Create a Road Map for a Successful Job Search

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

Vice President, San Francisco, CA
Marketing Assistant, Exton, PA
Microfinance Intern, Washington, DC
Associate Marketing Manager, Chicago, IL
Summer Analyst, New York, NY

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Today’s job searches are taking longer to produce results than even a year ago. But that reality doesn’t have to put a damper on your campaign to land that plum position! Stack the odds in your favor by creating an effective road map that covers all the best job search strategies.

First Impressions

Begin the journey with a professional cover letter and resume. You want to engage hiring managers and build interest in you as a viable candidate. That first impression can become a wave you ride into the interview room. Carry that professional image through in every interaction you have within your network or with any representatives of the companies you contact. Meet every deadline. Arrive early for any type of appointment. Be prompt and courteous. Above all, behave professionally.

Actions Speak Loudly

Follow up with hiring managers to produce results long after the first contact you have with a company. You might call to be sure your resume has been received or to inquire as to the need for additional information. Sending a thank-you note following an interview is par for the course, but also send one to acknowledge any assistance you received, such as to the contact who helped get your resume to the right individual. Even if you don’t land an interview initially, state your intent to touch base periodically. See this as part of your network building. By sharing the latest industry information or just chatting informally, you can turn these contacts into enjoyable social encounters. Your persistence and interest in the company are communicated by consistent actions, which carry much more weight than empty words.

Network Effectively

Take advantage of job fairs, community gatherings, and professional organization events to keep your finger on the pulse of local and national job markets. Not only are these excellent opportunities to network, but also to understand movement in key positions at companies of interest. Consistent networking, even if you aren’t actively looking for work, can lay the foundation for subsequent job searches. Read local business publications to stay on top of regional business news and opportunities. You may discover new businesses before they open where you can submit an early resume ahead of the competition.

Do What You Love

Professional passion and interest in your field of work cannot be overrated. Only you can determine whether this is the time to follow your heart and create a new direction in your career or if it’s better to stick with a sure thing. Though family and financial obligations may be pressing you in one direction, if you are unhappy in your current situation, it may be negatively affecting your overall quality of life as well as your job search. Although it may seem like a bit of a detour, review what makes you happy and do what you can to increase a sense of meaning and satisfaction in your life. Believe it or not, that kind of energy can also fuel your job search forward.

Don’t Get Overwhelmed

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you are continually looking for opportunities and feel stymied by the lack of results. The sheer number of job listings and sites makes the job search feel even more challenging. Realize it is not necessary to mobilize every strategy in your job search road map at the same time. Keep diligent records of your job search and organize contacts so you don’t inadvertently duplicate your efforts. You may also use a spreadsheet for usernames and passwords to various job sites.

Pick Up the Phone

Use the resources available to you. Call the new company in town and introduce yourself. Share your interest in the company, but more importantly, use your elevator speech to broadcast your skills and value. Follow up with a resume. Ask for a meeting. Give hiring managers good directions in identifying your strengths and linking those to the needs of the company.

Work to gain clarity in your job search for greater effectiveness and consistent progress on the journey. Target positions and employers you are interested in and systematically follow your road map for success!

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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Update Your Job Search Strategies

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

Research Associate, New York, NY
Marketing Analyst/ Associate, Boston, MA
Investment Banking Associate, San Francisco, CA
Research Analyst, Chicago, IL
Senior Analyst, Hanover, NH

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Making a change in jobs can be challenging at any time in your career, but may feel even more daunting for those who have been with a particular company for a relatively long time. Putting together an effective job search and resume can be difficult for workers who may not have been out in the job market recently. A few strategic tips can help you position yourself as a viable candidate while reducing potential vulnerability to ageism.

Use dates and years of experience judiciously.

It is not necessary to include dates of graduation, professional training, or membership in professional associations. Simply listing these credentials is acceptable. It is not in your best interest to describe your vast experience in terms of 25 or 30 years of experience.  Consider describing experience with adjectives such as “broad”, “deep”, or “expansive” instead. Simply put, try not to call attention to your age, but rather your skills and expertise.

Limit the length of your work history.

Most hiring managers are only interested in the last 10 to 15 years of your experience. You may feel great pride in accomplishments early in your career, but highlighting your status as “rookie of the year” from 1987 is more likely to hurt than help your job search. Including points such as these could brand you as outdated, which may quickly end your consideration for employment.

