7 Ways to Take Control of Your Job Search
In this day and age of technology, it should be relatively easy to find a job, right? Well, that’s not always the case. Technology can help make the search process more user friendly, but it doesn’t guarantee quick results, or replace the good old fashioned sweat equity that a job seeker needs to put forth. This can be both a daunting and emotional task for job seekers, especially if they are adjusting to a newly unemployed status. Here are 7 ways to take control of your job search:
Update your resume:
This step cannot be ignored. Maybe your resume hasn’t been updated due to the fact that you have been happily employed for the last 5 years – BUT think of all of the valuable skills and work experience you have derived from those 5 years that is, unfortunately, not displayed on your resume. Or maybe you have gone back to school to further update your skills – be sure to show that experience/training on your resume. Once you revise your resume, ask a trusted friend or colleague to review it for quality check.
Bonus tip: Make sure your contact info is both correct and complete. They can’t contact you if they can’t find you!
Post your updated resume to job boards:
You’ve got this new, fancy, updated resume. Now what to do with it? Post it to the job boards! Indeed, Monster, CareerBuilder, Dice – get it out there for employers and recruiters to see. When I was professionally recruiting, I was just as likely to find a quality candidate for an opening by sourcing the resume myself on the job boards, as I was by relying on the (many) applications received from the job posting.
Join LinkedIn (or become more active on LinkedIn, if you’ve already joined):
Create a free profile, connect with current/former colleagues in your field, share information that can benefit your network, join relevant user groups – there are many, many things that you can do on LinkedIn. If you have a unique perspective or professional experience you can share, publish it!
Bonus Tip: LinkedIn is only for professional use. It is not Facebook, so please limit what you share to be professional-friendly.
Start searching posted jobs:
Find a few variations of the skills/job titles you are seeking and start searching. If you are looking for an entry level IT job, maybe you would try searching on “Help Desk” or “Field Tech” or “IT Support” or “A+ certification” versus only searching for the words “Entry Level IT”.
Bonus Tip: Set up a saved search through Indeed, to email you similar jobs as they are posted. But don’t rely solely on the saved search function. Do manual searches/ legwork each day as well.
Apply to the jobs that interest you (and are a good fit):
When you find a position that fits your skills, craft a well-thought-out cover letter to submit with your updated resume. Make sure to personalize and customize your cover letter for each new position you apply to. Only applying to jobs that are listed on the job boards can sometimes become a frustrating endeavor – there is a lot of competition for these jobs, as many people are applying to them. However, if you know you want to work for XYZ Company as an IT Field tech, and they don’t happen to have an opening currently posted, it might be worth sending an unsolicited resume/application and then following up. Oftentimes a great looking resume can prompt an interview, even if there isn’t a current opening.
Bonus Tip: Keep a log of where you have applied and try to apply/connect with at least 3-5 new opportunities each week that are a good fit for the skills you presently have.
The most important and, for some, the most difficult part of job searching is the element of networking involved. For the novice, networking is making connections with like-minded people, not just with those who can help you, but also with those you can personally help. Knowing someone at the company you are interested in applying to can help you to secure an interview (if they recommend you for the role). However, this is a double-edged sword. Don’t ask a connection for a recommendation for a position you don’t feel you are a good fit for, and don’t ever misuse your referral by embarrassing them or putting them in a difficult position. LinkedIn is a great way to get started with networking if you are new to this concept, but even utilizing your friends, family, and acquaintances to get the word out that you are seeking employment in a specific field can be incredibly useful as well. Give as freely to your network as you would hope to receive. Networking is not just about what you are able to get out of it; it is more about what you are able to contribute.
Bonus Tip: Every hiring manager loves an employee referral, it makes you a “known quantity” versus a complete unknown and can be a great foot in the door.
Professionally follow up, when it is appropriate. Call the company to ask for the status of your application, email your interviewer and politely reiterate your interest. Try to stay “top of mind” without stressing out (or annoying) your potential employer.
Above all else, stay proactive, persistent, and positive. Job seeking is not an easy task and for those who are successful in finding a great new position quickly, it is likely that they stayed determined and didn’t let the fear of rejection stop them from finding a great new opportunity.
What are some ways that you have approached the job search? I’d love to hear what worked for you (and what didn’t).