Some people seem to know job search secrets that enable them to land jobs even during a tough economy. I don’t think these successful job hunters are just lucky…I believe they are smart. They tend to use these strategies:
1. They choose a career goal before they launch their job search. Trying to implement a job search campaign without a clear goal is like trying to pack for a vacation without knowing where you are going.
2. When articulating their career goal, they aren’t afraid to close doors. Instead of saying, “I could do marketing or tech support or writing or sales or whatever your company has open,” they say something focused like, “I’m a marketing professional with 5 years of successful experience creating product marketing strategies and increasing market share. I’m looking for an opportunity to continue to use my marketing expertise in the health care sector.”
3. They build a network of colleagues before they need job search assistance. They can draw upon their connections from a foundation of trust and shared history because they did not wait until they were desperately unemployed to begin networking.
4. They develop personal marketing materials that are flawless. Perfectionism is usually a bad thing but it is required when a job seeker is creating a resume and cover letter. There absolutely cannot be any typos to be competitive in a challenging job market. And there really can’t be any mix ups like putting the wrong company or job title!
5. They customize their personal marketing materials for every job for which they apply. They avoid a “one size fits all” resume that is probably wrong for every job opening just because it hasn’t been tailored sufficiently.
6. They find effective ways to manage their job search stress so that their anxiety doesn’t become paralyzing or manifest itself as desperation when they are communicating to other people about their career goals.
7. They are able to respond to the interview request, “Please tell us about yourself.” I tell job hunters to pretend that this question is asked as, “Why should we hire you?” Reframing it in this way helps to focus a candidate’s response in a way that is more concise and persuasive.
8. They realize that the interview process continues through the entire recruitment process, not just during the times when the candidate is actually in interviews. So all the follow up that happens and all the waiting periods while the decision makers are deciding are part of the interview process, too. If a candidate seems pushy or rude or frustrated during this time, he or she can be ruled out because of it.
9. They treat everyone well, even a hiring manager who delivers the bad news that the candidate was a finalist but did not land the job. You never know what situations will arise where a connection made during a recruitment process will evolve into a future opportunity, but this can only work if no bridges have been burned.
10. They realize that job search secrets are really not so mysterious but are the result of good self-awareness, emotional intelligence including positive attitude, hard work, and persistence.
11. They ask for professional help if they need it. I help job searchers in two ways: (1) My “Ask A Career Coach” column; and (2) Private job search assistance via career coaching and consulting services.