Tailor the cover letter.

Individualize the cover letter by using the name of the hiring manager or contact person.  This may require time online to identify the person to whom you address the letter. An effective cover letter serves dual purposes: enticing the reader to learn more about you and listing your qualifications. By leading with a specific name you personalize the cover letter and show that you have done your homework.

Update the cover letter.

Review current business letter formats, for both written and electronic communication. Following the styles from your first typing or computer class will identify you as outdated. Email should also be formal and include traditional greetings and a signature with all your contact information. For example:

Name
Email Address
Phone
Cell Phone
LinkedIn Profile
(can be an asset if you have set one up)

Also be certain to include an appropriate Subject Line, such as:

Sales Management Position
Human Resource Manager Application
Financial Analyst Position – Your Name

If you are uncertain about the appearance of your email, send a test version to a friend, family member, or separate account of your own. If you choose to send a test email to another email account of yours, be certain not to send to an existing work-related account. Most company email is considered open to viewing by upper management. Using company resources for a job search is not good form.

Emphasize diverse experience.

A practical outcome of experience is the accumulation of many transferable skills. Related skills and experiences that distinguish you from other candidates can be included in the cover letter and in the summary section of your resume. Connect the dots for the reader by showing exactly which skills will benefit the potential employer, rather than just stating you have “transferable skills”. You can also highlight your ability to be flexible and adaptable – a team player – as you describe these additional skill areas.

Avoid early salary discussions.

Experienced workers have a reputation for being more “expensive”, so it is important to be cautious in any requests for salary expectations. If required, you may respond by stating your flexibility or describing salary expectations as within normal market range.

Mobilize your network.

With broad experience, you have probably built a solid network of contacts. Now is the time to reach out to those contacts to explore knowledge about openings and let people know you are looking. Think about professional organizations, alumnae groups, or local civic groups.

A job search takes time and career transitions rarely happen as quickly as you would like. Hanging in there while opportunities develop may be the hardest part of the search. Using strategies that make you less vulnerable to negative perceptions from hiring managers helps position you to move more quickly through the search process to a new job.

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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Make New Goals for Your Career Search

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

Finance/Business Coach, Boston, MA
Research & Marketing Intern, New York, NY
Investment Analyst, Philadelphia, PA
Technology Coordinator, San Francisco, CA
Investment Strategies Analyst, Boston, MA

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Your resume is the most important vehicle for sending a positive first impression of you and your skills to hiring managers.  However I hope a strong resume isn’t the only strategy in your tool box for 2011. Many people discount the value of New Year’s Resolutions but recognize the power in writing down intentions. Make a commitment to a successful job search in the coming year by defining your direction. Use the list below or be inspired to come up with your own!

1.  “I will target my job search efforts instead of using the old shotgun approach.”

It’s so easy to send your resume to multiple sites via the Internet, but results are not always optimal. Your resume may become one of hundreds in the hiring manager’s inbox. Target jobs of greatest interest and be diligent about your interactions with those companies as noted in the following intentions for the New Year.

2.  “I will expand my list of contacts by 2 people or organizations each week.”

Add contacts face-to-face, via phone, or electronically. Help new contacts see you as a viable partner in the organization by highlighting how your strengths can further their mission.

3.  “I will improve my resume by emphasizing accomplishments and recent experiences.”

Accomplishments can be communicated to new contacts as well as in revisions of your resume and cover letter.

4.  “I will participate in regional job fairs.”

Job fairs are a great opportunity to reach your weekly contacts goal, make you more visible, and expand your knowledge of the local job market.

5.  “I will make cold calls to regional prospects.”

Calling prospective employers helps you in many ways. You become more than a name in the endless string of resumes. The relationships you develop may leverage an interview and eventually a position.

6.  “I will develop action plans and present to major companies in my job search.”

The action plan is a great strategy and clearly sets you apart from other candidates. Taking time to research the corporation and create a plan that addresses company needs or goals communicates your initiative and unique talents.

7.  “I will use business intelligence and corporate research to revise my cover letter.”

Do research on companies to identify values, projects, and initiatives. Incorporate information into the cover letter by telling prospective employers how your experience and talents solve their problems.

