2 Important​ Job Hunting Tips for 2020

Notebook, glass, phone and laptop on a table. Resume is in the laptop screen

When it comes to job hunting, the devil is in the details. You need to have perfect accuracy on your spelling and your grammar. Your interview skills have to be up to, and better than, par. Whether you’re brushing off your resume at the start of the new year or in the middle of the summer, make sure you take care of these two job hunting tips:

Turn 2019 into 2020

Your cover letters and resume need to be peppered with the right keywords in the right frequency. Even the font type and formatting matter. But if you’re applying for jobs around the start of the new year, you have a new detail that needs to be added to your proofreading to-do list, and that’s the date.

Why does the date matter?

Everyone spends January scribbling out the year right after they wrote it down. Typing 2019 will be an easy mistake to make: you just spent a year doing it. But putting the wrong date down out of habit, especially if it’s the first impression a company has of you, looks careless. It can even look like you’re copying and pasting information for a bunch of similar applications. While that’s perfectly acceptable and everyone is doing the exact same thing, it’s important to make your documents look like you’re interested in that job in particular.

The mistake can even trip up automated HR software. If you update your resume and have the wrong years for employment periods, the software might notice a gap or an overlap that makes them think your resume can’t be trusted.

How can you minimize the risk?

Unfortunately, those signature and date fields at the end of every application make it easy to make a manual mistake. However, you can get rid of bad dates in your prepared documents. Set aside a bit to go through your collection of resumes and cover letters. Create a new folder for your 2020 job searches, copy and paste all the documents, and then search the folder for references to 2019. This will help you catch all the cover letter dates and old references so you can decide what needs to be changed and what can stay.

Even better, it will pull up any certificates that you described as having a 2019 expiration date. Now you can renew the certificates without any unpleasant surprises.

What do you sound like while answering interview questions?

We all think we sound a certain way. If you’ve ever heard a recording of your own voice, it’s a bit jarring to realize it’s you even before the sentence is over. That’s because our real voices are always a bit higher or lower than we think we are. Individual accents, word pronunciation, and inflections, also get lost through our own mental familiarity with the sounds. 

But this means you sound different from how you think you do, and every detail matters when you’re interviewing in a highly saturated market. Instead of just preparing responses to industry-standard interview questions, say those answers out loud and record what you say. Play it back and make note of everything you didn’t like. While there’s not much you can do about your voice’s pitch or a regional accent, and you certainly shouldn’t change anything you don’t want to, here are a few things to look out for:

Are you asking questions when you mean to say statements?

When people are uncertain about their answer, they tend to raise their voice’s inflection at the end of the sentence. This is the same sort of lilt that speakers intentionally use to denote questions. But if you use it when you’re making statements, they come across as tentative, uncertain, or, under the worst circumstances, untrue. So practice keeping the end of your sentences lower. You’ll be able to hear an immediate difference, and your answers will sound more authoritative.

What’s your verbal filler?

Everyone can do a valley girl impression. All you have to do is pepper your speech with an excessive number of ‘like’s. But that word has somehow made its way into general speech and people use it as filler when they’re trying to finish their thought. It’s hard for speakers to notice it (they’re busy trying to think of what to say next), and not everyone listening to you will notice it either. But once people notice it, that’s all they notice. Practice kicking the likes, ums, and ers out of your speech. You’ll instantly sound like more of an expert.

A lot of the application process focuses on knowledge, skills, and experience. Those things are important. But your presentation, both in terms of how you communicate online and in-person, might be even more important. Go to San Diego Pro Staffing, Inc. dba Boutique Recruiting for more tips so you can prepare for your interview.