People Walking Through a Shopping Mall, Japan Resources

Shopping for holiday gifts is hard. There are loads of options, and you want to buy your friends and loved ones items they’ll truly cherish. You may think you have it down to a science, but to some extent, it’s a matter of guesswork and good luck.

The same might be true for job hiring. As career expert and Jobhuntercoach Arnie Fertig suggests in a fantastic U.S. News & World Reports post titled “How Hiring Is Like Holiday Gift Shopping,” hiring managers are not unlike folks wandering around malls, wondering what to buy. “Job applicants can compare the successful job seeker to that perfect gift the hiring manager wants to present to his department or company,” Fertig writes.

That leads to the question: How do you make yourself seem like the perfect gift? The first step, Fertig says, is to consider the question, “Where should you shop?” When companies go looking for new people, they must decide whether to hire a recruiter, sift through submitted resumes, or use tools like LinkedIn to go looking for the right candidate. The approach will largely depend on the position, which is why you should market yourself in a manner appropriate for the job you’re seeking. “In short, if you want to be found, go to where the hunters are!” Fertig writes.

Even when employers know where to look, they have options. Their challenge is finding workers who check as many wishlist boxes as possible. How do you make yourself stand out from the pack? Think about the skills that are most essential to the job and tailor your resume accordingly. It’s like you’re a sweater in a department store trying to be bought. Wouldn’t it be way easier if you knew the size, color, and style shoppers are looking for?

Finally, Fertig suggests that hiring managers, like shoppers, ask themselves, “How much do you pay?” In some cases, you actually want to spend more for something, since it signals quality. Other times, you’re on a budget, and that’s the key consideration. When it comes to jobseeking, Fertig suggests you hedge your bets and refrain from giving a salary range for as long as possible. Prove you’re the right person for the job — then talk money. You’ll have a better chance of arriving at the number you want.

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