8.  “I will become more active in my professional and community organizations.”

Being active in organizations not only enhances your networking, but may also help you develop additional skills. Serving as member of a Board clearly conveys your leadership skills.

9.  “I will demonstrate my qualities as a solid candidate in every action with potential employers.”

Interactions at every level of the organization reflect on you in the application process. Each phone call, social network posting, and face-to-face contact will be reported up the chain of command. Be deliberate and considerate to be successful.

10.  “I will present a consistent brand in my resume, cover letter, and professional contacts.”

You may have heard President Obama’s brother-in-law describe the importance of behavior on a basketball court in assessing an individual’s overall character. Although not under constant scrutiny when applying for positions, you must be aware that behavioral inconsistencies will be magnified or misinterpreted. Display your best character.

11.  “I will develop an “elevator speech” to use with my expanding professional network.”

Encapsulate key aspects of your skills and professional brand into a 30­-second speech. Use it at every opportunity.

12.  “I will use old-fashioned thank-you notes to follow up all types of contacts and keep my name fresh in people’s minds.”

You may be tempted to send an email note to follow up on a professional meeting. The sheer number of emails most people receive is overwhelming. Sending a hand-written note is another way to distinguish oneself from the crowd.

13.  “I will use social networking sites to my advantage, including adding professional resources, such as resume and career advice consultants.”

Smart use of social media can accelerate progress in your job search. You expand your network and are more likely to be seen by potential employers. Clean up any questionable postings and present yourself professionally to make the best use of social media resources.

14.  “I will continue my professional development activities to improve my skills, expand my network, and maintain my enthusiasm.”

Participating in professional development activities becomes even more critical during employment gaps. You gain focus, new ideas, and strategic contacts.

Most importantly, don’t become discouraged.  A job search can be daunting, but with a specific plan, you can re-gain a sense of control and direction. Well-defined intentions can provide a framework for a successful job search. Be confident as you move into the New Year. Armed with effective goals, you can make this your year to secure a new job!

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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Doostang Insider Reviews Survey Winner!

Doostang is pleased to announce the winner of the $100 drawing from our September Insider Reviews Survey – Congratulations to Mark Schinkel! Thanks to everyone who took the survey.

Want another chance to win cool stuff? Enter into our RESUME MAKEOVER SWEEPSTAKES for a chance to win a professional resume and cover letter rewrite (valued at over $400)!

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Are You Letting “Too Much Information” Ruin Your Resume?

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

Project Finance Analyst, New York, NY

Market Research Analyst, Philadelphia, PA

Junior Trader, Chicago, IL

Chief Operation Officer, Washington, DC

Investment Banking Analyst, Boston, MA

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True or false? Including everything on your resume an employer will need to know about you will help facilitate the hiring process.

While it may sound like a helpful hint, the correct answer is false. In fact, including certain details on your resume can seriously damage your job search. From decreasing your chances of landing an interview to influencing potential salary, “too much information” on a resume can be detrimental for any candidate.

If your resume contains any of the following, you are putting yourself at a major disadvantage right from the beginning:

References

Your professional references should be always be listed in a separate document and provided when requested – and that usually doesn’t happen before the interview. Since the primary function of a resume is to land the interview, sending your references as part of your resume is premature.

Some jobseekers think this is a good way to take advantage of networking opportunities by dropping the name of a reference or two to impress a prospective employer. Your resume is still not the right place to accomplish this. To emphasize your relationship with a professional contact, simply mention it in the cover letter. (Be sure to do so subtly, however. For example, “My former colleague from XYZ Company, Jack Smith, suggested I contact you directly because he felt my skills would be a perfect fit for your organization.”)

Salary History & Requirements

The dinner table isn’t the only place where talking about money is considered rude. A resume should not indicate compensation requirements or salary history. Aside from etiquette, doing so could literally cost you.

If you disclose your bottom line and it’s less than what an employer was willing — or even expecting — to pay you, you’ve just inadvertently volunteered for a pay cut.

Unless a salary requirement is mandatory to apply for a position, do not surrender this important information, or you will risk compromising any leverage you may have in future salary negotiations. When a concrete figure is required to be considered for an opening, this information should be incorporated in your cover letter, not your resume.

