Whether you are employed or between jobs, it is important to thoroughly plan and execute your job search to create your desired success. A lot of people do not know where to begin in the job search process. With so much information at our fingertips, it can be overwhelming.
If you have a good plan of attack and are armed with the best information from people who are plugged into the job market constantly (i.e. recruiters) before you begin searching, you can save time, frustration and confusion. Tackle your resume, career interests and search process first before you begin your job search.
Make sure you have a good resume to convey your “job self” to potential employers. While there is no one right way to create a resume, a few steps will help you look your best on paper.
At the top of your resume, include your contact information, with your name in bold and between 12- and 14-point font so that it pops on the page. Include your email address (make sure it is professional in nature!), your cell phone and home phone, and your address (at least put your city and state).
A traditional resume includes a brief summary at the top , an education section and a professional work history. Most employers prefer professional work history to be in bullet points, with your job duties clearly defined. Pull a job description for your position or a similar one to see how to paraphrase your duties. Add a software section and list programs you know(i.e. MS Office), as this is an important skill set to employers.
Next, ask yourself some basic job search questions. Are you interested in staying on the same career path? What is your ultimate career goal? What career path do you need to take to reach that goal? What is the minimum salary you would consider? What companies or industries are you targeting? At what locations would you consider working?
Answer these questions in advance to narrow down your career needs – this will make searching an easier process. These questions will come up in interviews with future employers and recruiters. Having them answered shows thorough preparation and seriousness for your search.
When beginning the search, pick a few of the main job boards to post your resume. . If there are specific job boards for your industry/career, post a resume there. Incorporate social media in your search. LinkedIn is a great resource to research companies and their employees, and familiarize yourself with future interviewers’ backgrounds. If you use social media, make your business profiles visible and appropriate – include a professional picture!
Set your personal social media pages to private and remove potentially incriminating information – employers check these sites frequently. Use your personal network and networking groups to promote that you are in the job market – get business cards, and follow up with handwritten “nice to meet you” notes when appropriate!
Save your online application as your last step. Network, reach out to recruiters and try to get the inside information to get in front of the actual hiring manager . While most job responses are funneled into a pool for HR to review, the HR department is often not the actual hiring manager. Your goal is to meet the hiring manager ahead of other applicants.
If you are working with a recruiter and you see a posting with one of their clients, it is much easier for the recruiter to get you in front of the hiring manager, ensuring a better chance for you to get an interview. Apply online only if you have no results after doing some initial due diligence.
Your job search process deserves adequate time and attention – especially at the beginning! Try not to let the process get you frustrated – that can show up on your personality during interviews and make you undesirable to employers. There are a lot of candidates in the job market, so the process does take time.
If you plan properly, you will be prepared for your job search and should have greater success over a shorter period of time.