6 Tips for Landing a New Job

Job searches can feel contradictory and confusing at times as you try to cover all the bases while simultaneously targeting a specific industry. In these tough economic times innovation is often necessary to land a job.  At the same time, you don’t want to be seen as too far removed from the mainstream when trying new approaches.  Balance is helpful in strategies and personal responses throughout the ups and downs of a challenging job search.

1.  Target Large and Small Companies

Don’t just pander to the Fortune 500 companies in your job search. As most economists note, small and mid-sized businesses do most of the hiring. Maintain a balance of the large companies and smaller regional businesses in your targeted job search.

2.  Consider a Temporary Position

Taking a temporary position doesn’t mean you will always be in a temporary slot.  The contacts may lead to full-time employment or another project with other businesses by further expanding your network.  Temporary positions can also lead to full-time positions, depending on your performance record and personal relationships while in the position.  Act like a full-timer in terms of big-picture planning and personal investment, and you’re likely to find yourself in that full-time position.

3.  Pursue an Internship

If you are interested in a career shift, consider an internship. These positions are no longer just for those finishing up college. Internships now accept established professionals who want to make a significant change in career direction. And an internship – at any stage in one’s career – serves the same purposes.  The internship will help you make contacts while you establish a skill set in a new industry.

4.  Follow up Judiciously

If you have posted your resume on a job site, be certain to follow up. Check email carefully for related job postings or additional leads. Cold call new prospects and conduct appropriate follow-ups. But remember the fine balance between being persistent and being a pest.  Anxiety or desperation about your job search can be conveyed in following up too frequently, appearing too eager or asking too many questions about the projected time-frame for interviews and hiring. Your best business suit is your confidence.

5.  Adjust Your Expectations

Balance your expectations with the reality of the job market. You may be ready to move into an upper management position, but find those jobs are unavailable. Look at the demographics of those currently in the job you desire. In many companies, those positions are held by folks who may have weathered the recent downturn and could be looking toward retirement over the next few years. Although it is hard to be patient and you may certainly feel you are over-qualified for a lower-level position, it can be important to simply get into the organization.  Once you have been accepted as part of the team, it is likely that you can move up quickly and perhaps that plum position will open up sooner than you anticipate. Moving into key positions is often more likely to occur from within the organization, so place yourself in a position to take advantage of eventual opportunity.

6.  Balance Traditional and Emerging Job Search Strategies

Networking is a tried and true method, but it doesn’t always have to be face-to-face.  Use social networking sites – appropriately – for your job search.  Professionally oriented sites such as LinkedIn provide a great place to start, but be sure to clean up questionable postings on Facebook to improve your chances in a competitive job market.

Dream big and balance your expectations with the economic reality. Maintaining a healthy combination in your approach and attitude will move you toward your ultimate career goals!  Balance is the key to your interactions, plans, and attitude in creating a successful search and landing that job!

Author: Alesia Benedict

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Milestones for a Successful Job Search

Manage your job search just as you would a well-organized project and you will be able to place yourself in a new position! By meeting milestones you will feel more in control of your job search.

1.  Identify Target Companies

Use traditional and Internet strategies to identify companies of interest. Network with professional and community organizations to gather information about potential openings, new projects, and names of key personnel. The hiring manager may be the gatekeeper, but isn’t the only contact who may be helpful in the organization. Use Internet sites to expand beyond your geographic area and get a sense of the current market for positions of interest to you.

2.  Tailor Your Resume and Cover Letter

Apply the research gathered about companies, key personnel, and positions to revise your resume and cover letter for each position if possible.  Although this may sound daunting, a complete overhaul is not required for each position. Emphasize skills and accomplishments in your resume that align with corporate needs. A slight adjustment may be all that is necessary to present yourself as the perfect candidate. Don’t rely on references to float your resume to the top of the pile. The cover letter and resume must stand on the merits of your experience, skills, and potential for contributions to the company’s bottom-line.

3.  Follow-up

When you follow up, remember to use a number of different strategies. Traditional thank-you letters and e-mails can both be appropriate. When managing group interview situations, you may prefer to use email and a brief phone message to keep your name and credentials fresh in the mind of each interviewer. You will also want to follow up with the initial contact person for your cover letter. That individual may become an important point-person in keeping you apprised of the interview process and keeping your name at the top of the list!

4.  Keep Going

Even after the interview, keep in contact with your network and maintain your job search efforts. Part of the challenge in current job searches is how protracted the process has become in a tight job market. Think of the process as a marathon and pace yourself. Rejuvenate yourself to keep up a positive energy.