If salary history is requested, it typically comes later in the process and should be prepared in a separate document.

Hobbies

Whether you spend your weekends as a Cub Scout Leader or enjoy skydiving in your spare time, extracurricular activities are almost always irrelevant to one’s career, and therefore, do not belong on a resume. Since your resume is a professional piece of communication, reserve the limited space to present only information related to your professional qualifications, and keep leisure activities separate.

There are exceptions, particularly for professionals who engage in outside activities directly related to their jobs. An accountant who serves as treasurer for a local charity, an aspiring gym teacher who volunteers as a soccer coach, and a construction worker who donates his time and skills to building houses for the poor are good examples. When in doubt, if an activity or affiliation doesn’t support your career objective, leave it out. Most employers are only interested in their employees’ after-hours activities when they need staff to work overtime.

Educational Details

For mid- and senior-level professionals, detailed information related to your college years is not necessary. Unless you are a recent college graduate with little career history to offer, keep the emphasis on your professional achievements and the tone at a higher level. Your grade point average and past extracurricular affiliations are far less important than your recent work highlights.

Also be sure to omit your year of graduation unless you finished school in the past 5 years. Though age discrimination is certainly prohibited by law, volunteering your age can never help you.

Reasons for Leaving

Whether your former boss threw you a going away party or had security escort you from the premises, your reasons for leaving any job should be reserved for a job application. They simply don’t belong on your resume regardless of the circumstances. If you wish to have an opportunity to explain a sticky situation like being fired, wait until at least the first interview so you’ve had a chance to make an unbiased first impression.

Overall Content

The most important issue to consider regarding the quantity of information is overall content. Employers do indeed want to know about important work you’ve done throughout your career – but they do not need or even want to know every detail. Summarize your best assets rather than inundating the reader with minutiae. You have literally under a minute to make an impression on a prospective employer, so you must be very careful choosing what content to emphasize.

Nothing will help land your resume in a “no” pile faster than making it too long, too cluttered, and too cumbersome to read.

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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Avoid a Job Hunt Rut

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC GetInterviews.com

Investment Banking Analyst, Boston, MA
Product Quality Associate, SF Bay Area, CA
Analyst / Associate, Philadelphia, PA
Fall Intern, New York, NY
Technology M&A Analyst, Foster City, CA

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Does this sound familiar? You see a post for that dream job and promptly submit your resume – only to hear nothing for days, then weeks. You wonder why you didn’t receive a response as you continue to scour postings for the next position that seems like an ideal match.

If your job search has hit this type of rut, take heart. It doesn’t necessarily mean you aren’t just as qualified as your competition. It could just mean your job search strategy is all wrong.

In a job market this tough, you need to be more aggressive than ever to get noticed by hiring managers and recruiters. The key is to gain as much exposure as possible. The more you put your resume out there, the greater your chances for grabbing a hiring manager’s attention.

Here are a few ways to jump start your stalling job search:

Utilize job boards

Employers once relied solely on high-priced headhunters to gain access to highly-qualified candidate pools. Now, they can turn to the Internet – namely, job boards — where job seekers post their resumes. The boards match qualified applicants with open positions based on employers’ customized criteria.

While most job seekers are familiar with mainstream boards such as Monster, they may not realize there are literally hundreds of boards tailored by industry, profession, or diversity group. For those concerned with privacy issues, most boards even offer the option of keeping certain details of your contact information confidential until an employer wants to reach you. Most allow job seekers to post a resume free of charge, so there’s really no good reason to ignore these opportunities.

Send a follow-up letter

If you have already sent in your resume only to yield no result, don’t be afraid to take another shot. Rather than just submitting your resume a second time with a standard cover letter, use a follow-up letter. This approach is particularly useful if you’ve updated your resume recently and would like a chance to submit the new-and-improved version. A follow-up letter allows you to reintroduce yourself while demonstrating you are very serious about a company or position.

Unlike making a telephone call to follow up, a letter doesn’t catch the employer by surprise or put him or her in the awkward position of talking to you without the benefit of your resume for reference. Keep the letter short and to the point, but be sure to focus on why you would be ideal for the position. The goal is to lure the reader into revisiting your resume, giving your application a second chance.

