How to land a job in a challenging economy

Tips to help you stand out when looking for a job

  1. "Mind your manners." This is especially important when checking in with a company's receptionist prior to an interview: Six out of 10 hiring managers surveyed by OfficeTeam said they value their assistant's opinion when making hiring decisions. So, go out of your way to be nice to everyone, from the executive assistant to the parking attendant, when you're meeting with a potential employer.

  2. "If you don't have anything nice to say ..." There are few bigger turn-offs for hiring managers than listening to a potential employee vent about his or her former company, coworkers or boss. While you want to give authentic responses to interview questions, focus on what you bring to the table, not slights from your past.

  3. "Do your homework." Researching the prospective employer is the most important step prior to applying for any job. Tailor your resume and cover letter to the opportunity, making note of how your skills can contribute to the company's immediate needs. In the interview, use what you learn about a firm to ask intelligent questions that demonstrate your understanding of the business.

  4. "Don't sell yourself short." Your resume shouldn't be a laundry list of former job duties. Instead, highlight your achievements, quantifying your contributions wherever possible. But be selective in the successes you highlight. Ultimately you want to emphasize those that are most relevant. Your stellar college GPA, if you graduated more than a decade ago, isn't the crowning achievement it once was.

  5. "Always send a thank-you note." Yes, mom was right. Employers do pay attention. In fact, nearly nine out of 10 executives polled by our company said sending a thank-you note can boost a person's chances of landing a job.
About Sharon Black:
Sharon Black is a District President for Robert Half International, the world's first and largest specializing staffing firm. In this role, she oversees operations for the company throughout Northern California and Hawaii.

Sharon first joined Robert Half International in 1994, and has more than 25 years of experience in the professional services industry. Since joining the company, Sharon has held positions of increasing responsibility in both senior management and corporate training. Prior to joining Robert Half International, Sharon held high-level positions at other firms in the Bay Area, including President of a privately held staffing firm.

In 2009, Sharon was again named one of the Top 100 Most Influential Women in Business in the Bay Area by the San Francisco Business Times. She frequently makes appearances on national television and in print as a subject matter expert regarding labor market and workplace related issues. She also speaks on this topic at national conventions within a variety of industries and has been quoted in HR reference books and economy related blogs and websites. Sharon supports organizations like Dress for Success and Boys and Girls Clubs of America with their annual, national suit drives and toy drives respectively. Sharon graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science.

About Robert Half International:
Founded in 1948, Robert Half International is the world's first and largest specialized staffing firm. RHI is a recognized leader in professional consulting and staffing, and has seven professional staffing divisions: Accountemps, Robert Half Finance & Accounting, and Robert Half Management Resources for temporary, full-time and project professionals, respectively, in the fields of accounting and finance; OfficeTeam for highly skilled temporary administrative support; Robert Half Technology for information technology professionals; Robert Half Legal for temporary, project and full-time staffing of attorneys, paralegals and legal support personnel; and The Creative Group for creative, advertising, marketing and web design professionals. The company has more than 390 consulting and staffing locations worldwide and 13 offices in the Bay Area.

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