Please let me know if any of the tips help you! These are all things that have worked for me not just what I think sounds good!
Get a professional looking/sounding email address that is used for work and job seeking purposes. hotboyz69@gmail is not cool. msamuels2010@gmail is.
And on that note don't have some email address that has a bunch of underscores and characters. Too much extra maneuvering on the keyboard when is time to type it in.
Put a SIGNATURE in your emails that clearly states your name, school if you recently graduated, and current mailing addresss, telephone number, email address, and LinkedIn page if you have one you actively use.
It is better to be employed somewhere than have a huge gap in work, but it is better to have a gap while you search for a proper fit than keep hopping from one miserable mismatch to another until a real job comes along. That looks even worse.
If you graduated within the last 2 years, you're a recent graduate, put your academics at the top. If graduated more than 2 years ago, you considered an entry-level professional at least and have the option to list your work experience first.
If you are looking for work through temp agencies don't expect them to always get back to you when they are flooded with HUNDREDS of applications for every position in this economy...get a folder to keep your search paraphernalia organized, and get a strategy. Most of them have online profiles they want you to fill out so make up your mind to spend time registering, entering your resume in their database, and clicking on jobs to apply...then note the name of the recruiter responsible for that job and their email and/or phone and CALL after you submit your application. If you are not registered with them and sound interesting they should call you to come in so they can see how you present yourself, and test you on any major skills you said you had, such as typing, excel, quickbooks, etc. Register with several and call them once a week to let them know you are still available and interested. AND DO NOT THINK JUST CAUSE THEY SAY COME IN AND LET'S TEST YOU THAT YOU SHOULD not SHOW UP IN A SUIT! IT'S AN INTERVIEW!
Look at yourself in the mirror as you talk about your work experience and specific accomplishments (how you achieved them)...notice any nervous habits or weird expressions and fix your body language/face to give off the vibes that you want. Or better yet that the interviewer wants.
When doing phone interviews at the very least stand up and smile once in a while to relax your face and sound friendly. Do not sit or lounge around it affects how your voice comes out of your body. At best you can actually dress up in a suit as if you were being seen and of course smile. Do not walk around it makes you sound breathless and either immature or unprepared/rushed.
If you're thinking of getting braids, some new style of weave, a new hair colour, or growing dreads...wait til after you get the job at least and after your 90 day (or however long) probation ends to be really safe. Don't want to risk an easy firing over b.s. like personal grooming. However they met you, it's best to show up looking same way.
On a less pc note, play up any physical type qualities you have that don't involve being naked or near it. If you always hear you have a nice smile you better use it. If people like your accent don't start twanging now...if people DON'T understand you please start twanging now. lol. If you have great fashion sense dress up your suit without going off the deep end etc.
Create a cover letter that is easy to personalize to each company/person with simple changes of a couple key words here and there. You can have one cover letter for each industry you are interested in that highlights your skills based on what's important to that industry...and then tweak the one or two words to suit whoever you applying to. I got nice jobs and did not make up brand new cover letters for each one, that's ridiculous and a waste of time. On the other hand, making them gave me enough practice that I can now shoot off a nice paragraph on the fly...so get comfortable with it and it won't be hard.
Create an objective line that is easy to personalize by company/position with the insertion of just the position name and company name somewhere in the sentence.
Leave off your bachelor's degree info for jobs that only require a high school diploma unless you have gaps in your employment history that can only be justified by school.
If you know how to integrate it, use industry jargon SPARINGLY to describe your work experience. Make sure it actually applies to you! Why do this? Because when using searchable databases, both online and the companies' own, industry keywords are used and if you resume has none of them it is less likely to even hit the interviewer's or recruiter's radar. In the electronic age it's like the "tag" in a blog.
Have a pretty, formatted version of your resume and a plain text version that has no graphics, no bullets, nothing but what can be typed using a basic keyboard and number pad. And it must all be flush left. So use extra returns to separate parts, and asterisks or other simple symbols on the basic keyboard in place of bullets. Again in the electronic age, need one like this to be scannable for some companies. It is okay if this one is more than one page.
SEND A THANK YOU LETTER TO THE PERSON WHO INTERVIEWED YOU and highlight either something of value you forgot to note about yourself or that they noted about you during the interview...figure out a way to work it into a nice short one paragraph thank you and make sure to have a closing line that reminds them how much you want to work for them. I got compliments on my attitude in an interview and made sure remind him what he said in my thank you... According to what i read in the past online, only a tiny percent of folks ever send a thank you letter.
Remember that these days with all the pre-screening HR does it's really unusual for interview candidates to have WIDELY varying qualifications for the job...so it's the little "b.s." things like manners, how you speak, how well you seem to know your own skills and abilities, attitude, and follow up that may really separate winners and losers.
Dont take rejections personal. Not every job you meet minimum qualifications for is going to be a match...if you getting too down, take a break and do something fun and relaxing and come back strong...i can't tell you how many times I get comments on my positive attitude in interviews and even hear how people come in looking or sounding desperate or depressed because of the market and maybe how long they been looking. If i got that bad i took a break off applications and idled on the net or something to clear my head...
Be proactive...read career and job hunting advice on msn, eHow, google search results, etc. Research each aspect separately and read read read. Trends change don't just go off what some friend who was looking work when dinosaurs roamed the earth tells you.
KNOW what soft and hard skills you bring to the table, and KNOW what your flaws are on your resume that you could be asked about, and KNOW the answer you are going to give on each of the above! Pretty much like going into any other relationship, if you don't know why you should be The One, why should the other party know? At the same time it's okay to think for a second and not just fill every silent moment with nonsense.
Ask for a business card. And have a job seeker business card of your own ready to hand out...it's much more portable than an 8.5 by 11 sheet of paper.
If you have less than 10 years of professional experience your U.S. resume is to be one page or die!