We all know THAT one person who seemingly has a charmed career life. They get calls for job interviews, are being solicited by head hunters, and they always seem to have an offer they are considering or have just turned down.
Situations like this don’t happen through wishful thinking. While there are industries or positions that will always be in demand, there are ways to cultivate such situations even if you’re not in a highly technical or medical field.
Rather, look at it this way: Job Searching Online for Dummies says that employers use the web to make roughly 48% of all hires. You want to make sure you are being included in that 48% by leveraging the power of the internet to your advantage.
- They dig their well before they’re thirsty. Good job hunting happens long before you need a job (or maybe you’ve heard the saying “the best time to hunt for a job is when you have a job?”). Use every opportunity to expand and maintain your professional network. Go to conferences. Connect with people. Add them to your Linked In contacts. Keep in touch through regular messages – through generalized postings that go to all of your contacts as well as direct messages to specific contacts. If the figure that roughly 80% of jobs are in the “hidden” job market is true, then you need to take the time to really know and connect with your network.
- They use Key Words smartly. Put your Googling skills to work. If you were looking for someone for the job you wanted, what key words would you use? Not thinking creatively? Try this: take a few of the job descriptions that have gotten your attention. Copy and paste them into a tag cloud generator (ie: Tagcrowd is just one example) which will show you the most important key words in the job ad. Do this for a few jobs that are right up your alley and you’ll soon find the key words you should be including in your resume.
- They take the time to do their homework. Ideally, you’re job hunting or interviewing in an industry you currently work in or know well. But if not, your research can tell you a lot about the competitive market: who the competitors are, where your target company stands in the market, how they are perceived by customers and employees, and what their challenges are. Use this information to subtly include statements that demonstrate you are current on the issues and you have insights into the market.
- They make their resume stand out. Make sure your resume is well-laid out, well written but yet not too copy heavy, and of course professional in tone. And don’t forget your email address: don’t use your current employer-issued email. Equally important – use a professional sounding email address: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com may be great for family and friends, but not easy to associate with your application. Stick to the basics: full name, first initial/last name… a pattern most people will recognize.
- Think about your digital presence. There are many who believe that soon your digital “presence” will replace the good old fashioned resume. While that might not be true today, your digital life is certainly being evaluated as part of the job hiring process. Can your Linked in Page be enhanced? Is your blog site insightful?
- They are laser focused. Don’t just blast a generic resume and a generic cover letter to every employer in the hiring universe. It’s a sure way to get ignored. Rather, top job hunters take some time to customize their resume or cover letter content to the company’s needs by adjusting to highlight the things covered in the job description as well as giving a nod to the company’s situation in their industry.
- They understand job hunting is a lifelong process. Top job hunters understand they are the marketing directors for themselves: they will be marketing themselves the rest of their lives. While some people find that idea daunting or nauseating, it’s the reality of the new job market. You’ll always be in maintenance mode: picking up new skills, adding to your resume (and related professional pages), adding to your network. Adopt the mindset right now that you are in the business of making yourself the most desirable candidate any employer could ever want: and then live your professional life that way.
Job hunting these days is a bit like gardening. Sure, it might take a lot of work to get the foundation laid: to till the soil, plant the seeds, etc. But with regular care and maintenance, you’ll have a beautiful bouquet of career experiences.
Image courtesy of “iosphere” / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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