The 2014 job search requires you to be a near-expert at many contemporary job search strategies. This includes things that you love (and are easy) to do… and those things that make you more than a bit uncomfortable (in part because they are not easy to do).
And yet, once you sort through those emotions and apply these strategies, you’ll fall in love with the results…
1. Informational Interviews
To achieve the best results from writing your resume, plan on doing a few informational interviews, then complete your resume.
You’ll hate: Setting up interviews with people you’ve never met, those first few awkward moments together, and trying to remember this isn’t a job interview so you can’t expect anything but… information.
You’ll love: After getting inside information from the right person, the next version of your resume will be far more relevant, you’ll have at least one more meaningful contact in your network, and – assuming the interview goes well – one more mentor to call on.
2. Writing Cover Letters
In spite of the statistics indicating employers ignore the cover letter, I still recommend writing a cover letter for each application sent (and so do many other career coaches). Your cover letter, after all, is your best opportunity to tell an employer why they should read your resume.
You’ll hate: Creating a persuasive story line that complements your resume, but does not regurgitate all the information already written there.
You’ll love: When the well-told personal story in your cover letter leads to intrigue of your resume – and you as a candidate.
3. Timing Your Follow-ups Well
Expert timing of your follow-ups not only proves to the recruiter you are keenly interested in the position, it sets you apart from all those who don’t follow up and those who cross the line into stalker territory.
You’ll hate: Calling to ask if the employer received your resume. More specifically, you’ll hate that they may not answer your question the first and second time. You’ll hate that you are harassing someone who will not the employer will probably not give you an accurate timetable to call back to follow-up.
You’ll love: When you simultaneously show patience, respect and persistence and recruiters sincerely appreciate your call. You’ll also love knowing that, while following up in never an exact science, you can learn from every experience.
4. Interviewing Like a Consultant
Interviewing like a consultant brought in to fix a specific problem at the company is a terrific way to impress a recruiter – and the best approach to a winning interview.
You’ll hate: The extensive research that puts you in the position to serve as a consultant, which means looking at way more than one blog or website for answers. You’ll also hate the time-consuming process of trying to find relevant information about your potential boss, teammates, and the interviewer.
You’ll love: That you can walk in prepared to offer solutions and suggestions that solve real problems rather than defending any lack of skills or experience. You’ll also really love that the interview is more of a business meeting instead of an interrogation.
5. The Salary Question
Questions about salary expectations are difficult to answer if you are unprepared. Properly prepared, however… get ready to watch the approving nods happen.
You’ll hate: Improperly prepared, you will hate the surprise of the question – which could come as early as the interview confirmation email or phone interview. You’ll also hate that your answer – or, as recruiters see far too often, your lack of an answer – will likely determine your fate.
You’ll love: Tools such as Salary.com clarifies much of the mystery around the value you bring and the compensation you should expect. You’ll love that you’ll walk in with an objective salary range the employer can’t discount. And, you’ll love that the value you offered as a consultant in the previous strategy tip earns you an offer at the higher end of that range.
Go ahead. Build a love-hate relationship with these job search strategies. Just remember to focus on the results.. and how fast you zip by your job seeking competition.
About the Author: Mark Anthony Dyson is a career consultant, host & producer of “The Voice of Job Seekers podcast, and Founder of the blog by the same name. Download our podcast on iTunes and Stitcher, and many other podcatchers. We are helping the unemployed, underemployed, and under-appreciated job seekers find and create a voice through this platform. Follow Mark on Twitter!