In this bad economy, there are at least four people competing for the job that you want! Some of these jobs still haven’t been filled because job seekers don’t have the right skills to match certain positions. The Wall Street Journal reports that 52% of companies are having difficulty filling these positions.
With such a competitive market, you cannot afford to do what everyone else does.
Here are seven ways to customize your job search so that it speaks to your specific dream employer at every stage of your search:
- Research Your Dream Company
Everyone wants to be wanted, and this is no different for your dream employer. The most genuine way to prove interest in something is to know a lot about it. If your dream company is Pfizer, you will know the research in the pipeline, recent innovations, their specific challenges, and their organization. Exhaustive research can be your game changer for prospective employers.
- Highlight & Customize Your Strengths
Now that you know so much about your dream company from your above research, you can select the specific things about you that are most relevant. You can highlight the keywords that will resonate. You can talk about the specific projects that match what you will likely be doing on their team.
- Show and Tell
Let’s say you are trying to get a job at a major media company. Consider sending a resume, cover letter and portfolio in the style of one of the magazines this company published. Instead of telling the prospective employer that you understood his company and had great editorial skills, you demonstrated your edit skills outright to recreate your own magazine. This will get you noticed and prove that your style and skills are appropriate for the job.
- Approach The Right People
If you want to get through to your dream company, you don’t stop at the recruiter. You try for the hiring manager and anyone else who might have influence on this hiring decision – board members, investors, related functional areas. You identify more than one person, and you reach out to all of them.
- Build Your Online Presence
Consider creating your own custom blog using WordPress. Make sure you use your full name, a positioning statement that captures your expertise and a summary of your work experience. Create social profiles using the same positioning as your website and cross-link your properties. By writing blog posts and updating your social status routinely, recruiters will find you when they are looking to hire for a position.
- Get Social
Are you following your dream company on social media? Are you following specific people from your dream company – the CEO, the leaders of your target functional area? Have they published books, and did you read them? Are you commenting on their blogs? Are you sharing their content? There are many opportunities to connect via social media which provide more proof of your genuine interest, help your research, demonstrate your strengths, and give you another method of communicating.
- Persistence … Persistence
It is impractical to customize your approach for every prospective employer. It should be reserved only for a select group. However, for that select group of dream employers, you must be persistent. You must be willing to try again and again. Business and market conditions change, so hiring conditions change, and what didn’t succeed before may succeed later. You must always be willing to go the extra step for your dream employers.
There are a number of important steps to take after you go on any interview:
- Send a thank you note after the interview to each person with whom you spoke, thanking them for their time and the information they provided to you. If possible, mention something of interest to you that was said during the interview. This is an opportunity to keep the relationship going and keep you in the mind of the interviewer. You can send either a hand-written note or email. In today’s world, however, a hand-written note will stand out.
- Once the interview is over, debrief and evaluate how well you think you did. You can write this out, talk to a friend or discuss with a job coach. By reviewing how you did, you will be aware of what improvements to make for the next time. Here are some areas to review:
- What did you do well during the interview?
- Where do you need to make improvements for the next interview?
- What did you learn about the interviewing process to do differently next time?
- Follow up at some point with the interviewers either through email or a phone call. Before leaving the interview it is important that you discuss with the interviewer when it would be appropriate to reconnect, that is, if you do not hear from them first. And, even if they do not offer you the position, try to get feedback from the interviewers. This will be helpful for the next set of interviews.
- Stay confident during the interview and for the entire job search process. Interviewing is a skill and like any other skill needs lots of practice to do well. Remember each time you are asked to participate in an interview, it is an opportunity for you to practice your interviewing skills. The more interviews you have the more practice you can get.
- Stay positive and eventually you will succeed.
How to Stand Out From the Crowd and Surpass the Competition
With numerous cut-backs, lay-offs and shut downs, the labor pool is growing and competition is increasing for openings at all levels. Hundreds may apply for a single job. So, how can you ‘stand out from the crowd’.
Make use of the tools available to you today
There are so many great online sites for doing job search research. Aside from job boards that post jobs, identify companies you want to apply to. Search out employees who work for these companies and make every effort to establish a connection with an employee who works for this company. LinkedIn is a great tool for this.
Before you are interviewed
Go to the company website. Read about their products, services, goals, and challenges. Get to know the company and their officers. You want to appear more knowledgeable about the company than your competition.