5.  Maintain Good Records

Set up an organizational system to record your progress and include all the details! Keeping a comprehensive record of all names, dates of contacts, and outcome will prevent following up with the same person twice when you did not plan to do so. The record can also give you a sense of accomplishment and control as you monitor milestones in your job search project. Good organization leads to good results and helps you present a positive image in all your contacts.

Monitor job search milestones just as you would for a complex project. Exercising those skills keeps you on your game and moves you toward a new position. Use the milestones to maintain your focus and a positive energy to stay on track to a timely delivery in your job search project!

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Search Business News to Find a New Job

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

Investment Banking Analyst, New York, NY
Marketing Intern, Nationwide, USA
Analysis Group Head, Miami, FL
In-House Editor, Los Angeles, CA
Research Analyst, Denver, CO

More recent jobs you might like…

Reading the news with an eye toward your job search can open up unexpected leads and contacts for a new job. The key lies in what you are looking for when you read the news. Learn to mine the news for hints of impending job opportunities and you will be landing a new job before others are even aware of potential openings.

Review the Job Market

To gain a sense of local hiring trends and openings, online job sites are the obvious starting point. However, between the hidden job market and inside employee interest, by the time you hear about openings your chances of getting hired may be quite slim. Information on who is hiring is only part of the picture. Analyze the openings you see across industries as well as specific positions. If you notice there are many openings for a certain type of position, for example project managers, at several different companies, you may be in a stronger position to gain an interview. Thoroughly research the companies with openings and submit your resume with a 3-point plan of potential improvements that address specific concerns for each prospective employer.

Analyze National Trends

To add power to your search, expand your analysis to national papers such as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. What you’re looking for in these papers are trends and news of business expansions.  A simple online search for “business expansion” can also provide a game plan for regional and national opportunities. Research global companies to identify possible local expansions. Is Ford opening a new plant? Is Johnson & Johnson rolling out a new quality assurance program? What tech firms are merging? Any of these changes may foretell increased hiring efforts. Put yourself first in line with your keen investigative skills and unique perspective on the hunt!

Business Section Leases and Mortgages

Investigate shifts in local business locations. Businesses signing new leases or gaining new mortgages could signal impending hiring increases. Create a list and begin a cold-call campaign. Follow up with your resume, including any plans you may develop for increasing the company’s client base, quality improvements, or streamlining production.

Identify Small Businesses

Economists consistently tout the importance of small businesses in hiring, though it’s often difficult to find those opportunities. Small businesses may not advertise openings in traditional ways simply to save on time and expenses. Enlist the local Chamber of Commerce or other directories to create a list of local small businesses. Small business owners appreciate innovation and hard work, qualities exemplified by seeking out their business in your job search. Fewer layers of administration also favor the likelihood that you will speak directly with the business owner making the hiring decisions. No HR screening or gatekeepers in lean small businesses!

Create Opportunities

Even if you are able to identify local job options, businesses may not be able to offer a full-time salary. Build your own opportunities by tethering together several part-time options across small businesses. In addition to increasing your immediate salary, you are also expanding your professional network. Each person you meet has the potential to connect you with another opportunity. Your winning attitude can help open that door!

Thinking outside the box has become a trite term, but the approach remains powerful. By reading the newspaper from a unique perspective, you will be leaping ahead of the competition. Distinguishing yourself in how you manage your job search is a great way to show potential employers the value and creative energy you can bring to their company. Mine the paper for opportunities and you will be in a new job before anyone else even realizes the company is hiring!

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!

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

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

More recent jobs you might like…

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!

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Outrageous Interview Questions

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

Analyst, New York, NY
Real Estate Analyst, Los Angeles, CA
Client Associate, Stamford, CT
Paid Search Specialist, SF Bay Area, CA
Vice President, Denver, CO

More recent jobs you might like…

Once you land a job interview, you may feel the hard work is done. You might even allow your enthusiasm to melt your inhibitions during the meeting. Don’t let your excitement rob you of a chance for the job you’ve been waiting for. Arm yourself with these key interview strategies that include practicing restraint as well as excellent preparation.

Outrageous

Don’t ask about salary.

  • This question shifts the focus to what you want for yourself as opposed to the value you will provide to the company.

Don’t ask about the timeframe for hiring decisions.

  • Every candidate wants to know the answer to this question but asking it can make you seem desperate or anxious for results. Most companies look for candidates able to separate personal from professional demands.

