Face forward

Because the job market seems to be improving, at least somewhat, it's probably time to dust off some advice about how to get a job. Here are some tried and true and practical tips from Robert Half International, a recruiting firm. These are particularly aimed at recent grads trying for their first jobs.

  1. Put on your best “face”: Don’t publicly post anything that would appear unprofessional to a hiring manager or recruiter on sites such as Facebook or Twitter. Use your privacy settings when posting personal information.
  2. Think big: Spread the word about your job hunt to everyone you know. Take advantage of professional networking websites such as LinkedIn, and work with staffing firms that specialize in your field.
  3. Start now:  Don’t postpone your job search. Instead, start looking for work as soon as possible.  Also, spend your time productively during the search: Employers will ask what you have been doing while unemployed.  Seeking out additional training, temporary work and pro bono projects shows initiative.
  4. Tailor to the opportunity: Customize each resume and cover letter to the particular job opening, and obtain the name of the hiring manager so you can personalize your cover letter.
  5. Sweat the small stuff: Make sure your resume and cover letter, and any additional communications during the job search, are error-free. Be vigilant about spelling, grammar and punctuation in all written communication, including thank-you notes.
  6. Make the first impression a good one: Keep voice-mail greetings clear, professional and succinct. Also, avoid using off-color or overly cute e-mail addresses.
  7. Ask for the job: If an interview has gone well, consider proposing that you assume the position on a trial basis. Cautious employers may be more inclined to hire you if you both can test the waters before a full-time offer is extended.