NEWS + ADVICE
5 Tips to Quickly Succeed in Your Job Search
When you’re looking for a new opportunity, you will find huge numbers of articles and services telling you what to do. And yes, many do conflict. Read a variety, but don’t get bogged down in too many, too soon.
Whether you’ve just begun to think about finding a new job or you’re in the midst of a search, these simple tips will help you succeed faster.
Tip 1: Your Resume
Print it out and just look at it quickly. Does it look attractive? And I don’t mean pretty colors and graphics, which you should not use.
- Is it easy to read?
- Is there enough white space – around the outside and between sections?
- Is the formatting simple and consistent?
Now, look at it carefully. Does everything after your contact info clearly show your skills, achievements, and ability to add value in the specific job you’re seeking? Don’t waste space on info that doesn’t support your next job, such as lists of skills (show them via your achievements), unrelated training classes, standard software like Office, details about a 5+ year old degree’s classes. Create a clear, concise story that sells you as a great candidate!
After that, look at spelling and grammar. Mixed tenses in your verbs or spelling errors turn hiring managers off fast. If you cut and pasted some older resumes, did you change the fonts so this resume is all one font and style? If not, it raises questions about your work quality. Better yet, also ask someone you trust to do this same review for you. Most of us do not catch the errors we make in our resumes because we’re too close to the content.
Tip 2: Connect With People
If you’ve already started to do this, just pick up the parts you need to focus on. But, if like many, you’ve been postponing this – start now!
Step one is to reconnect with people you know but have not ‘talked’ to in the past year or two. Contact each person – by phone, email, text, whatever. Check in on them. Tell each that you are looking for a new opportunity. Have one or two questions for each person. These might be:
- Requests for information, support, or ideas to help you write the best resume and be looking at the right jobs and titles
- Recommendations for your social media profile
- Referrals to people they know in your target employers
- In the case of past bosses, to be a reference
Set up a plan and process such as ‘10 contacts per week, started on Monday and Tuesday at 1 pm.’ Once you’ve talked with about 35-40, continue the process but also start circling back as needed for more info. Remember, this is a two-way street and you need to be interested in and supportive of each person too.
Build on these connections by contacting people on social media who may have information you need. You may find these people writing articles which interest you, active in groups you belong to, or in recommendations. Then start following your target employers and connecting with their recruiters. Your goal is quality of relationships, not simply quantity.
It’s who knows you that helps you learn of good options. Rarely will anyone you know have a job that is right for you just when you need it. But many people can help you find those who do have a job that is right for you. And every company loves employee referrals so you want to build those connections early in your process. A good program of building relationships helps you be that great candidate every hiring manager hopes for.
Tip 3: Search Online for Information About Yourself
Use your name and also check under any common nickname you use. What comes up on the first 2-3 pages of the search results? Ideally these are all links that show you at your best. If not, start cleaning up your social media profiles and practices.
If your name is common, or worse, you share a name with someone notorious, start being more active online so you show up when a hiring manager does a search – and they will. Be prepared to tell a target employer up front if they will find info on someone else that is bad.
Then spruce up your social media profiles. Create a strong headline, make sure your headshot is current and smiling, and add in achievements. Be more active in your posting and commenting. Delete old, obnoxious or disqualifying posts. Consider locking down some of your profiles if needed.
Tip 4: Target Employers
An effective job search is built on targeting specific employers. This allows you to put your energy into the best matches for your goals and values. It doesn’t mean you will ignore leads or job boards/fairs. But those will be secondary in terms of time and effort expended. So put yourself up on niche boards, like ClearedJobs.Net, which are the best matches for your goals. Then do the research to figure out which employers you want to work for. You may target some based on past experience with them, friends who work there, or from working with their people on a project. Look for others and ask for suggestions from your connections.
Once you have some ideas, delve into each company. Look at their website – what are their core areas, what goals and values do they mention? How do these relate to yours? Check them out on sites like Glassdoor. Search for current info to see what news they may have made this past year. Check your connections for people who have worked there or ask for referrals to people who currently work there. As you decide each is a contender, follow them on social media. Check out their recruiters too and connect as interested.
Targeting an employer gives you an inside track. You will be able to tailor your approach to each. With a little effort you can ‘arrive before your resume’ which is always smart – get them interested, the paperwork can follow. Your knowledge will ensure you interview more effectively too.
Tip 5: Read a Book
Yes, you read that right. Read a book about your field or the future of your industry or about any topic which interests you. Reading helps you take a break from the job search stress. It may offer ideas which help you think about your job search. It will be useful in interviews – many hiring managers ask questions about what you are learning or reading or interested in. A good book gives you something to talk about in answering and also shows an interest in learning – always positive. Talking about a book which you enjoyed reading also tends to ease an interview and show you at your best.
Reading a good book, an industry newsletter, and other articles can also serve as a way to maintain contact with people. You can send a note or a link to each person you think it might interest just saying something as simple as ‘read this and thought it might interest you’.
Finding a great opportunity and succeeding in your search takes work. The up-front work of self-knowledge, network re-building, and research are vital to the difference between ‘a job’ and ‘the right job’. These tips are designed to help you get your job search into success mode.
Patra Frame is ClearedJobs.Net’s HR Management Consultant. She is an experienced human resources executive and founder of Strategies for Human Resources. Patra is an Air Force veteran and charter member of the Women in Military Service for America Memorial. Follow Patra on Twitter @2Patra.This entry was posted on Monday, February 01, 2021 7:59 pm