Looking for a job takes time, effort and dedication. It’s a competitive job market. There are a lot of very talented professionals with unique skill sets that you have to compete with. Some companies prefer promoting from within the organization. Landing that dream job may in part be about who you know. Therefore a more comprehensive job search is necessary in today’s landscape. A winning job search strategy and a great resume can typically help shorten your search and put your efforts where you can get more favorable results. I get calls from potential clients looking for direction because they feel like they are spinning their wheels at times. Here are some thoughts on what is key to incorporate in your strategy.
Great Resume Quality
Your resume and cover letter are critical marketing tools in how you brand yourself in the job market. If you are a solid writer and have done your homework about what makes a great resume, then you may want to try and put your resume together on your own. The important thing is to be honest. Do you think you’ll be able to create a great resume that truly represents you as a professional? I understand we are all on a budget so there may be some hesitation in investing in a quality resume. Finding a great resume writer should not be about price. It’s the most important document of your career. The focus should be on quality and you should be realistic about what that’s worth.
It’s critical that your resume is targeted to the position you are applying for. Generic resumes are no longer effective in ranking well with the applicant tracking systems that most companies use to screen candidates. The system looks for very specific information in terms of skills, accomplishments and key words that align with the position you are applying for. Once you target your resume, you must stay focused in your search. The positions you apply for must continue to align with how your resume was targeted. If you decide to move in a different direction, then your resume must be updated to reflect your new objective. If you start to apply for roles that you are not qualified for or have a resume that doesn’t highlight those skills, you will likely not be successful. Furthermore, you will become frustrated. It’s a vicious cycle. Your frustrations will be apparent in your communications and will hurt your chances. Simply put, keep your eye on the prize and ensure you have a great resume targeted correctly.
An online presence is essential. The vast majority of recruiters and hiring managers will search for you online. Being a ghost online will dramatically affect the opportunities available to you. Your online presences says a lot about your skills, your professionalism and your network. Recruiters want to see consistency with your resume and online presence. There’s a lot to be learned about your relationship building skills, how coworkers perceive you, your level of engagement among other factors. There’s a side of you that may not come across in your resume that you can share through social media. Optimizing your LinkedIn profile is a critical part of your search. Although it’s important to market yourself well, it’s equally important to utilize the functionality properly to increase visibility. An expert resume writer can greatly assistance you in that regard.
When going on an interview, a portfolio with your resume and cover letter with multiple copies in case you meet some unscheduled interviewers is a must. Every detail about how you present yourself sends a message about how you will conduct yourself in the workplace. It’s not necessary to purchase anything fancy or expensive. If you work within an artistic or creative field, a sample or demonstration of your work is critical in setting yourself apart from the competition. There are other fields as well where a portfolio will go a long way in demonstrating your initiative and unique skills. A great resume and strong portfolio is a winning strategy.
Let’s face it, interviewing is not the most natural experience for most people. It’s almost up there with getting your teeth pulled, not quite but almost. You are asked all sort of questions; some are direct others not as clear about what they are trying to determine. Some companies ask you what ifs that seem like they have nothing to do with the job. Typically, they are trying to determine something important, but you can’t quite figure it out. Interview preparation is the key to alleviating anxiety and building confidence. There are some career coaches and resume writers that offer mock interview preparation services. It’s invaluable in helping your frame your answers, practice your elevator pitch and demonstrate an energy and excitement that the company is looking for. A good job interview coach can help.
Leveraging your network is a critical step in your job search. If you don’t have a well established network, what are you waiting for? Networking is of tremendous value when conducting a job search. Certain companies also allow for informational interviews. It’s a great way to gain a new contact within a company you like and to understand if their culture and company objectives are in line with what you are truly looking for.
Making Real Connections
We understand how important it is to establish and expand your network. What’s equally critical is to be a helpful resource to your network. The best relationships are the ones where there’s a balance. Each person contributes to the relationship in some form and both parties see value.
Finding the right opportunity typically takes time and effort. You want to make a real commitment to your job search. Most of us are busy juggling different aspects of our life. If looking for a new job is a priority, make it one. Schedule it on your calendar the way you would add other important appointments. Stick with it. At times, you may feel like your resume falls into a black hole. Feeling discouraged is common.
In addition to a great resume, there are a number of things you should start doing now to set the foundation for when you start looking for a new job. Updating your resume and expanding your network are two key first steps. While your job search is underway, consider a more comprehensive approach that incorporates many of the actions outlined here.