In the past, simply posting your resume on sites such as Monster and CareerBuilder and waiting for the phone to ring was sufficient for finding a job. But the job market has been changing, and more effort is required to land the job that is right for you. Here are five effective tips you can easily do that will quickly improve your job search results.
1. Glance over your resume for 15 seconds. That’s exactly what an employer will do, so if you don’t get a clear message about what you can do for them within a short amount of time, then it is not a good resume. Since this is the most important document in your career, consider making the investment in a professionally-prepared resume.
2. Optimize your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is a live professional resume. It serves as a place where your credibility can be validated and where others can recommend you and review your work. Complete your profile with a thorough summary of your work history, education, skills, training, etc. as well as a professional photo of yourself. Optimizing your profile will increase your odds of showing up in searches by potential employers and ensure you are portrayed in the best light.
3. Check your “first impression” tools. Aside from your resume and LinkedIn profile, think about what a potential employer might see of you before they actually meet you – other social media profiles and online activity, your email address, or even your voicemail.
Most employers will Google your name to learn more about you. Optimize your LinkedIn profile (see step #2 above), and review your online activity (Facebook, Twitter, other social media platforms, blogs, etc.) Remove comments, photos, and other online activity that doesn’t reflect in a positive and professional manner. Use your own blog, online exchanges, and testimonials to showcase your professional knowledge.
If you don’t have a simple, professional email address, now’s the time to get one. Register an email address with your first and last name, if available, and save your fun email address (i.e. happycamper@______.com) for your friends and family.
Make sure your voicemail greeting is professional. The goofy message you set up with your college roommates probably won’t fair well when a potential employer calls to set up an interview. Also, consider getting rid of other cell phone add-ons that are more distracting than helpful, such as ringback tones.
4. Focus on high-return job efforts. Job boards have less than a five percent effectiveness rate while networking has over a 50 percent effectiveness rate. Start by identifying companies where you would be interested in working. Do a company search on LinkedIn, and identify the decision makers and their staff. Then, see who you know who might be able to make an introduction for you. Follow the company and people on LinkedIn and Facebook, join their groups and conversations, comment on their blogs, and become known. This is how you move from a passive “wait for the right job to appear on the job boards” to an active job seeker targeting the kinds of positions you really want.
5. Create measurable goals. Searching for a job is like any other project and you must stay disciplined, so set firm goals for yourself. For example, “I will make 10 networking calls and have two meetings per week.” Make sure you are focusing on high-impact efforts like networking versus job board submissions. Keep a record of your efforts so if an employer calls, you can quickly determine when and how they were contacted.