by Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC
Although the news has been reporting an upswing in hiring, there are still many workers waiting to land a job. Making that happen requires preparation and the creation of opportunity in addition to effectively displaying your skills and value to potential employers. Follow these tips to be prepared and create opportunity for yourself!
1) Plan Your Strategy.
Review all the positions to which you have applied, and analyze them for similarities and differences. Compare these trends to your skills, experiences, and goals. How closely does your skill set match with your job search?
For many job seekers, the longer one is out of work, the broader the net becomes. This strategy may have been effective in the past, but current hiring managers simply aren’t interested in being a part of your broad-based search. In order to make an impact, understand that the hiring manager views your search as a mini-performance evaluation. If your search appears disjointed or lacks coherence, most employers will consider this as indicative of your future performance on the job! Match your skills as closely as possible to available jobs to maximize your efforts.
2) Pare Down the List.
Targeting your job search with specific goals is just as critical well into the process as it was during week one. Writing down your goals can focus your efforts more effectively and help you present a more powerful image to potential employers. Paring down the list will also allow you to follow up in person with potential employers, an action that will set you apart from the majority of candidates being considered for the position. You can also use your list to track contacts with employers, increasing the level of organization on display to potential employers.
3) Invest in the List.
Your earlier analysis of skills and experiences will help you identify any potential areas of training that may help you stand out from the competition. Go beyond the initial job description for the position of interest to learn more about the company’s presence in the local community. Although employers are primarily interested in your on-the-job value, if you are able to engage them in conversations about corporate philanthropy, you are demonstrating a deeper understanding of the company’s values, prompting them to invest in you as well!
4) Showcase Accomplishments that Align with Corporate Projects.
A resume is an effective tool to help you open doors, but in order to do so it must be closely aligned with the company’s mission, values, and top-notch projects. Edit your resume so that only the most meaningful accomplishments are included. Many job candidates become emotionally attached to certain achievements, often from early in their careers. But the fact that you earned “Rookie of the Year in Sales” when you were just out of college will do little to land the job. Focus your resume on more recent accomplishments, usually within the last 10 to 15 years, and select those that mirror the needs of the company’s most important, visible, and profitable departments.
5) Go Beyond the Resume.
Finally, no matter how outstanding your resume is, these days it often takes more than a great resume to land the job. Brainstorm how you can make yourself stand out beyond the resume. In addition to including the personal contact noted above, this step may also include creating white papers that outline potential areas of improvement for the company. Or you may consider branding opportunities for yourself, from business cards to promotional items to lunch or treats for the helpful staffers you have met along the way.
Getting a good position is definitely a job within itself. A key in minimizing the amount of time you spend in that space is directly linked to your efforts and initiative. Posting your resume is not enough in this economy to get the response you want. Use your understanding of people and organizations to help move your efforts forward. Think of your job search as a personal marketing campaign and implement a bit of self-promotion strategy to make yourself known and land an interview!