By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC GetInterviews.com
It’s a tough market out there. Not only is unemployment high, but the regular flux of the market has stilled somewhat as people hang on to jobs and paychecks rather than seeking advancement or relocation. Don’t make your job search any tougher than it needs to be. Evaluate your efforts to see if you’ve made any of the following mistakes.
1 – Your resume and cover letter are not written aggressively. Most people only capture job duties and responsibilities in their resumes. That’s just not enough to gain attention in these tough market conditions. Your resume and cover letter must be written to grab the interest of the employer or recruiter, plus win high rankings in applicant tracking systems and online resume databases. A great resume is powerfully written with strong industry keywords; it details specific accomplishments and brings in measurements of performance wherever possible; and it is focused and relevant to the targeted position. A poorly written resume can be a significant hindrance in winning interviews.
2 – You are limiting your efforts to answering online job advertisements on fewer than ten job sites. Fishermen know when fishing is poor, they have to cast a wider net. The same goes for job search. If you are limiting your efforts to a few online job sites, you miss out on a majority of the market. A strong job search will include not only big job boards, but also networking, targeted communications, and creative career marketing. Don’t ignore job boards but don’t limit yourself to just online ads for your marketing efforts.
3 – You are not targeting specific companies first. Most jobs are never advertised anywhere. They are filled from within, filled from employee referrals, or filled from prospective candidates whose resumes are already in the company’s database. If you are only chasing advertised positions, you are behind in the race right from the beginning. Generate a list of companies for which you would like to work and get your resume and cover letter to all of them. Build a consistent marketing campaign targeting these companies and build a knowledge base on their operations, their missions, challenges they face, and markets in which they operate. Use this information to market yourself to the needs of the company. In your communication, always speak to how you can be valuable to the company and how you can meet their needs.
4 – You ask your network if they know of any job openings. The question “Do you know of any open positions?” is a yes or no question. Once you get a “no” from your network contacts, you have exhausted your efforts, right? If you feel like you have a limited reach in your network, it is because you are asking the wrong question. You should be asking your network contacts for information about specific companies. As you work your network, you will build a significant knowledge base that will eventually lead to specific contacts within companies and give you insight that will be valuable in your marketing efforts. Asking for information instead of asking about open jobs also makes networking easier! You don’t put your network contacts in the uncomfortable position of not being able to help. If you have ten different companies you are researching, more than likely your contact will be able to give you some kind of information on at least one of those companies. You actually make it easier for your network contacts to help you!
5 – You are not following up on your efforts. The squeaky wheel gets the oil. You must be a squeaky wheel. When employers get hundreds of applicants for a single opening, the five percent who take the trouble to follow up and keep following up will stand out in the crowd. You want to be in that five percent who rise above the masses. Sure, it’s an extra step and it sometimes feels superfluous, but it is not wasted effort. You are not being a pest or bothersome. You are demonstrating you have an interest in the company and an ongoing interest in being considered for employment. Make some noise and be sure to follow up on your resume submissions.
Job search takes a lot of effort. With unemployment near double-digits, there are a lot of candidates in the market. The ones who get results are the ones who put forth the extra effort to conduct a smart, complete job search.
About the Author:
Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC) is the President of GetInterviews.com, the country’s leading resume writing firm. They provide professionals with customized, branded resumes and career marketing documents. Her and her firm’s credentials include being cited by JIST Publications as one of the “best resume writers in North America,” quoted as a career expert in The Wall Street Journal, and published in a whopping 25+ career books. Established in 1994, the firm has aided more than 100,000 job seekers to date. All resume writers are certified writers. GetInterviews.com offers a free resume critique and their services come with a wonderful guarantee — interviews in 30 days or they’ll rewrite for free!