By Andy Keating

Respected therapist, Virginia Satir, says, “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.” Are we suggesting you didn’t get the job because you didn’t hug the hiring manager? Although every little bit helps, what we’re saying is, nothing beats good old fashioned human contact.

Many people who are searching for a job turn to sites such as Monster, Workopolis and Indeed, but that’s like playing Pin the Tail on the Donkey: Job Search Edition. Instead of a donkey’s tail, you have your resume, put on a blindfold, someone spins you a few times, and then you go off searching wildly for where that resume will fit. Pin the Tail on the Donkey: Job Search Edition is an asinine way to look for a job.

So here are some helpful tips.

First things first, something you may not have thought about. What kind of image do your social media accounts portray? Your potential employer will look at your social media. So before you hand a resume to anyone, go through your social media accounts and delete anything that could portray you in the wrong light. When you are looking at your pictures and postings, think like a future employer. Step outside your body and ask, “Would I want this person working for me?”

Your next move is to get leads. Start by asking everyone and anyone you know if they have heard of any job openings.  Start with contacts and acquaintances in your field then move into general contacts, old friends, new friends and family members. Even friendly people you meet at a bar, grocery store, concert or sporting event, ask them.  Ask everyone and anyone because the old adage still holds true, ‘it’s who you know’. This may sound crazy, but you would be amazed at people who have landed a job because they asked a guy who knew a guy. While you are in this process, you can also do online searches, but be warned, even if you find something on a job site, you still need to follow it up with personal contact. It doesn’t matter which direction you go in – getting leads, searching online, targeting a company – it all comes down to our first paragraph, human contact.

Before we get into discussing human contact, let’s look at your resume.

Every resume needs to be customized to the business that is doing the hiring. You need to see what each particular employer is looking for and then have your resume sell them on the fact that you are the one with all of those qualities and skills. A little tip, if you find yourself out of a job in your later years, you may have to cloak your age. You can do this by cutting down on your job experience listed on your resume, or avoid listing your job experience chronologically. Simply put a handful of your best jobs that fit your future employer’s criteria.

Now to where we started; nothing beats human contact.

The reason we started here is because getting an interview is your number one goal and the best way to make that happen is not with an online search, not by sending a text message, and not by making a phone call, you need face time. You have to make contact with people inside the hiring company, and you need contact with the person doing the hiring. Your goal is to meet the hiring manager and let your personality shine. There is much to be said about first impressions. You need to get yourself in the door, talk to the receptionist, and try to get a quick meet and greet with the person who is doing the hiring. Handing a resume directly, shaking a hand, and giving a few friendly words, is very important toward getting an interview. If you don’t get an interview out of that encounter, the next step is follow up. Again, your number one goal is an interview.

Let’s assume you have been through the whole process and landed an interview. There are two things that could make-it or break-it for you; number one, how you dress, and number two, your preparation.

How you dress for your interview really depends on where you are applying but you can never go wrong with the ‘dress to impress’ rule. Make sure you get dressed up. If it is a corporate job, you will be dressed much nicer than the person who is applying to be a copywriter, but men, wear a tie and jacket. Even if you’re applying for a stockroom position, a jacket and tie says ‘I mean business.’

Next you need to be prepared.

Research the business and get set for some of the questions that almost always get asked in an interview. You wouldn’t believe the amount of people who stumble over the simple question, “Tell me something about yourself?”  Know your strengths and weaknesses but most of all know how you can benefit the employer. Being able to tell your potential employer how you can make them money is very important. Your next step, after the interview, is follow up. A couple days later, send an email saying, “Thank you for the interview.” Your next follow-up will be near the hiring deadline. This should be a phone call.

Your two main goals are; contacting the hiring manager and getting an interview. From there you’ll want to dress to impress and be prepared. The whole process is sales; make contact with a client, get a meeting, and then make the pitch. The only difference is, when it comes to a job search, the product you’re selling is you and the result is a new job.  Now give yourself a big hug. Good luck!