Prepare a 30-second speech about yourself

Whether you attend an organized networking event or happen to run into a former colleague in the park, you should be prepared to capitalize on opportunities to establish professional contacts that can lead to your next job. Many job seekers lament that networking events, like those sponsored by college alumni organizations or professional associations, are a waste of time. After all, you meet so many new people and have such a brief window of time to make any impression at all. Before you’ve finished with small talk, the conversation is over without even getting to the reason you were there in the first place.

Going in prepared, however, can make all the difference. Creating and practicing an “elevator pitch” – a 30-second speech summarizing your professional qualifications and goals – can make the most of the limited time you have to establish new contacts. As an added bonus, you will also eliminate those terribly awkward moments when you struggle for what to say.

Take advantage of online networking sites

Setting up profiles on popular networking sites, such as LinkedIn, not only provides you with an online presence for your professional qualifications. It also helps you reconnect with former colleagues with whom you’ve lost touch. The wider your network of contacts, the more potential opportunities will come your way. Joining most of the popular online networking sites is free, so there’s really no excuse not to do it.

Of course, for any of these techniques to be effective, you need to be sure employers can not only find you, but will be impressed with what they see. That’s why it is crucial to make sure your resume is up to par and rich in keywords before these methods can jump start your 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!

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Be a Big Fish in an Overcrowded Pond

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC GetInterviews.com

Analyst, New York, NY
Marketing Director, Mid Atlantic States
Investment Banking / Private Equity Analyst, New York, NY
Manager – Strategy & Business Development, Washington, DC
Junior Analyst, West Conshohocken, PA

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How do you stand out as a great candidate in a sea of unemployed applicants competing against you? A hiring manager recently told us “I need to fill three key positions at the plant. These jobs are posted and right now with the unemployment rate being so high, I’ve been getting 200-300 resumes per position. It would be ideal if I can find candidates through word-of-mouth.” The large crowd of candidates is not just a problem for you the job seeker, but also for the hiring manager. Hiring managers often look first to word of mouth referrals to find good candidates, save time, and make a better hire.

Having a network contact pass on your resume automatically makes you a big fish in the pond. The hiring manager above would pay closer attention to the resume of a candidate referred to him than he would to the 200 resumes dropped into the database from the job advertisement. Hiring is still a people-centric action. People hire people. Computers don’t hire people.

Technology can make it easier but it can also make it more difficult. It is important to make sure your job search is multi-faceted and includes not only responding to online ads but networking, cold submissions, targeted marketing, and recruiter contacts. Big fish work harder than little fish to make themselves stand out in the crowd. Successful candidates have a great resume, a cover letter that grabs the reader, and a plan to use those tools aggressively to gain attention. Are you a big fish or are you a minnow? Minnows sit back and wait for something to happen. Big fish go after things aggressively and proactively!

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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Five Reasons You’re Not Getting Job Interviews

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC GetInterviews.com

Equity Research Associate, New York, NY
Management Consultant, Nationwide
Analyst, Los Angeles, CA
Pre-MBA Private Equity Associate, Boston, MA
Investment Banking Analyst, San Francisco, CA

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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!

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Prepare Now for Your Next New Job

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC GetInterviews.com

Investment Analyst, New York, NY
Entry Level Technology Consultants, Multiple Locations
Hedge Fund Analyst, New York, NY
Business Analyst, Boston, MA
Commercial Real Estate Group Associate, Los Angeles, CA

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Are you employed but unhappy? Many people are. It’s called being underemployed or unhappily employed. With the economy in the tank for the past two years, many people have put all thoughts of hunting for a new, more exciting job on the back burner. Those with jobs at all are thanking their lucky stars for a paycheck while bearing up under less-than-optimal conditions. Stress levels are up and so are work hours; people are doing more with less which makes for tense times.

Although it may seem implausible, now is the time to start preparing for your next job search. Unemployment is inching lower, companies are starting to recover and that means hiring will start increasing. You should start thinking ahead. Here are some tips:

Make sure your network is warm. All those people hit by layoffs can attest that networking is hardest when you’ve allowed your network to fall away. Stay in touch with your contacts constantly so you are always on the radar regardless of economic conditions. Most great opportunities come through your network when you are least expecting it.

