Some people seem to know job search secrets that enable them to land jobs even when the economy isn’t booming. I’ve watched job seeker behavior for 20+ years. Want to know what successful job seekers do well? Here’s a checklist:
– Choose a focused career goal before you launch your 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.
– When articulating your career goal, don’t be afraid to close doors. Instead of saying, “I could do marketing or tech support or writing or sales or whatever your company has open,” 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.”
– Build a network of colleagues before you need job search assistance. Then you can draw upon your connections from a foundation of trust and shared history instead of waiting until you feel desperate to start the process.
– Develop error-free personal marketing materials. Perfectionism is usually a bad thing but it is required when you are creating a resume and cover letter. Ask a friend to review your materials because a second set of eyes will catch things you miss.
– Customize your personal marketing materials for every job for which you apply. Avoid a “one size fits all” resume that is probably wrong for every job opening just because it hasn’t been tailored sufficiently.
– Create a positive online presence utilizing social media and blogging. The best case scenario is that hiring managers can find something good about you if they Google you. Second best is being invisible online. Worst case is that a hiring manager will find damaging information about you. If there is anything negative about you online, use reputation management tools to bury it.
– Find effective ways to manage your job search stress so that your anxiety doesn’t become paralyzing or prevent you from making a good impression during job interviews.
– Be prepared for the interview question, “Please tell us about yourself.” I tell job hunters to pretend that this question is really, “Why should we hire you?” Reframing it in this way helps you to focus your response in a way that is more concise and persuasive.
– Recognize that the interview process continues through the entire recruitment process, not just during the times when you are participating in interviews. This includes all the follow up that may drag on for longer than you would like. If you seem pushy or rude or frustrated during this time, you can be ruled out because of it.
– Treat everyone well, even a hiring manager who delivers the bad news that you were 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. If you don’t get a job but you are the runner up, definitely stay in touch with the hiring manager!
– Persist even when you feel like giving up. Everything can change in 24 hours when you uncover a new opportunity.
– Ask for professional help if you feel stuck. You can either hire a private career coach, or most communities offer free or low cost job search assistance through community organizations such as nonprofit employment centers, libraries, and churches.
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