Build your Internet presence
Start to become known in your field. How do you do this? Get your name out there in a good way. One way is to build out your LinkedIn profile OR Join associations and organizations in your industry and start to ask questions on their elists. OR, write a blog pertinent to your area of expertise. These are all ways to market and build your personal brand.
What Employers Are Looking For in a Resume
How often have I heard this from clients: A company I am interested in wants a resume and I do not now where to begin. I have an old resume, but I know it is not good.
So, how do you move forward?
Ask yourself these questions:
- Do I know what to include in a resume?
- How will I brand myself to meet potential employer expectations?
- What sets me apart from all the others who are applying for this position?
- What have been my major accomplishments?
Answers to these question will help you in resume development and will send a clear message to a potential employer. This kind of information must be included in your resume to aid you in getting noticed by a potential employer.
There are a number of important steps to take after you go on any interview …
Send a thank you note after the interview to each person with whom you spoke, thanking them for their time and the information they provided to you. If possible, mention something of interest to you that was said during the interview. This is an opportunity to keep the relationship going and keep you in the mind of the interviewer. You can send either a handwritten note or email. In today’s world, however, a handwritten note will stand out.
Time to evaluate
Once the interview is over, debrief and evaluate how well you think you did. You can write this out, talk to a friend or discuss with a job coach. By reviewing how you did, you will be aware of what improvements to make for the next time. Here are some areas to review:
- What was your greatest challenge as you participated in the interviewing process?
- What did you do well during the interview?
- Where do you need to make improvements for the next interview?
Follow up at some point with the interviewers either through email or a phone call. Before leaving the interview it is important that you discuss with the interviewer when it would be appropriate to reconnect, that is, if you do not hear from them first. And, even if they do not offer you the position, try to get feedback from the interviewers. This will be helpful for the next set of interviews.
Interviewing is a skill
Stay confident during the interview and for the entire job search process. Like any other skill, interviewing needs lots of practice to do well. Remember each time you are asked to participate in an interview, it is an opportunity for you to practice your interviewing skills. The more interviews you have the more practice you can get. Stay positive and eventually you will succeed.
Do you know how to stay ahead of the competition?
Over and over I hear job seekers tell me how difficult it is in this economy to get an interview with a prospective employer. The competition is fierce. The resume he or she is using is not working. Usually these comments are followed by: “and that is why I am coming to you. I know I have a good work history and expertise so it must be my resume.”
Guess what, these people are right!
The resume gets you the interview and is the starting point for getting employed. To be competitive you must have a resume that grabs the eye of the hiring manager or HR department. Many think they can create their own résumé. Much like the patient who is going to self-medicate for a critical illness these people typically wind up with inadequate results.
Can you afford a do-it-yourself resume?
The rule of thumb used to be that for every $10,000 in salary you should figure 1 month of job searching. So, if you are seeking a salary of $80,000 for example, the job search would take on average 8 months. Times are not that good today and that rule of thumb no longer applies. It takes much longer to find a job because of the economy.
What can you do to increase your odds and expedite your job search?
Here’s the key: utilize every possible advantage to speed up your job hunt. A professionally developed targeted resume with the right key words, format, presentation, personal branding statement and strategy could expedite your job search. If you find employment more quickly and let’s say shorten your job searching by one month, at $80,000 per year you will have an additional $6600 in your pocket!
What is your strategy for staying ahead of the competition?
Your resume is the first impression a potential boss has of you. If you are an employer looking at a pile of resumes, some done professionally, some not … who do you think would have the edge for getting the job interview?
Remember it is not necessarily about who is the best candidate, it is about who presents himself or herself the best. My recommendation is that you put aside your ego, invest in your future and hire the best resume writer you can.
Does a professional resume really make a difference?
In today’s competitive market place is it worth the money to have someone with resume writing experience develop your resume? As a job seeker you may ponder this approach as you begin your job search, especially when your current resume is ineffective in getting you that coveted interview.
Here are some things to consider …
If you are among the ranks of today’s job hunters: 1) how do you make the right impression and catch the eye of a hiring manager who looks at your resume for 10 to 25 seconds and 2) what do you put in your resume that makes a compelling case for you to be chosen for the ‘interview’?
Realize that hiring managers get to know you in a quick glance and your resume better be impressive. Even if you are seeking a low-end position, know that the chances of getting noticed in a pile of mundane resumes filled with never-ending bullet points and outdated formatting is unlikely.
