In line with other new year’s resolutions and goals, people often are motivated to take action on their careers in January. Perhaps you ended last year on a low note at your current job, or you feel restless because the verve in your day-to-day has stalled. Maybe even, you find yourself out of a job because of budget cuts or other reasons. Whatever the case, the new year often spurs careerists to jumpstart their search. The challenge, however, is where to start.
The nuts and bolts of job search strategy in some instances have stayed the same for many years. For example, careerists still need …
- to have a great resume.
- to have a solid, focused resume cover or introduction letter.
- to know people who know people.
In other instances, job search strategies have metamorphosed. For example, you must …
1. Have more than a resume chronology. Your resume must tell a story.
This can’t be a story that only tells the who, what, where, when, why and how. It also must be focused in on the reader’s needs very specifically.
For example, if you desire to be an accounting manager and your story winds down a path that never mentions any experience managing people or processes, or never notes specific accounting expertise or progression, then the story is under-developed and will not resonate.
Instead, you must very quickly communicate that not only have you managed individuals or teams (even if you weren’t officially in a management capacity), but that you also were successful applying accounting principles and processes through your team, with measurable results.
2. Provide cover letter snippets and brief intros that introduce your resume in addition to a fuller-bodied cover page.
Consider the variety of media with which resumes are shared these days: you may be attaching your resume to a text, email, LinkedIn or even through Facebook, among other venues. In many instances, message boxes are limited by number of characters, so you want to have brief content that hooks the reader to read further.
This brevity is particularly crucial when contacting recruiters.
“When reaching out to a recruiter, it’s very important to be concise and quickly make your agenda known,” advises Shelly B. Goldman, Executive Recruiter and Founder, Goldman Group Advantage.
“It starts with using the ‘subject matter line area’ of your approach email or InMail on LinkedIn to succinctly make your agenda clear,” continues Goldman. “From there … continue to keep it short. Address who you are, what you do and what you’re looking for. If you do all the above, you have a better chance of making a favorable impression on the recruiter.”
[Related: What’s Your Unique Value Proposition?]
3. Leverage your network, on- and offline.
According to TMobile’s Executive Sourcer and recruiter, Rob Dromgoole, “Apply and pray is not a search strategy. Because referrals are the most common source of hire at many companies, the key is to become a referred candidate. How do you become referred? Network.”
You can capitalize on Dromgoole’s advice not only through in-person networking but also by tapping into a variety of social networks. Strategically and naturally engage to build warm relationships that provide those with whom you interact a sense of your personality and professionalism.
Be visible online. A robust online presence is becoming increasingly important for many careerists across a variety of roles and industries. Once limited to graphic artist or entertainment type resumes, images, photos, uploads of reports or articles, presentations, videos, etc. create a more colorful story beyond your bottom-line narrative, regardless of your sector.
According to Job Search and Career Strategist Hannah Morgan, CareerSherpa.net, “From this point forward, it is imperative that job seekers and careerists enhance their online visibility. Build a robust [online] profile that looks and feels like an online portfolio – rich with images, photos and samples of work. But don’t stop there,” Morgan continues.
“Choose one other social network to highlight a blend of your personal and professional interests or better yet, buy a website domain which includes your name and create on online portfolio to ensure you own digital terrain. Social networks will come and go, but owning a website ensures you will always be in control of your online visibility.”
Bear in mind that these jobs search tools and strategies only remain useful if they are well maintained, regularly sharpened and strategically leveraged.
If you feel your career is stagnating and your job search process outdated, the new year offers an opportunity to start anew. The availability of information at careerists’ fingertips enables you to move faster, go further and aim your arrow with more accuracy. Focus and stay the course!