(This article was written by Rick Dacri and was originally published in York County Coast Star, May 17, 2012 edition)
Finding a job in this economy is tough, but not impossible. While the media reports about high unemployment and the chronically unemployed and underemployed, companies are still hiring and individuals are getting jobs. There is no magic in the job search process, nor is there an easy route. It requires lots of work, a full time effort, and a bit of luck. By employing these eleven strategies, your job search should be shorter, more productive, and rewarding.
- Develop a compelling resume: Resumes must highlight your accomplishments. Having a chronology of jobs and tasks doesn’t make it. Employers hire based on what you can do for them and what you can get done. Employers are always thinking, “What can you do for me?” So everything you do in the search process, including writing a resume, must focus on answering that one simple question.
- Develop an online presence: Simply having a Facebook page will not get you the job. In fact, it could destroy the chances of landing the job if you have photos of “getting wasted” and shocking posts on your wall. So clean it up fast. Most recruiters are turning to LinkedIn to find candidates, so make it easy for them to find you. Develop a powerful profile; join LinkedIn groups and participate in the discussions; link to companies that interest you and connect with their employees and executives. The best jobs are often obtained when recruiters find you rather than the other way around.
- Network smartly: Before you get frightened by the image of standing alone in the back of a business after hours networking event and thinking this is how to find a job, forget it. Networking often means talking to people you already know. Ask family members, friends, college professors, and people in the community for job leads. This is an excellent way to land a job. And if they don’t have a job lead, ask them to refer you to someone who might.
- Identify organizations that interest you: If, for example, you want to find a job in marketing, identify marketing companies or companies that hire marketing professionals. You can easily do this through an Internet search. Once you’ve identified them, learn everything you can about these organizations. Use your LinkedIn connections to try to find the decision maker to contact—and don’t worry about whether they have open positions or not. Talk with them, show them your resume, and ask if they hire people who do what you do. Targeted job search is a very effective way to land a job.
- Join professional associations: Target industry specific groups, i.e. marketing associations. Talk to the leadership. Volunteer to help. Be active. Let people know you’re looking.
- Practice interviewing: Interviewing does not come naturally. You must be prepared. Develop likely questions and practice responding with a coach or friend. Practice speaking out loud. Videotape it to see what you look and sound like. Remember, everything you do in the job search is practice for the interview. Great interviewers get jobs.
- Do your homework: Before you interview, thoroughly research the company and the people who will be interviewing you. Never walk in the door unprepared. Weave into the interview information you have obtained. Show how you can help. Be a solution to their problems.
- Take control: The hardest part of the job search is having no control. Employers dictate what happens and when. There are, however, things you can do to reverse this. For instance, never leave an interview without knowing what happens next. Don’t accept “we’ll get back to you.” Ask when, and if “it is OK to call next Wednesday at 10AM” as an example. Interviewers rarely say no.
- Do the extras: Follow up each interview with a thank you note. Rarely do candidates ever do this. During the interview, ask for a tour of the facility. It shows interest and it will provide you valuable insights about the operation and culture. It will also get you the opportunity to talk informally with the decision maker—always a good thing. Offer to demonstrate what you can do, whether it’s analyzing a report, troubleshooting a machine or writing a press release.
10. Show passion: Getting a job is all about attitude. Demonstrate enthusiasm, an excitement about the job and company, and a strong desire and willingness to do whatever it takes to land the job. Believe in your self. A positive approach trumps all the experience in the world.
11. Take care of yourself: Job search is grueling. It is a series of rejections followed by a single “yes.” Focus on your physical and mental health. Eat right, exercise, and get out of the house. Surround yourself with positive people. No “woe is me” allowed.
A reality of the modern economy is that you will be looking for a job several times during your career, so you might as well get good at it. Unfortunately, it is rarely fun. However, employing these strategies should make it easier. Put together your plan, work it smartly and tirelessly, and you’ll land your next job sooner.
Employers: what advice do you have?
Job Seekers: What’s working for you?
Provide your comments below.