Use Smart Networking to Speed Up Your Job Search

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

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A critical tactic in your job search toolbox is networking, but it may not feel as though your efforts are getting the results you want. Evaluate your approaches and make sure you are using your time wisely to get results more quickly.

Choose business networks.

Effective networking does not focus solely on talking with friends and family. Of course, you will discuss your job search with your informal network, but this is not the network that is likely to land your next job. Think in terms of business contacts, professional and community organizations, and even former professors or workshop leaders. You need to focus on people who are active in the business community in order to effectively use your network.

Maintain constant contact.

This point can feel like a balancing act. While you don’t want to be a pest, you need to maintain high visibility with your business network in order to be considered as a viable candidate for job openings.  Set your own goal for the number of contacts you will pursue. A goal of 3 to 5 weekly contacts is reasonable when you are conducting a full-time job search. Carry business cards with you for casual encounters and consider a more complete bio, resume, or project sheet for scheduled meetings. Remember to have your own business cards made so that you are not using anything related to current or former employers.  You don’t want to imply that you are looking for a job using company resources! Follow the example below to create your personal business card.

Ben or Betty Job Seeker
Human Resources Manager
(phone number)
(email)
(LinkedIn profile or website)

Diversify your efforts.

Don’t rely solely on social media or local groups. You need to use all resources available to you. Consider professional career strategists, local business organizations, and online sources. For social media sites such as Facebook, present an appropriate image. Remove any questionable photos or postings, such as complaints about your former boss or party pictures. Consider using LinkedIn to expand your network. Research any professional organizations that may also have job boards. It could be worth the membership to expand your professional network and use any online resources they may have for job seekers. Finally, don’t forget local sources, such as the Chamber of Commerce or civic groups composed of business leaders (for example, the Kiwanis).

Target effectively.

Are you networking with people who are making hiring decisions? This goes beyond shifting your focus from informal networks of friends and family to a business network.  Think about using your efforts effectively. You will get more results from some of the business leaders who are involved in local civic groups than networking with those contacts without hiring authority. That doesn’t mean you want to ignore those who answer the phones within an organization. You need to enlist them on your support team as well. Branch out to use the online resources mentioned earlier. If you are already on LinkedIn, review others with similar interests even if they are located across the country. Many professions are relatively small and one professional with hiring authority in New York may know someone hiring in your region.

Cultivate your network.

Cultivating a network takes time. Think of your professional network as a garden. Plant seeds with initial contacts. Weed out contacts that aren’t working. Fertilize those contacts that have greater potential in your targeted search. Constantly tend the network. You can’t expect results if you only reach out periodically or when you need some help. Think of ways to maintain contact with your network on a regular basis. Perhaps you have updated your skills and want to let people know. Send out copies of interesting articles you have discovered. These activities keep your name present in the minds of network contacts.

Smart networking will help you use your time more efficiently and achieve results more quickly. With a targeted network, you are not the only one working to find you a job. You have multiplied your efforts many-fold with an active network. Evaluate your approach and do some smart networking to land your next 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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Steal the Spotlight with the Right Resume Format

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

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In this tough economy, employers can expect to weed through literally hundreds of submissions for a single job posting. That’s why job seekers cannot expect a hiring manager to read every word of each resume he or she receives. There simply are not enough hours in the day to make that possible, since whittling down an applicant pool is a time-consuming task.

If an employer is only able to spend 30 seconds on your resume, you need to make sure the most important information is obvious. Otherwise, your resume will likely wind up in the rejection pile along with candidates who may not be as qualified as you are.

It’s tempting to believe that attracting an employer’s attention can be achieved by opting for the most flashy resume possible. This often backfires, as job seekers tend to go overboard with visual bells and whistles when creating their own resumes. Utilizing too many options every word processing program offers for fonts, colors, and graphic elements can create more of a distraction than a solid presentation of your skills.

We already know that the audience being targeted is comprised of harried hiring managers reading a huge pile of resumes. Without realizing it, well-meaning job seekers who create multi-colored, crammed “works of art” are only hurting the eyes of important people who are able to give them a job!

The best format choice is simple, polished, professional – and most importantly, easy to read. If your resume contains any of the five features below, it’s time to consider a redesign:

1. Lack of White Space

Are your margins pushed to the absolute max? Are you using 8-point font? A quest to squeeze in as much content as possible comes at a steep price. While it may look fine to you, most readers will find they need to keep a magnifying glass handy in order to read small print with ease. If your resume is too dense with text, you can bet the reader is just not going to make the extra effort to read through it.

It is better to be more concise in your wording — or even sacrifice some content altogether. That way, you can hook an employer into reading some of what you did rather than overwhelming him or her with too much information that will not get read at all. Besides, you will have ample opportunities to expand upon your vast experience during an interview.

2. Colors

While some professions call for a more artistic flair on a resume, most do not. There’s a big difference between a graphic designer and a corporate banker trying to pull off using a red page border. Rather than risk having your resume look amateurish with a rainbow motif, it’s advisable to stick with basic black or gray tones.

3. Photos, Graphics & Logos

A resume is not the appropriate place for a photo, graphic, or logo for a variety of reasons. Strictly speaking about formatting, it’s a bad idea. Such items will increase the file size of your resume, make it more likely to get snagged by a spam filter, and create an inconvenient and time-consuming downloading process.

4. Too Many Bullets

Bullets are a great formatting device to create emphasis, but some job seekers like bullets so much they bullet practically everything. If you bullet everything, the emphasis is lost because the text drowns in a sea of bullets. For example, if you have a job description formatted as a long list of bullets, it will be hard for the reader to identify what’s important. Bullets should be used to draw attention to your achievements, but not to describe basic job duties. That way, if an employer does nothing more than skim your resume, he’ll notice the most impressive accomplishments first.

5. Fancy Fonts

The only characteristic that makes a font best for a resume is that it is easy to read. Sticking to one typeface will also spare the reader from eye strain.

Less is often more where resumes are concerned. Let your qualifications shine by allowing them to be your resume’s centerpiece, and you will set yourself apart from your competition.

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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