5 Tips to Energize Your Job Search

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

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Although the news has been reporting an upswing in hiring, there are still many workers waiting to land a job. Making that happen requires preparation and creating opportunity, in addition to effectively displaying your skills and value to potential employers. Follow these tips to be prepared and to create opportunity for yourself!

1.  Plan Your Strategy.

Review all the positions to which you have applied and analyze them for similarities and differences. Compare these trends with your skills, experiences, and goals. How closely does your skill set match with your job search?

For many job seekers, the longer one is out of work, the broader the net becomes. This strategy may have been effective in the past, but current hiring managers simply aren’t interested in being a part of your broad-based search. In order to make an impact, understand that the hiring manager views your search as a mini-performance evaluation. If your search appears disjointed or lacks coherence, most employers will consider this as indicative of your future performance on the job! Match your skills as closely as possible to available jobs to maximize your efforts.

2.  Create a List.

Targeting your job search with specific goals is just as critical well into the process as it was during week one. Writing down your goals can focus your efforts more effectively and help you present a more powerful image to potential employers. Creating a list will also allow you to follow up in person with potential employers, an action that will set you apart from the majority of candidates being considered for the position. You can also use your list to track contacts with employers, increasing the level of organization on display to potential employers.

3.  Invest in the List.

Your earlier analysis of skills and experiences will help you identify any potential areas of training that may help you stand out from the competition. Go beyond the initial job description for the position of interest to learn more about the company’s presence in the local community. Although employers are primarily interested in your on-the-job value, if you are able to engage them in conversations about corporate philanthropy, you are demonstrating a deeper understanding of the company’s values, prompting them to invest in you as well!

4.  Showcase Accomplishments that Align with Corporate Projects.

A resume is an effective tool to help you open doors, but in order to do so it must be closely aligned with the company’s mission, values, and top-notch projects. Edit your resume so that only the most meaningful accomplishments are included. Many job candidates become emotionally attached to certain achievements, often from early in their careers. But the fact that you earned “Rookie of the Year in Sales” when you were just out of college will do little to land the job. Focus your resume on more recent accomplishments, usually within the last 10 to 15 years, and select those that mirror the needs of the company’s most important, visible, and profitable departments.

5.  Go Beyond the Resume.

Finally, no matter how outstanding your resume is, these days it often takes more than a great resume to land the job. Brainstorm how you can make yourself stand out beyond the resume. In addition to including the personal contact noted above, this step may also include creating white papers that outline potential areas of improvement for the company. Or you may consider branding opportunities for yourself – from business cards to promotional items to lunch or treats for the helpful staffers you have met along the way.

Getting a good position is definitely a job within itself. A key in minimizing the amount of time you spend in that space is directly linked to your efforts and initiative. Posting your resume is not enough in this economy to get the response you want. Use your understanding of people and organizations to help move your efforts forward. Think of your job search as a personal marketing campaign and implement a bit of self-promotion strategy to make yourself known and to land an interview!

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!

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Bottoms Up to Branding

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC GetInterviews.com

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Do you remember the Cheers theme song lyrics? The lyrics go like this:

Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got.
Taking a break from all your worries sure would help a lot.
Wouldn’t you like to get away?
Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name
And they are always glad you came.
You wanna be where you can see our troubles are all the same.
You wanna be where everybody knows your name.

You get extra points if you can read that without singing the tune under your breath. The point is there are lots of people out there struggling in the employment market, trying to get their name to the top of the list – trying to get recognized and establish a relationship with an employer. It can be quite an effort and it does take all you’ve got. Job seekers need to be working smart and have a strategy. Here are some tips for working your job search branding efforts to the max:

Be Selective

If you are targeting a company and you submit your resume for several different positions at that company, you are only shooting yourself in the foot. The applicant tracking systems companies use will show the hiring manager if a job seeker has applied for multiple jobs and that is an immediate turnoff. Don’t carpet bomb your resume to a company. Make sure you are an excellent fit for a position and go after that position – not anything that is even partially in the ballpark.

Be Specialized

Employers are not hiring generalists. When positions come open, they have very specific skill sets and employers are seeking candidates who fit those parameters very, very closely. Right now, you have to have experience doing the job to get the job. Even if you have done similar things in related positions before and have the transferable skills, you won’t get very far when up against candidates who have the exact experience and qualifications required. This might not be the best time to make a career change but rather consider a lateral move instead and bide your time.

Be Consistent

One of the secrets to a successful job search is to be consistent in your contact with employers and recruiters. Establish a follow-up routine and stick to it. Your goal is to establish name recognition in the mind of the recruiter or hiring manager. You want everyone to know your name so you pop to mind when an opportunity comes up.

Be the Best

Branding is not an effort to be launched when you are unemployed; it’s too late then. To effectively brand yourself, you need to make it part of your career development. Strive to be the best at what you do, win recognition for your performance, and work to establish your reputation within your industry as THE person who knows how to do something. If you are an engineer, be the expert in some aspect of your field. If you are in customer service, establish a reputation for being the person to handle certain types of issues. Branding is something you build out, not build up.

Be Connected

People hire people. Technology has made processes of hiring run faster, but with technology has come volume which presents a whole new set of problems. When you get down to brass tacks, it is still a person deciding to hire a person. Applicant tracking systems, skills evaluation, and other technology only manages the process up to that point. Some of the most important requirements for a job cannot be evaluated, tested, or outlined in a resume – they are assessed face to face. Work to build and maintain a very strong professional network of connections that is both broad and deep. It is your most valuable asset next to your reputation.

To further your career, find a great job, and build your career, everyone needs to know your name – colleagues, vendors, customers, and most importantly prospective employers. You have to pay attention to your career branding and your reputation. Work to build them. Nurture them. And when you need them, you will see a great return on the investment of your time.

