By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC
Are you conducting a smart job search or just an average job search? With unemployment at record levels, lots of people are in the middle of a job search. Some are going through all the right motions but they aren’t working smart. As a result, their searches take more effort, get fewer results, and take longer. Here are some “do’s” and “don’ts” of a smart job search:
DO set search agents on job sites. Let technology work for you. Search agents will “push” new job openings to you so you can apply if you wish. Search agents cut a lot of time out of job search and are very useful for the Internet portion of your job search.
DON’T stop at one or two job sites. In this recession, job search can be a numbers game. Cast a wide net in your job search and use multiple avenues to get your resume circulating. Make sure you update your resume regularly on job boards and include a cover letter if the system allows.
DO use a great resume prepared by an experienced, certified resume writer. Check credentials and find out how long the writer has been writing resumes. There are lots of “resume writers” out there who have appeared since the recession and who will “write” a resume for a few bucks. Don’t be fooled; the quality of the end product is not the same. Investing in professional help is a great way to get an edge.
DON’T ignore social media because recruiters and hiring managers don’t. Sites like LinkedIn and Facebook are the first stop for most recruiters seeking professional candidates. Work to build your online network and keep it professional. Make sure your profile is complete and work to extend your network across a diverse population. It does no good to add five personal friends and stop there.
DO follow up. With hundreds of candidates for each open position, names and resumes all run together for the hiring manager. Interviews will go to candidates who work to establish some sort of communication with the recruiter or hiring manager. Today especially, employers are overwhelmed with applicants and will often grasp the straw that sticks up highest. Work to be that straw by always following up with a great thank you, a personal note, or a phone call.
DON’T forget to pay it forward. Your network should work both ways. Not only should you be asking for help from your contacts but you should be offering it, too. A job search partner can be helpful in multiplying your efforts. Find a contact in the same industry but different function with whom you can team up. Your contacts can immediately be his contacts and vice versa. Your research can benefit him and his job search efforts can benefit you.
DO stay engaged. The worst thing you can do is sit at home and become isolated. Get out of the house. Volunteer, go to community meetings, take a class, or even teach a class! Isolation leads to job search burnout and dead ends.
DON’T give up. When the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) releases new unemployment figures, you often hear talking heads saying the figures don’t reflect those who have given up. Don’t become that statistic too. Those who give up have a 100% chance of NOT getting a job. Edison had over 100 failed designs before he finally hit on the right one for the light bulb. But he never gave up. Keep working at finding a job and you will succeed.