Statistically, as a job seeker in 2013, you’re swimming against a very strong current. And there are thousands of others trying to swim in the same water. More people are graduating from college and entering the job market, and many are going on to get their master’s degrees.

This is a guest post by Liam Garcia.

job-stageCompanies want you to apply online, but if your resume doesn’t meet their standards, you’re tossed out. Don’t have a master’s degree? You’d better have 4 extra years of relevant experience. This can be frustrating and can lead you to apply for any job opening, in hopes that someone hires you. Education and experience matter and so does a good network. There’s a lot to a complete job search plan but knowing what to do and where you are headed is the most important process that can cut down on the let-down time.
This year, instead of wasting hours applying for every single job opening you see, focus on the ones that you are truly qualified for. That way, you have time to become the ideal candidate. Allow yourself to get excited about a potential job, and work hard to get it.
There is a career for everyone. It might take you a while to find the perfect fit, but by perfecting your process, you’ll go to sleep at night knowing that you tried your best.

These four steps are the most basic to your job search preparation and the better you get at the foundation, the stronger your job search success can be. There’s a lot more to job search and consider it as a full-time job but simplifying the process and getting better at it is the most important step. Get better at these basic steps and you’ll know that you are headed in the right direction. Well begun is half done! Good luck…


STAND OUT – Brand Yourself

How do you want employers and contact to know you – now and in future?

What’s your value proposition?

Before you even start your job search, you should brand yourself. Prepare to re-brand for different interviews by focusing on the strength that best applies to the job title. For instance, if you are applying for a marketing position, emphasize your strength in social media and writing. If you are applying for a copy writing position, focus on your background in AP style writing and editing. Remember specific instances of your strengths in a work setting.
Print out business cards. This is an easy and inexpensive way to sell yourself to potential employers. Be creative; make them stand out and then bring them with you everywhere you go. Play with different mediums and look at other creative business cards for inspiration. Make people remember you.
These days, networking is crucial to job seekers. By making real-life connections, you’re taking yourself out of a pile of hundreds of applications.


Preparation is the key – skills compilation, resume, for the interview, and above all yourself. Never underestimate preparation.  

Do intensive research about the company-this is the number one way to prepare for an interview. It will help you learn about the company’s culture, values, and objectives. Figure out their needs and what you can offer in order to fulfill them. Prepare for the interview AFTER you’ve researched the company.
Properly researching a job can help you decide what to wear, what to highlight, and what to leave out. When you dress for an interview, err on the side of overdressing. If it’s been awhile since you had an interview, research basic interview procedures. You can research some of the most common interview questions with corresponding answers.

Market Yourself

“If you don’t see yourself as a winner, then you cannot perform as a winner.” ~ Zig Ziglar 

During an interview, a potential employer will most likely ask you to tell them about yourself. This is the go-to open-ended question for interviewers to find out who you are. This is the time to sell yourself.
Create a personal “commercial” and tailor it to every job you apply for. That way, when an interviewer asks that age-old question, you’ll be more than prepared to answer.
The commercial can be a 30-60 second summary of your background, interests, and qualities. If you run across any awkward silences, don’t fill them with stammering. Instead, ask a question to get the interviewer talking again.

Follow Up

Follow-up shows you care – perhaps more than the other candidate who didn’t care to follow up. you just upped your chances to getting that job!

Success comes to those who are good at following-up. It’s a requirement and not an option.
Don’t leave the interview without giving them a chance to follow up. Ask what the next step is and be sure to reiterate your interest in the position.
In some cases, you can stay in communication with the interviewer even if you don’t get a job offer. This will increase your chances of getting a call when another position opens up.
End on a good note and send a letter or e-mail thanking them for the opportunity to interview; you never know when your paths may cross again.


About the guest post author:

Liam Garcia is a social media coordinator by day and blogger by night. He specializes in personal finance, as well as marketing and social media. When he’s not working from his home base in Austin, Texas, he is traveling to visit family in South America and networking with new clients.