The unemployment rate across the country currently sits at 4.8%. However, here in Chicago, that rate is more than 1% higher at 5.9%. This means more applicants for every job, stronger competition, and more obstacles to overcome in landing a job. This means that it is even more important for an unemployed job seeker to use every option available to find a stable position. Here are some great tips for avoiding these mistakes.
Mistake: Relying only on applying to job postings
Your job search should not be limited to traditional job postings. More and more, candidates find their next position through social networks, job fairs, or even a friend of a friend. You never know when the right opportunity will present itself, so always be prepared to network! Part of landing a job is being able to sell yourself by clearly stating who you are and what you are looking for. Be specific about the type of career you are interested in and keep an open mind to opportunities that will help you develop the skills you need in the future.
Mistake: Your resume doesn’t match up to the job
Create a solid, basic resume and cover letter that you can tailor to different types of positions. Make sure your resume sells your skillset and your cover letter focuses on the employer and what you can do for them. Most recruiters spend only a few seconds on each resume, so make sure you have clean bullet points that describe your accomplishments.
Mistake: Unprofessional social media
Social media is a way to market and brand yourself. We all enjoy taking a good selfie or checking in at our favorite hotspot for the evening, but keep in mind that almost every US company will look at your social media before they hire you. Remove or hide anything that may be considered unprofessional or inappropriate. A good rule of thumb is to hide any photos that you wouldn’t be willing to hang up in your cubicle – especially photos from parties or wearing clothing that you wouldn’t wear to a work get together. Remember that employers use social media to see if you have the same values that they do.
Mistake: Unprepared for the interview
Well, you’ve done all of the above and landed yourself an interview! Congrats, but you’re not done just yet. You must prepare! Research the company. Look on their website, read any current news articles, and use online resources (LinkedIn or Glassdoor) to find out more about the organization. Write down any questions you want to ask and any examples you want to share and use your notes during your interview. Once the interviewer has completed asking questions, be sure to have some questions of your own prepared. Dress professionally. Follow Bryanth’s advice here to make sure you’re giving the best first impression you can. Follow up. Conclude with a strong handshake and do not forget to thank your interviewers for their time and let them know that you want this job. Send a thank you email to anyone you met and make sure it tells them why you are the right person for the job.
The job hunt doesn’t stop there. Looking for a job is time consuming and stressful and you never know what is going on behind the scenes at different companies. Even if you just had a great interview, don’t stop looking until you’ve started your new job. Remain focused and positive throughout the process, and don’t put all your eggs in one basket. There will be rejections or radio silence at times, but if you remain focused on the things you can control and keep an open mind, the right opportunity will present itself!
 “Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, Illinois Unemployment.” Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, Illinois Metropolitan Unemployment Rate and Total Unemployed | Department of Numbers. Web. 27 Jan. 2017.
 Molly. “Tips for Job Search Success [Webinar Recap].” Tips for Job Search Success [Webinar Recap]. N.p., 19 Aug. 2016. Web. 27 Jan. 2017.
Zohra Ghaziani, Talent Acquisition Lead, Skills for Chicagoland’s Future