Don’t ask what the company does.

  • Conducting research on corporate initiatives is easily accomplished online. Do your homework to impress hiring managers.

Don’t ask about typical promotion policies.

  • Rushing ahead to promotions may make the interviewer question your judgment and understanding of appropriate business interactions.

Don’t ask about on-the-job training for basic skills.

  • Emphasize the skills you bring, not the deficits about which you are concerned.

Don’t speak ill of former employers.

  • Talking about how much you hated your former workplace or employer is a top interview “don’t!”

Don’t forget basic manners.

  • Offer a handshake to “seal the deal” when you leave. Thank the interviewer for their time and express your pleasure in meeting him or her.

Acceptable

Do debrief after the interview.

  • Take a few minutes to review on your own what went well and what could be improved. If appropriate, include additional clarification about your skills in a follow-up thank-you note.

Do express interest in the company’s initiatives.

  • Show off what you’ve researched about this company prior to the interview by linking your skills and work history to corporate projects.

Do speak positively about prior workplaces.

  • It can be tempting to bring up negative attributes about employers or co-workers, but this is not the time to identify that as your reason for leaving. Focus on more positive reasons for leaving, which might include a need to reach your full potential or to seek out new opportunities for growth.

Do use every phone or email contact as if it were part of the interview.

  • Essentially every contact is part of the screening process. Practice what you want to say so you are prepared for the unexpected call. For some people, it helps to stand while talking to convey a greater presence or sense of personal power.

Do prepare for the interview.

  • Compile a number of job history anecdotes that exemplify your strengths and help you respond readily to interview questions.

Do end the interview on a positive note.

  • Say something like, “Thank you for the opportunity to meet with you today. My talents and experience represent an asset to your organization and I would be a committed member of your team.”

Solid preparation for the interview will help you avoid asking ridiculous questions. Feeling too comfortable in an interview almost never produces good results. Practice how you want to perform in the job interview just as you would for an important sports event and you will find yourself in the winner’s circle!

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!

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Win More Interviews: Show Your Value to Employers!

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

Intern, New York, NY
Marketing & Operations Associate, SF Bay Area, CA
Investment Banking Analyst, Boston, MA
Business Associate, San Francisco, CA
Quantitative Analyst, Toronto, Canada

More recent jobs you might like…

Creating value for employers even before you land the job is a way to set yourself apart from the competition. The value for you is that such a distinctive approach is likely to accelerate your successful hire! An effective strategy for showing your value is to develop a plan that identifies and solves problems for the company, using tact in case the person who created the gaffe is also the hiring manager!

Research the Company

To accelerate your job search using this approach, you must target a specific company of interest. If you attempt to concentrate on a number of companies simultaneously, your efforts will be diluted and less likely to produce the results you desire. Focus your research on challenges the company is currently facing or on the analysis of products and publications. Match the area of analysis with your strengths and skill set so that you can highlight your value for the company.

Identify Gaps or Gaffes for the Company

Your research will create the framework for your plan by identifying gaps or gaffes in the company’s current operations. Gaffes are more likely to be found in branding or publications. If you are a proofreader or marketing specialist, you can distinguish yourself by identifying confusing marketing messages or typos in corporate publications. Gaps can be identified across a number of areas, including inefficient operations, slow sales, or ways that money is being left on the table.

Create an Effective Plan

Here is where your talents shine!  Create a stellar step-by-step plan for improvement using your strong skill set and unique perspective. Explain your rationale and implementation so the employer gets a clear sense of how you created the plan from start to finish. Your initiative is only one of the strengths on display in your plan.

Examples of plans you might offer include:

  • a marketing plan to expand into an entirely new market with an existing product line
  • strategies to increase productivity
  • creating an employee communication curriculum
  • cost-cutting manufacturing processes

Present Your Plan

Gaining access to the right people can be the challenge in this part of your job search. Return to your earlier research and pull out the names of specific department managers or project leaders. Ideally, you will be able to present your plan to the person with authority to implement the changes. Once you have the right names, package your resume and your plan with a brief cover letter and send it off. If using e-mail to present your plan, be certain to create an intriguing subject line to increase the likelihood that your email will be opened. Take the key aspects of your plan and incorporate these into a concise and eye-catching subject line.