Get your resume and cover letter ready. That unexpected opportunity may not wait for you to get a resume and cover letter spiffed up. You should have a current resume on hand at all times. Every time you achieve something at work or if your role changes, you should make detailed notes, having your information at hand. If you have a great resume but it’s been more than six months since you touched it, it’s time to update it!

Get necessary training. Maybe you are thinking of moving up a step on the career ladder but need additional education or training. Now is the best time to make that happen. Take advantage of the stalled economy to update your skills, attain a degree, or add a specialization. It will pay off in the end!

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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Fear Will Cripple Your Job Search

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC GetInterviews.com

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A self-defense instructor talked to his class about the vital need to keep panic at bay. “Panic,” he explained, “Makes you freeze mentally. If you stop thinking, you’re dead”. The same can be true when you suddenly find yourself unemployed in a world of high unemployment. Panic can set in. Panic at unemployment has the same effect as panic in response to a personal attack. It can make you stop thinking and if you stop thinking, you significantly limit your job search options.

Andy is a 50-something industrial engineer. He’s never, ever had to look for a job. Jobs always found him through word-of-mouth or due to his great reputation in his industry. That changed last month when Andy’s latest project was cut due to lack of funding and he suddenly found himself without a job and no fresh prospects. With a mortgage and a daughter in college, Andy panicked. He was in uncharted territory and he didn’t know what to do.

Job search had changed dramatically since the last time Andy had put together a resume. Resumes aren’t mailed or faxed anymore and now he had to consider something called applicant tracking systems. He wasn’t just competing against other engineers in his state or region but with engineers from India, Japan, and China. His professional identity was on the line and he suddenly felt all his hard work over the years was worthless.

Sound familiar? Welcome to the new “normal”. It’s scary and it’s not pretty, but your response shouldn’t be panic. The correct reaction should be a concentrated effort on education, connection, and marketing. Just like the self-defense instructor noted, “If you stop thinking, you’re dead.” In job search, if you panic and stop thinking, you will find yourself making no progress toward reemployment.

The first thing Andy needed to do was get educated. He had no familiarity with modern job search techniques or the conditions of the market. He knew “things were rough” but the reality of the fight he faced was a surprise. Understanding what you are facing goes a long way toward killing the fear of the unknown. Andy needed to get with a career support professional to discuss his situation, find out the dynamics of the market, and learn about the different tactics available to him for finding his next job. He was far behind the learning curve because he had not had to job search in years and years.

Next, Andy needed to connect with his network. His long tenure in his industry gave him a huge advantage over more inexperienced competitors because he had connections and tentacles that reached deep and wide. Andy knew a lot of people, and many were in key positions to make things happen for him. He had kept this network fairly warm over the years, too, since he had been constantly working within the industry. To get things moving in his job search, Andy had to get busy reaching out to people to start searching out opportunities.

Employers are always looking for the most efficient way to hire. The entire Internet job search phenomenon was built on finding more efficient ways to find, screen, and hire candidates for jobs. In a market flooded with well-qualified, available candidates, electronic applicant tracking systems are blowing fuses trying to keep up with the influx of new resumes. With all the candidates rushing to the front door, Andy needed to come through the service entrance in order to get in front of decision-makers. That meant networking and talking to his connections. People hire people. Applicant tracking systems don’t hire people. They just sift through the masses. Andy needed face time and he had a network that could offer that to him.

Andy had never had to conduct a formal job search so the concept of marketing his career was especially foreign to him. Andy needed guidance on what to do. The career support professional he worked with helped him see that his career is an entity – a little mini-business – that has to be marketed to prospective buyers (employers). To accomplish that, Andy needed a marketing plan and the collateral materials to help him establish a profile. Andy worked with his career support professional to build a resume, cover letter, and all the other marketing materials he needed to conduct a top-shelf self-marketing campaign.

Once armed with knowledge, a support system, and the right marketing materials, Andy was no longer terrified. He was a man of action – one who had a plan of attack. He was putting that “fight or flight” impulse for survival to positive use and fighting to get his next job. It would have been very easy for Andy to become a deer in the headlights. Panic will cause you to freeze. Fear will cause you to strike out blindly in defense. Knowledge will give you direction, and support will give you the tools you need to overcome your challenges and win out in the end. Understanding the situation and having a plan will banish fear and help you make progress toward getting out of the pit of unemployment.

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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