What can you change in your strategy today that can help advance your job search next year? It’s a good time to take stock of what’s working in your present job search tactics … and what isn’t working well.
Here are 6 changes to consider:
- Rethink how you plan your search Few job seekers have a written job project plan, even those who are certified project planners. Without a project plan, your job search has no guidance, no benchmarks, and no feedback to determine if your search is on plan or facing delays. While most have some sort of idea in their head, almost no candidates have a written project plan using a spreadsheet, project planning software, or even paper. Components of an effective project plan include a marketing plan, to-do list, opportunity tracking, and beginning to end goal activity planning and tracking.
- Rethink how you research: Few job seekers spend much time researching employers until just prior to an interview. However, the earlier you research an employer and the more effort you devote to researching an employer, the higher your odds that you’ll get an interview. In addition, the more information you have about an employer before communicating with them, the higher your chances in being considered one the top candidates – even before you interview. Look for non-public information, by going beyond websites and financial statements … Information is power. Your competitors will likely not invest the time to research before sending resumes and will likely be satisfied with publicly available information.
- Rethink how you network: Most job seekers have very short term goals, that limit their job search effectiveness. Consider your job search goal: if your goal is to get your resume to a decision maker, you’re missing the biggest opportunity of networking – information. Information is your greatest currency as a job seeker and networking gives you the opportunity to gain non-public information for your pre-resume research. Your network can provide you access to company insiders. Your conversations with insiders are most effective when your goal is to discover company problems, goals and roadblocks. Before you can demonstrate how you’ve already solved a company’s problems, you’ve got to know what those problems are and what’s important to your target hiring manager. Just asking about openings or asking to have a resume passed is a terrible wasted opportunity and wastes your contact’s time.
- Rethink how you use job boards: Job boards are great for research, but lousy for applying for a job. Job boards signal which companies have the budget to hire and which positions they are hiring – allowing the job seeker to predict future hiring needs, which other positions, and what problems the company might have. Job boards can be a great tool to identify target companies, research types of positions and typical criteria.
- Rethink how you apply for a job: Get ahead of the curve by identifying target companies and concentrating your networking to getting to know hiring managers at those target employers – long before these positions are advertised. Job boards attract your greatest competition, yet only about 11% of jobs are filled by job boards according to numerous statistics. About 80% of jobs are filled through networking. By the time a job is listed on a job board, a hiring manager has already developed a list of people they have already met who could do the job – job boards and recruiters are used as an employer back-up plan.
- Rethink how you communicate with employers: Just like individualized marketing is more effective than sending mass emails, sending an individualized resume is also much more effective. While 96% of candidates put the majority (or the only) individualization into the cover letter, only 3% of hiring managers/recruiters/HR staff make interview decisions based on cover letters according to multiple studies. Less than 7% of candidates customize their resume at all – most send the same resume to each employer. These statistics suggest that a customized resume strategy is even more effective, because so few of your competition actually does it.
Suggestions of how to customize:
- Focus on WIFT: Include what’s important to your audience (What’s In it For Them), not what you’re most proud of (WIFM – What’s In it For Me) – they are usually different. Make sure that each statement passes the employer’s “so what?” test
- Research to discover employer goals and problems: Emphasize bullets that show how you’ve already helped your past employers solve those problems, meet those goals
- Demonstrate employer value: Your next employer is looking for someone who will make them money or solve their problems. Translate your accomplishments to show how you’ve solved similar problems to what your target company faces
- Monetize your accomplishments: Show your reader the significance of your accomplishments by estimating increased revenue or decreased costs by dollar and/or percentage
- Use their language: Use the employer’s own language to describe your accomplishments and experience. Don’t use the terminology of your present or past employers, because it’s probably not what your target company uses. Your goal is to make the reviewer think – They’d fit in here.
Readers – What can you rethink to improve your job search?-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Phil shows you why your current job search strategies work against you and how to replace them with strategies that improve your odds. Phil provides you with research - cold, hard statistics provided by job boards and hiring managers themselves, to show you what works for you and against you in the worst job market in our lifetimes.
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