Examples of effective subject lines might include:

  • Penetrate New Markets with Existing Product Lines
  • New Strategies to Accelerate Staff Productivity
  • Better Customer Service with Improved Staff Communication
  • Smart Strategies to Reduce Manufacturing Costs

Another important consideration in e-mail communication is whether attachments will be opened. Some recipients may be concerned about attachments containing viruses or company spam filters may block your email. Include previews of salient points in the body of the email to generate interest and spur the manager to open your attachments.

Follow Up

Your contact information will be included in your resume and e-mail signature, but continue your proactive approach by following up. Try following up with a phone call so you can have a real-time conversation with the decision maker. In attempting to get through, be certain to mention the plan you provided and state your intent to clarify any questions and to tailor the plan to the executive’s needs. If unable to get through, request a time to return the call or schedule a call. Your organizational skills will be noticed.

Creating a plan to address employer’s needs before you are even employed sets you miles apart from the competition! Your emphasis on providing value to the employer and making an investment of your time speaks volumes about the value you can provide on the job. Show employers your value to win more interviews and you will soon be getting paid for your skills and expertise!

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!

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Doostang News February 28: Tips for Improving Your Networking – Part 2

Investment Banking Associate, New York, NY
Sr. Marketing Consultant, Atlanta, GA
Pre-MBA Associate, Boston, MA
Change Management PM, Chicago, IL
Associate, SF Bay Area, CA

More recent jobs you might like…

Welcome back to our second installment of tips for improving your networking skills.  Last time we discussed the importance of taking the time to really establish a meaningful connection with someone and of exchanging stories with the person you’re speaking to.  Both of these things help make you more memorable and create a basis for further conversation.  Read on for more tips on how to effectively chat people up at those networking events that we all love, oh, so much!

Create a Transition for Your Next Conversation

Once you’ve won over a contact at a networking event, the next battle becomes following up with them in a meaningful and relevant way.  Perhaps you feel comfortable approaching new people for the first time, but freeze up when it comes to following up with someone.  A good way to make this easier is to establish some basis for follow-up.  It can be as simple as telling them that you will get back to them with some piece of information, or paying close attention to a question they had and following up once you have an answer for them.  Or it may be as bold as scheduling a lunch meeting and actually following through with it.  Whatever it is that you decide to do, try your best to keep the conversation open when you say goodbye.

Become a Resource

It’s easy to list the ways in which others might be able to help us, and to attend networking events for the sole purpose of meeting such people.  But also try to consider how you could help others and make yourself available.  People seem most eager to follow up with someone when that other person is the gatekeeper to their next dream job or perfect connection.  Yet if you leave an event and find that there is some way in which you can aid someone you just met, try to be just as enthusiastic about getting in contact with that person.  If you do this, you will build a much richer network of contacts around yourself – ones that will be more likely to go out on a limb for you.

Embrace Social Media

As a follow-up to the in-person meeting, add your new contacts to your online social network.  The advantage of professional networking sites is that they grant your contacts access to all your information, including your resume if you choose to display it.  No matter how riveting of a conversation you had with another person, they’re not always going to remember all the details, so it’s helpful to provide that information afterward as well, and in a format that they can revisit.

Networking isn’t easy, but with these tips we hope it will be easier.  Just remember that in addition to everything, it’s important to be professional, friendly, and attentive – and hopefully this will render you unforgettable!

Until next time,

The Doostang Team

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Doostang News February 21: Tips for Improving Your Networking – Part 1

Equity Trader, San Francisco, CA
Business Development Intern, Hicksville, NY
Acquisitions Associate, Chicago, IL
Intern, Boston, MA
Investment Associate, Denver, CO

More recent jobs you might like…

There really is an art to networking, and while you certainly get better at it over time, there are also a few tricks you can employ to improve your results.   While you probably won’t get very far by standing in the corner at a networking event, you’ll also suffer if you go over-the-top and try to do too much.  Here are some pointers to keep in mind when trying to establish meaningful connections:

Slow Down

If your main goal is to show up to an event and collect as many business cards as possible, you’re not going to get very far in the long run.  The reason for this is that in order to achieve your goal, you will have to move about the room very quickly, without giving yourself a chance to make any first impressions on anyone.  You will easily be forgotten, and although you will have their contact information, you won’t have a real basis to follow up with all those people whose business cards you collected.  Additionally, without much one-on-one time with each person, you will likely forget the individuals you are there to meet as well, and therefore won’t get much out of the event.

Focus on Quality

Really try to relate to the person you are talking to, and make sure that you speak and listen.  Don’t become distracted by other people in the room or think about the next person you are going to approach.  Focus your attention on the person standing in front of you and try to make a real connection with them.  That way, when you follow up, they will remember who you are and will be more open to continuing the conversation you started at the event.

