Whatever your job search situation, you’ll have much better results if you focus your energy on what will get real results… rather than sporadically applying to every job you find and hoping for the best.
Check out these 5 tips to help you craft a better job search strategy that works to help you find a job faster!
1. Stop “Applying” and Start “Targeting”
- Research organizations that you find interesting, and where you believe you contribute. Look beyond the “headline brands” to lesser-known organizations
- Identify whom you know (and who they know) in those organizations
- Focus on having conversations, building relationships, and seeking connections to hiring managers
- Customize your marketing materials to speak directly to that organization
Identify 15 to 20 (or more) organizations that you find interesting, and where you believe you can make a contribution. Then start identifying how you can get introduced to the people in them.
2. Check Out Opportunities at Small/Medium Businesses
We can’t all work at Google! You may never had heard of your next employer!
- Be open to organizations and brand names you may have never heard of
- Leverage your local Business Journal book of lists, see the fastest growing public and private companies. Use your free Google research assistant, and other sources to find the hidden gems of organizations
An annual Michigan State University study showed the most hiring for college graduates was coming from small and medium sized businesses. Not because boomers were retiring, or attrition, but because those businesses were growing. It’s much easier to grow a small business 10% per year, than it is to grow a $130 B Fortune 15 company by that same amount!
3. Follow the 80/20 Rule
When job searching; spend 80% of your time preparing and polishing and 20% of your time job searching on job boards.
Why? Simple. 427,000 resumes are posted on Monster each week. Indeed.com gets over 100 M unique visitors per month. Gah, that’s like swimming with the bottom-feeders!
Additionally, the drawbacks to employer applicant tracking systems (ATS’s), according to some experts, is that 75% of applicants are not getting past the system.
Your solution? Conduct your job search so you include these productive and proven activities:
- Conducting research on your target companies
- Assessing your strengths & results, and compiling your performance evidence
- Polishing your LinkedIn and other Social Media profiles
- Connecting & engaging with people you want to know
- Making cold calls to employers to find out what kind of problems they need new employees to solve
- Conducting informational interviews
- Attending networking functions
- Talking to people in the Starbucks line (everyone is a potential connection point!)
I have a client who worked a second job as a waiter. One night while serving, a table of customers loved him and asked if he’d be interested in working in sales for them. He said sure. They said we’ll call you back at the end of summer. He never thought he’d hear from them. They called. They hired him. Now he’s growing into a great sales job in the pharma industry!
A few tips to follow:
- Don’t treat your job search like a transaction, e.g. “I submitted a resume online” does not a job search make! That is “transaction processing”!
- Pick. Up. The. Phone! Don’t make the mistake of over relying on email, applying online, “getting alerts” or other “passive” communication methods in your job search. Recruiters have mentioned how much more memorable someone is when they call!
4. Customize Every Resume, for Every Job and Invite the Reader to Examine It
As a hiring manager, you can tell when someone’s phoning it in. Really.
- Design a resume that speaks directly to the employer, and is designed to be skimmed online vs. read. Mention the job name, and the organization. Use keywords on your resume that they are looking for in the job
- Use white space and bullets! Remember, they are SKIMMING! The average amount of time a recruiter or hiring manager spends reading your resume is 6 seconds, so you need to lead them down the page
- Use numbers and digits to quantify your accomplishments, scope of work, and evidence
- Avoid including “lists of tasks” and focus on evidence of your competency
- Include a cover letter. But never start it with, “I am applying to such and such a job.” Instead, use an opening paragraph that really connects to the employer. Use something you read about them, recent news, or a common experience
According to the 2013 Jobvite Social Recruiting Survey, 94% of recruiters use or plan to use social media in their recruitment efforts; 78% of recruiters have hired through social media.
To support this data, a recruiter recently said that when a resume lands on her desk, the first thing she does is swivel over to her computer, pull up LinkedIn and check the person out. If she can’t easily find the person, the resume is discarded. So:
- Create and build your LinkedIn presence. LinkedIn remains the king of searching (96%), contacting (94%), vetting (92%) and keeping tab of candidates (93%)
- Get your vanity LinkedIn URL and include it on all of your marketing material.
- Clean up any digital dirt. Google yourself and see what comes up. Lock down your privacy settings on social media sites
- Get a Google+ profile to improve your search rankings
- Get your name URL on other vanity sites, like Vizify.com, About.me, Re.Vu; check how you show up with BrandYourself.com
- Secure your name as your Twitter handle, just so you have it!
5. The Number One Thing NOT to Do in Your Job Search: Do. Not. LUNGE.
The truth is, no one wants to help you find a job.
If you open with, “Do you know anyone who’s hiring,” or “I need a job, any job” you will turn people off and scare them away. It’s too much responsibility for them to help you find a job.
Instead, ask people to share their stories, advice, and perspectives, and connect you to others. And, be specific in your requests. Help them help you. People can do more with a specific request than a general plea. For example:
“I have a degree in marketing and I’m most interested in working in the health care industry. I am targeting areas like employee communications, corporate social responsibility, or philanthropy programs. I’d like to be in the Chicago area and have accepted a position by April 1. If you know someone that might be able to help me learn more about this area of work, I’d love to meet them.”
Get started on your new and improved job search strategy today… and get results!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Degrees of Transition!
About the Author: Lea McLeod helps recent grads and mid-careerists navigate the job search. And once you have a job, she’ll coach you to the brilliant performance of which you are capable! Her “Developing Patterns of Success” Workshop has been deployed to help thousands of college hires worldwide do just that. Follow her on Twitter and her blog: DegreesofTransition.com.