Job hunting is one of life’s biggest stressors right up there with moving and divorce. Having a plan and being proactive are two things you can do to gain some control over a seemingly uncontrollable process. Following are some tips to help contribute to your success.
Do let your network know that you are looking
You probably know to engage your business acquaintances, former managers/co-workers, and vendors, but in reality, your network is significantly larger. Does your neighbor know what you do for a living and that you are currently in the job market? How about the person on the yoga mat next to you in your weekly exercise class? Job leads can come from surprisingly unexpected sources.
Do post your resume on the major job boards
Many recruiters don’t post openings, but rather they search resumes in the databases of such sites as Monster, CareerBuilder and Dice. As a step in your job search process, be sure to take the time to load your resume on these sites. If you are nervous about your current employer finding you, simply leave off yours and your company’s name, thus allowing for complete confidentiality.
Do keep your resume up to date
Updating your resume is an overwhelming task; having to detail all the relevant accomplishments of the last five, ten, even twenty years can be time consuming and frustrating. One tip to make the process less onerous is to update your resume during your company’s annual review cycle. Oftentimes companies ask employees to complete a self evaluation at their review. This is the perfect opportunity to dust off your resume by adding recent accomplishments, auditing the skills list to include new software you’ve learned, or maybe adding in any volunteer experience or training you’ve received.
Do line up your references
Having your references ready to go is an important part of the job search process. Identify who you would like to have as references, and then confirm that they’re happy to speak positively on your behalf. Ask if they might be willing to provide written letters (on company stationary) that you could then photocopy and leave behind at interviews. Companies look for 360 degree references; this means a manager (ideally two), vendor or colleague in another business unit, and if you managed people, then someone who reported to you. Try to offer a full spectrum from your work experience.
Do join local networking groups
Look into joining a local job seekers networking group; such groups provide tangible advice, introductions into companies, and moral support through the job search process. Groups can be found through churches, as well as sites such as Meetup.com and Linked In.
Don’t appear undecided about your interest in switching jobs
Cancelling interviews, taking call waiting while on a phone interview, asking recruiters to call you at night are all signs that you are not ready to switch jobs. Job hunting needs to be a top priority, and while it’s challenging to search for a job when you have one, once you decide to do so, you need to carve out time in your day to return recruiter calls and attend interviews.
Don’t forget about social media
If you haven’t already, join LinkedIn and complete your profile and start collecting references. Join some of the groups that are relevant to your industry and search the job postings within. If it won’t jeopardize your current job, let your Facebook friends know that you are in the job market, again, referrals can come from the most surprising of places.
Don’t wait to be called
Recruiters are overwhelmed with the volume of resumes they receive for each position available. When at all possible, follow up with a phone call or email. See if you know anyone who has contacts into the company and can help with an introduction. Keep applying and interview, no matter how perfect a job may seem or an interview goes, don’t stop pursuing new opportunities until you have the offer you want in hand.
Don’t ignore jobs that have been posted for awhile
Recruiters often see a flurry of resumes, then after a week the resume flow slows to a crawl. If the right candidate didn’t appear in the first batch of resumes, the recruiter often finds themselves having to refresh the ads in hopes of attracting new candidates. While it’s always a good rule of thumb to apply as quickly as you can (incase they do find the perfect candidate in that first batch of resumes), don’t ignore jobs that seem a bit older, your resume may be perfectly timed to catch a recruiter’s attention.
Don’t forget to be creative
Often times the best jobs aren’t advertised, they’re created by a candidate’s interest and knowledge of a company. If you can present a good business plan to solve a need or add to revenue, be entrepreneurial and create a role for yourself. This can also work very nicely when it comes to moving about within a larger organization.
Being proactive and creative can help shorten your job search process and lead you to your next career opportunity, if not the job of your dreams. Whether you’ve been downsized, or are feeling frustrated in your current role, lay the ground work for a planned out, broad based job search, and you’ll begin to see results.