So you need a job. Regardless of why you don't have one now, the initial instinct is to draft something that you can call a resume and send it out to employers. This way big companies will know you are finally available and will shower you with generous job offers. How cool would that be if this how job search worked? Now we have to admit that some people still live in that kind of reality where they think this is what all job seekers should be doing in order to get decent offers. At Prime-Resume.com, we understand that finding a new job is a much more complicated process and, therefore, it requires more efforts than most people think it takes to successfully make their next career move. While resume writing and employment websites are essential components of an effective job search campaign, it would be a huge mistake to say these are the only tools one can use.
Effective Job Search Strategy Explained in 8 Steps
Unlike many people assume, the effective job search does not start with drafting or updating a resume. There are many things one should do before working on a resume. The thing is that when people start with their main marketing document they often quickly proceed to sending it to potential employers and when they get nothing in return, they go back to their resume to see what's wrong with it and why it is not bringing any results. So we suggest saving time and start with the most important things first. Question #1: What do you want? It is not even a step yet, because at this point you have to honestly answer one simple question: what kind of job do you really want to get (considering your skill set and past work experience)? Obviously, people usually want to get $1M and do nothing. But when you come down to earth, what is it that you want to do? The answer you give will have long term implications so you better be honest with yourself. Also, be realistic. Take some time to reflect on what you liked and disliked about your previous jobs. Having a clearly defined direction (target job) will significantly help along the way by narrowing down your search and focusing on opportunities you are really interested in.
Step #1: Create your personal brand. The first step is nothing but an extension of the question above. You have to discover your strengths, values, personality, and experience. When you have these things defined, you will refine what we call a personal brand. Knowing your personal brand will a) help you find the right type of employment b) help you ace job interviews, and c) give you confidence along this long nerve-racking way. It is usually a huge temptation to skip this first step and jump on to resume writing but like we said before, such "shortcuts" usually only make the process take longer.
Step #2: Research job opportunities. Now that you know who you are and where you want to be, it is time to use this knowledge in order to target your job hunting efforts. When we say research job opportunities we don't simply mean job search website or some other platform. Yes, of course, you can use multiple online job search engines but don't limit yourself to them. There are other ways to research jobs too. For example, talk to your friends whether the companies they work for have any jobs available. Surf through government websites, social media, industry journals. Go to career expos and other networking events. You may be surprised how much more efficient your job search will become if you do these things.
Step #3: Analyze. Once you have understood what kinds of jobs you are after, you need to analyze those openings you would like to apply for. Every job listing usually has several sections: responsibilities, requirements, desired qualifications, etc. You need to analyze this information very carefully. The key to writing a winning resume is to understand what your potential employers need both in terms of skills and experience and see if you can address and highlight those things on your application document. In other words, studying and analyzing job requirements will help you discover what is relevant to employers. You will need this valuable information during resume writing and interview.
Step #4: Get your job search tools ready. For most job seekers it would mean updating one's resume and LinkedIn profile. These two along with a cover letter and other social network accounts will represent you as well as communicate your personal brand to employers. Knowing what your potential employers are after at this point, it shouldn't be too difficult. We recommend starting from your resume. Make sure it contains relevant keywords and qualifications to pass ATS scan and get noticed by hiring authorities. Don't forget about highlighting your quantifiable accomplishments which also should be relevant. At this stage your resume may seem somewhat generic but for the most part it will still contain relevant information which is already a great start (see step below)! After you are done with resume writing, polish up your LinkedIn profile and clean up your social media. Finally, ask one of your friends to help or as an alternative use a professional resume service.
Step #5: Adjust your resume every time you apply for a job. Although we have covered resume writing in the previous step, it doesn't mean you can now use your main marketing tool just yet. It is absolutely crucial that you tailor your resume and cover letter for every single job before sending them to employers. If you have followed the previous steps, it should be easy by now. For example, if you have chosen a hiring manager as your target job, your resume is basically tailored to this position. However, some companies might have slightly different expectations/requirements so you have to go through that specific job ad again and adjust things so that your resume and cover letter are perfectly personalized.
Step #6: Network. This is one of the most neglected steps in the job search process. Maybe partly because people don't believe networking can accomplish much. The truth of the matter is that at least 60% of jobs are filled through networking. Some report even higher number (up to 80%). Therefore, develop contacts - your relatives, neighbors, friends might help you generate job leads! Don't ignore networking events. This isn't much fun but having no job is even less fun.
Step #7: Prepare. If you are invited for an interview, make sure you do your homework. It doesn't matter how talented you are, if you fail at the meeting you won't get a job. It is as simple as that. Start with researching your employer - try to find out as much as you can (mission, values, plans, philosophy, needs, etc.). Be ready to present yourself and answer some tough questions about your past experiences. Reach out to people you know who work for that company - they may give you some valuable information that you use when talking to the hiring authorities. Underestimating the importance of preparation could unravel all that has been accomplished thus far.
Step #8: Leave a nice last impression. Everybody knows how important that first impression is. That is why job seekers usually wear a professional outfit, iron their shirts, polish their shoes, etc. However, a good last impression is just as important. In order to make that last impression, you can do more than just say goodbye, smile, and make sure your handshake is firm. We recommend sending a personalized thank you letter via email too (ask for a business card in order to know whom you should send one). Be brief, thank the person for taking the time to speak and reiterate the interest in the job. Additionally, you can mention something important that you forgot to say during the meeting.
Final Word About Job Search
The sad reality about today's job search is that even hard work doesn't always pay off. At least immediately. All job seekers dream of getting their first job offer after the very first application. We have to say that even if you go a long way to analyze yourself, research careers, tailor your resume, and prepare for your interview, there are still no guarantees you will be offered a job right away (or at all). However, based on our experience following the aforementioned steps can significantly cut the time spent on a job search. You can send your generic resume and cover letter to millions of employers, however, if you don't take time to understand what you want and what those companies need, most likely you will be doing that forever. That's when you can see the long way actually helps to land the job quicker. When looking for a new job, it is very easy to get discouraged. But there is one important thing you have to realize - it is not personal. If you get rejected again, remember it was just not the right job for you. It is not you. Some days it will seem like there is no end to this crazy job search process but the truth of the matter is that somewhere a hiring manager is looking for someone like you. And when you get too tired, just take a couple of days off and do something that will make you happy. Then get back out there and win your job!