Become competitive and gain an edge
For those of you who are not writers and/or have a hard time looking at your work history in the same way a hiring manager would, consider hiring a professional resume writer, one who knows how to entice the reader, makes you shine and positions you for the job/career you are seeking. With such an overwhelming response to job postings and openings, a professionally written resume can give you an edge over all the others who apply.
If you are one of those who has not prepared for this economic slump and massive job layoff, realize that it is never too late to take action. Perhaps, your company is planning to downsize, or has already taken steps and you are one of the casualties. What should you do now? How do you maintain balance and momentum?
Here are a few things to think about:
- Know your objectives and what you are willing to change.
Are you willing to move to another area for a job? Do you know what areas in the country are recession proof? Are you willing to or even wanting to change your industry? Recession-proof and growth industries include: oil and gas, pet supplies/stores, logistics/technical/environmental consulting, movie/video production, urban transit and support for transportation services, some government functions, etc. Most importantly, know what you want!
- Develop a plan and follow it.
List out those companies you might wish to work for, look on the Internet or in the classifieds, and do the research. There are companies and industries that are hiring today, especially those in the health and education fields. Talk with recruiters, employment/temp agencies and your network of contacts to gather information. Stay focused and plan ahead for the upcoming day.
- Get your career documents in order.
Make sure your resume is up-to-date and well-written. There are oodles of competitors in the job market. Your career documents have to be easy to read and clear with the right key words. Make sure you include a ‘branding statement’ that makes you stand out from the crowd of job seekers. Develop a strong cover letter. It gives you another way to ‘sell your skills and value’ to a prospective employer.
- Keep moving and maintain a peak-performing state of mind.
By this I mean, get out of the house, if you are unemployed. Volunteer and give back. Join organizations to stay active and meet others. Make sure to have a routine that includes exercise.
Today’s job search is more competitive than it’s ever been. The smart candidate knows that it takes energy, thought and focus to move ahead. What are you waiting for?
There are many steps involved in finding a job. Making sure that all of these steps are addressed is critical in landing a position, especially in today’s very competitive marketplace. If any of the steps are ignored or mismanaged, then the possibility of finding a suitable position for your skills and salary range may, in fact, be at risk.
Here are elements of the job search that need to be part of your action plan for finding the right job:
Career Portfolio: At minimum include your resume and cover letter. Senior manager levels, might add a bio, project list, addendum, and executive summary to their portfolio of career documents.
Make sure that your resume is targeted to the type of position for which you are applying. Include the right key words, update all information and check for spelling accuracy. Let someone who knows you well proofread your resume and provide you with feedback on the flow, grammar, typos, etc.
As for cover letters, gear each cover letter to the job for which you are seeking and the company to which you are sending it. In another words, be specific in how you can best provide value for the company to which you are applying.
Online and Face-to Face Networking: Include networking as part of your strategy. Make sure that you have a profile and presence on LinkedIn which is a site used by many hiring managers and recruiters to post positions and to obtain information on candidates.
For face-to-face networking, get out of the house … meet others for coffee, lunch or just to meet. Call those you know and send emails to keep in touch. It is not only about what you know and who you know, but also about who knows you. Stay in touch with everyone. You never know who can pass your name along.
References: Be sure to have your references lined up ahead of time. Talk to these people. They are part of your support team and can be a good sounding board as well as a good reference. Never ask them for a job, but you can ask for advice, especially if they are still part of the current workforce.
Get A Mentor: Transitioning to a new job can become overwhelming, frustrating and stressful. Find a mentor or coach (if you have the funds) to provide guidance and support during the job search process, someone who will listen to you vent and keep you moving in a positive direction.
Follow Up: After an interview send a ‘thank you’ note. It is courteous to do so, and it provides another way to stay in contact with the hiring manager.
Put Together A Strategy and Action Plan: This is the most overlooked step of all. Outline what companies you wish to target, put together daily activities to complete, research the Internet not only for careers, but also for general information about the industry and positions you are interested in, and current business trends. Hone your interviewing skills and have down pat your elevator speech. You know the one where the interviewer says: Tell me about yourself. Maybe part of your action plan could be to work for a temp agency, work part time or volunteer. Anything to get your name out there! Most of all stay flexible…about the job, title, salary and geographic location.
There is no one way to find a job, but there are many steps you can take that will keep you positive and going forward in a very competitive environment.