6 Halloween Job Search Tips

by Salary.com Staff - Original publish date: October 29, 2012

Halloween, Job Search, and You

Halloween is big business. According to an infographic by History.com last year, giant pumpkins have tipped the scales at 1,810 pounds, the average American will consume 24 pounds of candy, and 120 million people will dress up in a costume -- with 11.5% of them also dressing up their pet.

It also seems that each year the costumes become more and more elaborate, with some people spending hours and hours on the perfect look. It’s enough to make you wonder what would happen if these people spent as much time thinking about their career as they did applying zombie makeup.

Let’s have some fun and see what lessons from all hallow’s eve we can apply to the business of you.

6. Prepare the Ingredients for Success

You think a haunted house is frightening? Believe me, nothing is scarier than the mob scene and long lines at the Halloween store if you wait until the last minute. They won’t have any good costumes left, and the ones that are decent won’t be in your size. Quick tip: some stores open early so if you know what you want, hit up the store before work, not after.

Preparation is also key when planning your career. Why put off starting your job search until tomorrow when others are preparing as we speak? And even while you're in your current job, you should be thinking about the next step up the ladder and learning the skills needed to get there. If you’re looking to ask for a raise or a promotion in the near future, start keeping track of your accomplishments now, stay in good communication with your boss, and align yourself with the right projects.

Just like with costumes, the best positions and opportunities often go to those who get there first. And the best preparation is research, using our free Salary Wizard.

5. Be Current

When it comes time to choose your costume, don’t get stuck in the past. Take a look at the latest Internet memes, think about recent movies everyone has seen, and pick up a tabloid magazine at the checkout counter. You want to be strutting Gangnam Style, not looking like the guy from The Hangover.

In the workplace, make sure your skills aren’t mired in the past. When’s the last time you took a training course or signed up for a class outside of work? Whether it’s a certification within your industry or learning the latest software, make sure you’re up to date. 

This is also vitally important in regard to your salary. If you haven’t gone on an interview within the last year to get an idea of your value on the marketplace, do some online research to find out what your salary level should be. You might be underpaid and ready for a raise or promotion.

4. Sexy Sells

Sexy nurse. Sexy cop. Sexy prison guard. Sexy school teacher. Sexy Department of Motor Vehicles employee. OK, we get it. For some of the women out there (and the guys too), this is their one time of year to have fun and let loose. 

Big interview coming up? Don't go there. Look, we’re not saying you should dress as "Sexy Job Seeker." However, don’t be afraid to sex up your resume a bit.

When faced with a pile of candidates, the average HR person might only look at yours for a few seconds. If your CV is the same exact resume template file from Microsoft Word, consider adding a flash of color, style, or font. It shouldn't be so garish as to make it look amateur, but standing out from the pack and grabbing attention is a surefire way to increase the odds of you getting noticed.

3. Be Authentic

When does that sexy outfit from the previous slide fail? When you’re trying desperately to be something you're not. Whether you’re a data scientist who loves jazz, a quiet accountant who skydives on the weekend, or a flamboyant designer who excels at karaoke, you can find a costume that suits your personality.

The same goes for how you represent yourself both on your resume and online. It goes without saying that if you lie on your resume, eventually it will come back to haunt you (no pun intended). In creating a presence on the web, a hiring manager should be able to tell pretty quickly what your skills are and what you stand for.

2. It's the Details That Count

For many, the most important key in a costume are the accessories. It’s one thing to put on a bunch of gold jewelry and a weightlifting belt and go as a vintage Mr. T. It’s another to shave your head into the Mohawk/beard combo (like a co-worker of mine did 2 years ago).

Details also count during your job search. Did you deeply research the company before an interview? Is your resume spotless of typos? Did you get the name of every person you met with and send a thank you email? Do you have a portfolio of your best work to present during a review? It’s the little things that count.

1. Stop, Collaborate & Listen

When it comes time to choose a costume, you don’t have to go it alone. Whether it’s a classic group such as the gang from Scooby Doo, or everyone from Snooki to The Situation on the Jersey Shore, it can be fun to have a group theme.

When looking to advance your career, collaboration is king. Studies show that up to 70% of jobs are found through networking, so if you’re not meeting with people on a regular basis, working with a mentor, and building out your contacts on LinkedIn, you’re missing the boat.

Don't Be Spooked

Finding the perfect costume is difficult, but with enough time and planning it can easily be done. The same is true of searching for a job and/or getting a raise or promotion. But whether you're talking trick-or-treat or job search tips and tricks, it all starts in the same place:

Research.

The first thing you need to do before you even think about negotiating salary, is find out how much the position pays. And there's no better place to do that than right here, with our free Salary Wizard. After all, negotiating skills only work if you know the accurate amount for which you should be asking.

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