 80% of jobs are found through networking. Sitting at a computer all day emailing your resume to job prospects can be tiresome and frustrating. But by working your personal network, you have a better chance at finding a job that may not get posted online. Your network is everyone you know through family, work, community, church, friends, or friends of friends. Have coffee with a former boss. Ask your network to put you in touch with people they know. Be willing to get up early and meet someone you’ve never met at Starbucks in hopes they might know someone at a company you’ve been eyeing.  Then thank them with an email or written note. It’s also a good idea to keep track of everyone you meet, as you may have to refer back to them later in the game.
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On the Sixth Day… Do Your Research
In order to successfully pass a test in school you normally had to study the information beforehand, right?  In the adult world, if you hope to “pass” a job interview (phone or in person), it is in your best interest to research the company you are interviewing with, as well as the person conducting the interview. Be prepared to answer questions about the company and the position. Don’t forget the inevitable: “What do you know about the company?” Scour the Internet, read the company’s website and get a solid understanding of the company’s mission. Research the executives or the hiring manager on LinkedIn. Having this information in your pocket will show the interviewer that you are serious about the job.
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On the Seventh Day… Your 30-Second Commercial
During the job search, you will inevitably be asked to, “Tell us about yourself.” It can make you feel put on the spot, but it shouldn’t. Hiring managers want to know about you. Come up with a “commercial,” or a few sentences about your career, your accomplishments and your strengths. Keep it short and sweet and practice saying it in the mirror. Make sure this coincides with what you have as your objective on your resume, as well. A good idea is to take a few minutes and leave yourself a message on your voicemail, then listen to it and see what can be improved. Practice in front of the mirror, your friends, your parents, your dog – it doesn’t matter. Practice makes perfect. When the time comes to answer the question, you’ll be ready!
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On the Eighth Day… Rocking the Phone Interview
The phone interview is conducted by a company’s human resources representative and lasts about 10-15 minutes. Before getting on the phone, research the position, the company and the person conducting the interview. Find a quiet location, preferably on a landline, with no distractions and no background noise. Since most interviews start with the “Tell me about yourself” question, have your 30-second commercial ready. It should be polished and flow freely out of your mouth. At the end of the phone interview, always say thank you and ask open-ended questions regarding the position, such as “What is the next step?” Send a hand-written thank you or email to help close the deal.
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On the Ninth Day… Dress for Success
They say the clothes make the man. This saying is especially true when it comes to dressing for a job interview. All talent and experience aside, what you wear on a job interview says a lot about you, so make sure what the clothes are saying is “I’m the best person for the job.” We aren’t suggesting you go out and purchase an expensive suit or dress, but what you do want is something that fits you, clean and presentable (i.e. ironed or steamed). Make it look like you put some effort into the clothes, just like the hiring manager hopes you will do for the job. We suggest taking out facial piercings and leaving off any fragrance or cologne, as well. There will be plenty of time to show your true colors after working hours are over. For some acceptable office fashion inspiration, follow the SRG Pinterest page for suggestions.
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On the Tenth Day… Arriving on Time is Late
At this point, we’ve helped you write a killer resume, clean up your social media, network, rock the phone interview and dress for success. Now, you are on your way to the in-person interview! Think of it actually starting the moment you drive up to the building where the interview will be held, after all, there might be cameras? Arrive at least 15 minutes early and just wait in the car if you must. Punctuality is rule number one with an in-person interview. By respecting their time, it could only play in your favor. If you ARE going to be late, then call, email or text your interviewer that you are going to be running late. But don’t be late if you can avoid it. Leave extra time and plan ahead.
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On the Eleventh Day… Interviewing Do’s and Don’ts 
Today’s the day – your big job interview! Remember, even though you have come this far in the process, it’s not over yet. A few “do’s” to remember when you are in the interview:
     – Remember, showing up on time is late (see Day 10).
     – Shake hands firmly at the onset. Practice your handshake prior and make sure its firm. Nobody likes a limp and clammy handshake.
     – Sit up straight, look the interviewer in the eye and speak clearly. Smile like you are excited about a potential job (because you are!)
     – Refrain from speaking ill about any of your previous jobs or bosses. You never know who knows whom.
     – Remember, it’s all about them. Your job is to sell the interviewer on you and that by hiring you, their problems will be solved.
     – Always follow up with a thank you to the interviewer and anyone else in the interview. A written note is preferred; email works too.
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On the Twelfth Day… Accept with Confidence
It’s the day you have been waiting for – acceptance day! We know you have worked long and hard to get here, but this is no time to slack. There is still more work to do before you show up for the first day. When they offer the job and the salary, remember to consider all the aspects of the position before accepting or not accepting. Gather information about health benefits, potential for job advancement, corporate growth, holiday/PTO and anything else that would be considered part of the company’s total compensation package. Review the entire package carefully and never base your job on salary alone. Don’t consider it a job, but another step in your career path. As for negotiating a salary, remember that there is always room for negotiation. Be prepared to discuss your strengths and experience when discussing numbers. Once this final step is completed, you can congratulate yourself on a job well done!