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!

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Branding – The Hot Trend in Job Search

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC GetInterviews.com

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Start reading up on the latest job search methods and you will soon discover a whole new vocabulary is involved. Terms like keywords, tweets, tagged, and domain names are now as commonly bandied about as cover letter and informational interviewing was ten years ago. Just as in every other people-centric process, job search changes frequently as methods morph to find new efficiencies and avenues for connection. Staying abreast of these changes may very well make the difference between success and failure in this competitive market.

Career branding is a marketing concept that has been transferred to an individual basis. Quickly – think of a computer company. Have one in mind? More than likely you thought of one of the following: Dell, HP, Compaq, Toshiba, Apple, Sony or IBM. Why? Because these are the most well-known brands in the industry. These companies have marketing departments that constantly work to establish and maintain their brands in the forefront of people’s minds.

Transpose this concept to the company of YOU. You are your own company and job search is your marketing effort. There are many things you must do to establish your “brand” with your “customers” (employers and recruiters). You want your name to be as recognizable as possible in your industry, profession or town. To accomplish that, you must put together an organized strategy that will make your name and the specific expertise you offer easily recognizable among hiring managers and recruiters. A good job search strategy is key to successful branding.

Employers are seeking specialists in this tough economic market. Determining your specific expertise or forte is very important to establishing a strong brand. Many job seekers shrink from “declaring a major” in their field but that strategy is the complete opposite of what is needed. Strongly branded professionals have a specific area of expertise and they leverage that expertise across a broad market.

Let’s look at a famous example of someone who is well-branded – Martha Stewart. In 1976, she started a catering business in the basement of her Connecticut home. Martha had outside experience as a stock broker and as a model, but cooking and other homemaking talents were things she loved, and she had been doing them all her life. She had the opportunity to write a cookbook and her career took off from there. Now, Martha is a recognizable name and is synonymous with style in entertaining. She has her own brand of household goods, her own catalog business, publicly traded company, magazine, radio show, wine, and her own website. She is very well branded but it is a narrow niche.

As a job seeker, you need to decide your own niche and push hard in that direction. Martha’s branding did not happen overnight, nor was it an accident. She invested time, thought, and money to achieve her success. She utilized the expertise of others to help her achieve that success. The same concepts apply to your job search.

Steps to brand YOU

  • Determine your expertise or unique qualities upon which to focus.
  • Make a plan that includes goals, actions, target results, and deadlines.
  • Brush up on your professional skills if needed.
  • Gather your team of people to help achieve your goals.
  • Prepare your collateral materials.
  • Get the word out.
  • Be ready to change direction or actions if required.

Let’s examine each of these steps more closely in terms of career and job search.

Determine your expertise or unique qualities
Finding your niche involves some self evaluation. Most people think of themselves as generalists – they do a little bit of everything. In reality, there is usually something they really enjoy and as a result, they excel in that area. Find that something.

Make a plan
Is your goal to just get a job for income or get a job that will be a building block in your career? Just getting a job for income is a perfectly legitimate goal, especially for the short-term when you have to pay the mortgage. That may be a short-term goal, but your long-term goal may be very different. Set needed actions to achieve your goal, list results you want to see, and give yourself deadlines to meet for each one.

Brush up on your skills
Perhaps your career goal will require new or more in-depth knowledge on your behalf. Don’t hesitate to pursue those skills or education as long as the training fits into your plan. Many people gain additional degrees that are not related to their goals, so they really add nothing to their marketability. What a waste of time and money!

Gather your team
Every successful person has a team of people behind them. Each member of the team has a specific job. Some are experts in industry, some are mentors, some are encouragers, and some offer specific skills that are necessary for reaching a goal in the plan. Surround yourself with experts who can help you achieve your goals through the application of their individual skills.

Prepare your materials
All marketing campaigns have collateral material. Traditionally, we think of these materials as business cards or brochures. In your branding efforts, at least in terms of job search, your collateral materials will be your resume, cover letter, business cards, and maybe a bio. In today’s job search, you need to add your Twitter page, your Facebook page, your LinkedIn profile, and perhaps your own online portfolio to the mix.

Spread the word
Part of your plan will be to take action. In job search, that means getting your name in front of decision makers and recruiters. It means conducting interviews about companies, doing research, and talking with people. Spreading the word about your expertise should occur in an organized fashion (going back to the plan) and be consistent. Coca-Cola doesn’t do one advertisement and then call it a day. They saturate the market with advertising. Everywhere you go you see some kind of advertising for Coca-Cola. You have to do the same — saturate the market.

Be nimble
Despite the best-made plans, life happens. Opportunities come your way that open whole new vistas. You need to be prepared to work those into your plan. Do you think Martha was thinking of having her own satellite radio station when she wrote that first book? Hardly! Opportunities came along that she never dreamed of! It happens to every well-branded entity. What if she had said no to the request for a second book? Stay true to your brand but remain open to different ways to achieve your goals.

No longer is job search simply a matter of posting your resume on top job sites and waiting for the phone to ring. It just doesn’t happen. Job search methods change as communication changes. Twenty years ago, the concept of posting a resume on the Internet was unheard of. In fact, the Internet was pretty much unheard of except by a few eggheads in laboratories. Look at how things have changed! Would you now consider faxing your paper resume to local employment agencies an effective way to conduct your good job search? In 1989, that would have been considered acceptable!

Career branding can be a very complex process or it can be as simple as deciding what direction you want to go with your expertise. Are you an IT Specialist or a Wide Area Network Engineer? Are you a financial services professional or are you a Compliance Officer? Are you an educator or an Early Childhood Specialist? It’s time to decide your future!

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!

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