NEWS + ADVICE
Improve Your Job Search with Tips from a Recruiter at SAIC
JoLana Larsen, Senior Strategic Recruiter at SAIC, shares tips to help you improve your cleared job search.
Avoid these three common job search errors:
1. Outdated Info
Something I see frequently is outdated information on resumes and job board profiles. Double-check your profile to make sure it has the most up-to-date version of your resume if you haven’t looked in a while. It serves as a first impression of your qualifications. I frequently see outdated information when I’m verifying things with folks. I sometimes find they have a lot more experience now – it can make a difference in that initial conversation. So double checking your information as you start to apply goes a long way.
2. Not Answering Interview Questions Directly
We know that everyone doesn’t have experience with everything. Minds are racing and people can be a little nervous in an interview, but just answer questions directly. Sometimes you can get the jitters if it’s about something you’re unfamiliar with. You’re trying to fill in the blanks rather than asking questions and having a dialog. If you’re not an expert on something that you’re being asked about, take a step back. Pause briefly to think about the question and then answer it.
3. Mixing Up Which Company You’re Interviewing With
With the market being so competitive a lot of folks are interviewing with multiple companies for different positions. Sometimes that can be a little difficult to keep straight. We’ve had people get turned around with which company they are speaking to. I highly suggest taking the materials for an interview that your recruiter has sent to you. Look up the company and the job description again before you have your conversation, so you don’t mix up information between one opportunity and another.
Addressing Relocation or Remote Work on Your Resume
We tend to look at resumes quickly. I have a checklist in my head of some of the things that I’m looking for. It’s super helpful to see certain things upfront like your clearance and location from the get go. For location, you might list your general metro area, or that you’re interested in relocation or remote work. That information helps when I’m trying to size you up for a job and figure out if it’s something you would want to consider.
Some folks note they’re looking to be 100% remote at the top of their resume. If you put “remote only” on your resume and the job requires going to a customer site, then I know it may not be a great match. I’ve also seen folks that plan to relocate. Their resume might say they live in Austin, Texas right now, but then in parenthesis they say, “planned relocation to South Carolina in October.” It’s helpful to know what your preferences are to answer my initial questions or to help us understand why you’re interested in a job in a certain location.
I also like seeing a blurb about what you’re seeking. If I don’t see a summary or anything regarding the type of job you’re looking for, my assumption is that you want to do exactly what you’re doing now. It helps us understand what you’re seeking from the start.
Participating in a Virtual Job Fair
Participating in virtual job fairs gives you an opportunity to find out more about a company and their jobs conveniently. It’s a great tool that has really launched to the forefront. Maybe you’re not sure if you’re interested or ready to apply yet. So it’s a great chance to have a casual conversation with the recruiter. A lot of hiring managers participate in the events too, so you can find out a little more information on the program itself as well. It gives you that one-on-one casual introduction to the person who is recruiting for that position. Then you can continue the dialogue from there.
For both virtual job fairs and interviews I suggest checking your backdrop, having a quiet space, putting your phone on silent, shutting other things down on your screen, and remembering to have some eye contact with the camera – as awkward as that may feel. I give the same tips to our hiring managers because they may not be used to it either. Having a quick little checklist of the things you need to remember, like making sure the software works on your computer, seems like a no brainer. But doing a quick check to make sure you have your ducks in a row before a virtual interview is super helpful.
Looking at Job Opportunities Prior to Your Military Exit
I support a lot of programs that are pursuing future opportunities at SAIC. We post a lot of jobs that note the timeline that we’re anticipating contract award news. Those are a great opportunity for transitioning military personnel to take advantage of. Some positions are going to be available right away but others may have six months of leeway.
When I post jobs I try to let folks know if it’s a future opportunity. Those jobs can work out great for somebody that knows they’re going to be going on terminal leave in a certain timeframe. I’d also recommend putting that timeframe on your resume so a recruiter can see when you’re looking to start.