Job hunting sucks. No one wakes up on any given day shouting, “YES, today I get to search for jobs and possibly never hear anything back.” If you do, well, that is a different story. If you are having a hard time landing a position, are not hearing back regarding your submissions, or are feeling like moving to the Dominican Republic to sell fruit on the beach is easier than landing a day job, this article is for you. Here are few tips to start having meaningful discussions and creating your tailored search.
1. Develop A Plan – I am amazed by how many people never make a plan prior to diving into their job hunt. Job hunting without a plan is like walking into a snowstorm and trying to select the biggest snowflake, its a time suck and you end up looking really foolish. Decide what your career goals are, identify companies that align with these goals, and make a list. From there, start to identify the individual who you need to connect with, job openings, and craft a timeline.
2. Be Realistic – Are You Really Qualified? Take a good hard look at the job description and decide if you can realistically do the job, or if training is possible. Don’t apply to jobs that are irrelevant or well beyond your experience level. Truthfully evaluate your skill set and map out your accomplishments in correlation to the skills required by the position. Remember that over 80% of applicants fail to prove they have the qualifications and skills needed for the position they are applying for.
3. Clean Up Your Documents - Evaluate your resume and cover letters like a recruiter or hiring manager. Don’t be arrogant and think your experience truly shines. Put yourself on the other side of the desk and decide if you would really hire yourself. Look at your resume and scan it for 20 seconds – the same way an employer would. If you don’t say, “I would hire this person,” then it probably needs work. Draft a different cover letter for EVERY application. Make sure your documents are error free, consistent with the look and feel of your career field, and contain key words to get you past the job hounds.
4. Network, Network, Network – only 20% of available jobs are posted online, the remaining 80% are really based on who you know and what you can leverage. Closed mouths don’t get fed!! Identify people who are doing the job you are interested in, are heavy hitters in the field, or those who are willing to help you make connections. Schedule informational interviews, research the company and the individual, and make your interest/ambition/career goals known. Tell everyone you know specifically what you are looking for. Utilize your alumni network as well as any connections within your personal and civic organizations.
5. Get Your Documents Into The Right Hands – , Evaluate who should your documents go to. Sending a ‘To Whom It May Concern” cover letter is a sure fire way to land in the shredder pile. Once you see a position is opened, go to LinkedIn, do a company search, and identify the hiring manager and their staff. Then, look for ways to make connections, think about who you know who can make an introduction. Don’t just rely on the internet to land you a job. Put that elbow grease on and get to work!
What has worked in the past for you while job hunting?