Job Search Do's And Don'ts

job huntIt takes more than a good résumé to land a job in this market. You have to be savvy and a step ahead of other applicants. Cosmopolitan recently teamed up with the Society for Human Resource Management for a survey on what it takes to be a winner in these highly competitive times. Turns out the smart use of technology often tops the list.

Let's start with those social networking sites you're on when you're not scanning job sites. While you might share every detail of your life on Facebook or MySpace, it's a good idea to make sure hiring managers don't have access to your profile. A majority - 86% - said unprofessional behavior makes you less desirable as a candidate. Yes, this includes party pics and off-color comments. Not that recruiters are always looking - 70% of the organizations surveyed said they do not Google you or check out social networking sites while making a decision. Still, better safe than sorry.

How you apply for a job can also make a difference. 61% of those surveyed said that submitting a cover letter and résumé through the company website is the way to go, while just 20% preferred to be emailed directly. Many companies have a candidate tracking system HR uses to screen candidates and keep track of the hiring progress.

Got the interview? Great! There's no question you have to send a follow up thank you letter, but hiring managers still seem to be torn on the best way to do it. Half said an email would be best, so use your judgment.

So what not to do during your big chance? Dressing too provocatively, being late, bad-mouthing your former employer and having your cell phone ring are all big no-no's, and potential deal-breakers.

The worst thing to say during an interview?

"I think outside the box."

Guess companies just don't need that right now.

Next:Do Out-of-the-Box Tactics Really Work? >>

Ed is a journalist who has worked for some of the largest media organizations in the U.S. His career has taken him to places big and small across the nation. With experience at various employers, Ed's career has run the gamut - he's been hired, been the one doing the hiring, quit and, most recently, laid off for the first time.

Thankfully, Ed has never been fired, although many years ago he once came close while working part-time at a pizza place - turns out it was a misunderstanding.

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