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Step Beyond Your Resume

Posted by Pat Tovo

Talk to every employer at a job fairIf you’re struggling to connect with recruiters don’t feel like The Lone Ranger. Many cleared job seekers are in the same fit of frustration, despite the low unemployment rate. You may have submitted resumes which you thoroughly screened to make sure they contain appropriate key words but still – nada.

What’s the deal?

It could be one of a number of issues:

  • You may be applying for jobs you aren’t qualified for — you should meet about 80% of a job’s requirements if you’re going to apply.
  • Your resume may not sell your accomplishments well.
  • You may be overapplying by submitting a resume for a variety of jobs at the same company. Yep that’s a problem too, because it communicates that you don’t know what you want to do.
  • You have a lot of competition for the jobs you’re applying for.
  • Your resume may have been mistakenly overlooked.

Don’t despair, though. All is not lost. What you need to do is shift your approach and refocus your efforts on the parts of the job search process that you can control.

How, you’re asking, do you do this? You do it by acting on those three words you don’t want to hear: Networking, networking, networking.

Below are five suggestions to kick-start your job search. They are all beyond your resume.

Participate in an industry organization, conference or meetup group

The thought of this may cause your introverted personality to cringe. Take a deep breath and step into the real world. Information is power; connecting is powerful. The larger your network becomes the more doors open for you. The more you know about your industry the more attractive you become as a sought-after job candidate. Find out where folks in your profession hang out and then go hang out with them, live and in person.

Make sure recruiters know you’re available

Is the profile you created on ClearedJobs.Net set to “Public” and have you uploaded your resume so recruiters can find you? Some companies don’t post jobs and prefer to search our resume database instead so they can find you. Recruiters are search experts and they are more skilled at finding you than you are at finding them. If you haven’t uploaded a resume, they will not see your profile.

Remember to keep your presence fresh and active. When you create an account on ClearedJobs.Net or other sites, a date is associated with your account. This date refreshes or updates each time you log in. If you never log in again, it never refreshes!

When a recruiter runs a resume search, their results appear in reverse chronological order. If you haven’t logged in for a while, you’ll land at the end of the search results. Try to log in at least once a week or month to keep your information near the top of recruiters’ search results.

Fine tune that elevator pitch

If you don’t have an elevator pitch or you’re asking “What’s that?” – find out! Every job seeker needs to have a crisp branding statement that sums up their skills and goals. Here’s an example:

“I have seven years’ experience in data analysis and in the last three years I’ve successfully built a 3-person department that has helped transform decisionmaking. I’d like to use my superlative communication and leadership skills to move into a more senior management role.”

If you need more direction in formulating your elevator pitch, read our article here. And then go write the best darn pitch possible.

Seek out informational interviews

As I mentioned earlier, information is power and conducting informational interviews is a mighty tool in your arsenal. You probably have identified a handful of companies where you would like to work or at least know the industry where you want to land. Use your network to find someone who can assist with getting your foot in the door. You can offer to buy a cup of coffee or simply ask for a brief phone call, but securing that contact should be a key component in your job search.

Once you have secured that meeting, go in prepared. This is where that elevator pitch comes into play. Know the questions you want to ask about the company and the industry. Make your contact feel like their experience is important – ask about their career, what has worked for them, mistakes they made, etc. Respect the person’s time. Be curious. Be professional.

At the end of this conversation, ask for a referral to someone who might be able to provide you with additional information. Follow up the meeting with a thank you note and a reiteration of your goals. It is this ongoing process that will unearth the contacts and opportunities that lead to your dream job.

Attend job fairs

While many candidates have landed terrific positions at job fairs, these events are also a prime networking opportunity. Not only will you meet recruiters and hiring managers from top organizations, you can make connections with industry professionals and other job seekers who will be valuable to your network. Talk to the other attendees when you’re waiting for your resume review or getting a cup of coffee. Talk to every employer at the event, even if you’re unsure that there’s a fit.

Keep it ongoing

Please keep in mind that networking should be an ongoing state-of-mind.  It doesn’t have to be attending that awkward event where everyone stands around with their resume in their hand. It can be talking to a neighbor about your goals, asking your bowling team to share their connections, mentioning to your hair stylist that you are in the job market. You never know where a good lead will appear. And that may not feel like networking, but it is.

When you are job searching it is so easy to fall into a rut of making yourself feel productive by constantly filling out online applications and pick, pick, picking away at your resume. In your gut you know it’s time to step beyond the resume. You can continue like the hamster on the wheel or you can develop meaningful connections that will lead you to the right cleared job. Stop chasing and start being chased.

Pat Tovo guides job seekers in conducting successful employment searches through targeted prospecting, effective resume writing, and polished interviewing skills. She enjoys facilitating workshops and working one-on-one in career counseling.

This entry was posted on Monday, June 18, 2018 11:52 am

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