While there are signs that the job market may be improving in the U.S., it is still very competitive with many highly qualified candidates vying for the same few open positions. Still, even with the increased competition there are ways that the motivated job seeker can stand out from the masses and ensure that she wins the attention of recruiters, get calls for job interviews, and ultimately lands in positions that are personally, professionally, and financially rewarding. How? Here are seven tips to help you to conduct a successful job search and put yourself on the path to career success.
Tip #1: Clearly specify who you are and what you’ve got to offer. Even if it’s a little uncomfortable, remember that you are marketing yourself. Your job as a job hunter is to "sell" yourself as the ideal candidate for a job opening. What is your unique value proposition? What are the benefits you bring to the table of the employer? You need to be very clear about this and be able to speak atriculately and comfortably when somebody asks you "what do you do" or "tell me more about you."
Tip #2: Be single-minded about your goal and go after it. Without clear goals your job search can be neither efficient or effective. If you’re not certain about your career goals, spend time now to think about this and define them before you launch your search. Once you know what it is you want to achieve you can determine what you can bring to the table in relation to that goal and this will give you confidence that simply won’t be matched by most of your competitors.
Tip #3: Yes, baseline qualifications for a position are important. But most of your competitors will have those as well. To stand out you need to understand and promote what makes you different and unique from your peers. What is it that you do especially well? What do your co-workers or bosses repeatedly rely on you for? What are your major achievements over the years? Is there a common thread that runs through them? The key here is to differentiate yourself.
Tip #4: Diversify your job search and use multiple job search techniques. Answering advertisements is not enough by itself, neither is working with headhunters exclusively, or going through a process of researching and targeting specific companies. Combining all these approaches with Internet job searches, networking, and other techniques will help you achieve success far more quickly.
Tip #5: Your first impression must be your best one. Like it or not, your resume is that first introduction and you must use it to best effect. Your resume must be a very highly focused marketing document that is written strategically to sell you as the best solution to an employers’ needs. You can not cut corners with your resume. To do so could cost you months and months of extra time in the job market, lost income, and missed opportunities. It is well worth the investment to work with a professional resume writer to ensure your resume is effective and competitive.
Tip #6: Network as much as you can. Talk to everyone and nurture relationships. Make sure that everyone you know is aware that you are job searching. Never ask people in your network for jobs. Instead, ask them for introductions to other people they know and continuously expand your network. It has been said that 80% or more jobs are "unpublished." These are effectively jobs that are landed through referrals or word-of-mouth, rather than through posting resumes to databases, answering advertisements or other techniques. Networking will provide you access to these jobs.
Tip #7: Make sure that you follow up. Don’t underestimate the importance of a handwritten thank you note, or a formal thank you letter sent to a networking contact, or after attending a job interview. If you say you will call, do it. If you sent your resume in response to an opening, call to ensure it has been received. Few people do this and it will give you a competitive advantage. Follow up!
While it may at first seem there are no jobs out there, there are. Following these tips will help you make the most of them. Finally, remember that failure is not an option. You must not give up. This requires persistence and consistency. But the more effort you put in the more potential leads you will get and eventually the more job offers you will get.