Tell a Story

A good way to stick in people’s mind is to tell them your story.  Think of things you can tell them that are relevant, but interesting as well.  What makes you unique as a business professional and as a human being?  How did you get to where you are, and what makes you tick?  And make sure to listen to their stories as well.  People love the chance to share something about themselves, and having this exchange will help establish rapport between the two of you.  It will also give you something to reference and talk about later on when you get in contact again.

There are right ways and wrong ways to network. So even if professional socializing makes you feel as though you are out of your element, just try to stick to the proper etiquette and you’ll likely come out successful in the end.

Goodbye for now, and stay tuned for our next installment on networking tips!

The Doostang Team

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Fire Up your Job Search by Broadcasting Strengths!

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

Operations Analyst, New York, NY
Sales and Trading Associate, SF Bay Area, CA
Financial Analyst, Los Angeles, CA
IT Manager, Boston, MA
Analyst – Private Equity Firm, Philadelphia, PA

More recent jobs you might like…

Think in Terms of Strengths

Being unemployed, under-employed, or under-appreciated in your current job can erode confidence.  In order to “fire up” your job search, you may need to re-assess the strengths you are emphasizing.  Follow these simple strategies to shift to a position of strengths.

1)    Brainstorm about what you love to do.  This first list should be exhaustive, including strengths from work and personal areas of your life.

2)    List specific skills developed throughout your work history.

3)    What results did you achieve from strengths listed in the first 2 steps? Review positive comments, good performance evaluations, or actual awards to jog your memory.

4)    Think of job requirements for positions in which you are currently interested, and combine the top 2 or 3 items from each of the areas above that you want to emphasize. Use this information to create an “elevator” speech for yourself – a brief, 30-second to 1-minute summary to describe your assets, not a laundry list, but a mini-story. Consider the director pitching his new movie project to a potential producer, or the inventor describing her idea to a potential investor. This becomes your “pitch” – a brief overview of strengths that set you apart from the crowd by outlining what you can do for the potential employer.

Write it Down

Why write it down?  It helps you own the statement.  Not only does seeing the statement in writing help you feel more confident, but it also helps you begin to believe it more strongly yourself.  However, if you notice what you have written down actually rings false or makes you question strengths you have identified, then something about what you have written “doesn’t fit”.  Stretching yourself to fit a particular job opening can be positive, but stretching the truth is never wise. If you can’t believe it yourself, the hiring manager will struggle, too.  Compare your “pitch” with what you created for the first 3 steps above.  Pay attention to how you feel in reviewing the lists and you will be able to fine-tune your pitch into an authentic statement of your strengths.

Practice

Making a brief statement of your strengths isn’t easy.  Practicing the statement will make you feel more comfortable and help you prepare to use it whenever the opportunity arises.

1)    Use the old “in front of the mirror” technique to help you own your new view of yourself, just like you did in speech class or for that first presentation at the office.

2)    Ask family and friends to serve as an audience – request honest feedback about your delivery – how believable are you?  If you don’t believe what you’re saying, it will show. They may notice it even if you didn’t.

3)    Use your network to practice.  Perhaps a small group of job seekers – whom you trust – can try out elevator pitches on each other and incorporate comments to improve the approach.

Networking Contact Follow-up

Remember to follow up after any type of networking contact, whether casual or formal. Incorporate your “pitch” into the follow-up correspondence.  You can send a “thank-you”, “nice-to-see-you”, or “I believe we have a mutual acquaintance” note – all of which can include a comment about your strengths.

Examples of situations where you might send a follow-up note include:

1)    Casual contact (“nice to see you”)

2)    Initial Meeting (“nice to meet you”)

3)    Job Fair Follow-up (“I enjoyed learning about your company and how closely my experience aligns with your needs.”)

4)    Introduction from a friend (“I believe we have a mutual acquaintance, Bob Smith, who suggested I contact you as my strengths could benefit your organization.”)

5)    Thank you (for any suggestion of an opportunity). Even though thank you letters may seem old-fashioned, they can be effective for that very reason – they set you apart from the crowd!

You can be sure the competition isn’t shy about broadcasting strengths and achievements, and their boldness could walk them right into your dream job! You have golden embers smoldering in your work history that, if stoked, will “fire up” your job search. Write down those strengths, practice your “pitch”, then confidently broadcast it!


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!

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

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

More recent jobs you might like…

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!

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail