Working at a job as a person with an offbeat lifestyle is one thing, but landing that job in the first place? That can be a minefield of prejudices, frustrations, and distractions from your skills. But it can be easier if you’ve got a plan. Plus, it’s easy to forget the basics of job hunting when you’re thinking about what they’ll be thinking about you. Here are some job hunting tips for offbeat job seekers like you…
Tailor that resume
You probably have a general resume for all of your past jobs and all of your skills. But it’s actually better to have two resumes that you are always updating: one comprehensive resume with all of your job history, and a very specific resume tailored to the job for which you’re applying. It may be a bummer to have to tailor your resume each time you apply, but it makes that application WAY more likely to get noticed. Plus, if you’re using the right keywords in the tailored resume, it’ll get seen more in searches, too.
Study the job description and make sure your matching jobs and skills are highlighted for ease of skimming. They’re skimming the resume, trust me.
Get on Linkedin (I know I know)
If you mention Linkedin in mixed company, you WILL hear someone bitch about it — how it’s outdated, useless, annoying, and they don’t see the point. Job seekers loooove to rag on Linkedin. But recruiters and HR folks? They don’t rag on it and about 90% of them are on there looking for candidates. You may not be using it to post work-related blog posts or liking your former coworkers new job, but having a keyword-filled presence on there is a way to get eyeballs on you.
Don’t hide your offbeatness too much
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that recruiters and hiring managers only want normy-normals who blend in and won’t make waves. But really, they’re just looking for cool people who will bring something to the table at their company. What this means is that you CAN be yourself, just don’t let them think it will get in the way of getting your job done.
If you have a personal style, adapt it to professional wear that fits in with the dress code. If it’s a business casual place, you can totally rock a vintage pin-up dress with a mini blazer on top. Mention your interesting hobbies if it comes up, within reason, of course. It’s easy to polarize with religious or political views, especially today. And unless you’re aiming for a very formal environment like a law office, most companies are usually okay with colored hair or tattoos.
And if you’re offbeat in more personal ways (sex, lifestyle, etc.) most of that won’t even come up in an interview and it’s totally your right to divulge only what you want people to know and nothing else.
If you’re active online (as we all are), you may have social media profiles, blog comments or posts, or similar incriminating information that you may not want in the hands of a hiring manager. Google yourself to make sure there’s nothing you don’t want shared publicly available to find. Most comments can be deleted and privacy settings can be tweaked. Let your offbeatness show, but only in the interview in ways you want to share it.
Send a (digital) thank you
The days of sending real thank-you notes are over, but thank-you emails are very much still a thing. Writing up a very timely (think same-day) email incorporating something specific from the interview is key. You can even include a follow-up question or two to make sure they know you’re interested. Bonus points if you can incorporate something personal along with it. Did you talk about a book, something in pop culture, or a recommendation for things to do in the city? Offer up something similar right at the end.
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