It’s Definitely Not “Business as Usual” in the Current Job Search Market. Today’s employment and job search market can easily strike fear in the heart of anyone who’s recently lost their job. Finding a job in this market IS a challenge …. No question. This is the toughest and most competitive job market that most of us in the career and employment profession have ever seen. Jobs, however, ARE out there, firms and companies ARE hiring, key positions DO need to be filled …. The challenge is FINDING those jobs and SELLING YOURSELF – surfacing those “hidden” opportunities and presenting a clear and compelling case for why YOU are the best person for the opportunity that appeals most to you. FINDING A POSITION and SELLING YOURSELF requires a new approach in this market….
“Out-of-the-Box” Tactics Are Key. The process deployed by most job seekers for FINDING jobs and SELLING themselves simply does NOT work effectively in the current job market. The “tried and true” processes of the past, even those of the very recent past, must be dropped in favor of some truly innovative, aggressive and “out of the box” job search tactics and strategies. This article discusses a number of those tactics and strategies, but first …. be aware that ….
Common Mistakes Abound. So what are the things that most job seekers are doing that simply don’t work in this market? – i.e., what are the common mistakes that most job seekers are making that are getting in their way and producing little or no results? Consider these very common mistakes:
- Failing to work within the framework of a structured and organized job search plan
- Lack of clarity in definition of the position being sought – unable to clearly articulate to others exactly what you’re looking for. This is a HUGE mistake that many job seekers make
- A poorly written resume that does not emphasize RESULTS and value you’ve added in previous positions
- Failure to devote sufficient time to the job search process
- Too shy about soliciting “help” from ALL of your friends, family, neighbors and contacts
- Over-reliance on the on-line job boards – heavy dependence upon “post and pray” tactics
- Ineffective and nominal use of personal and business contacts
- Failure to differentiate yourself in the marketplace in EVERY STEP you take in the job search process
- Failure to effectively communicate your value in ALL of your correspondence, communications and conversations
- Poor preparation in advance of interviews
- Ineffective interviewing and “closing” skills
Time to get OUT of the "Same old, same old" BOX
and try something DIFFERENT!
Some Out-of-the-Box Tactics That Work:
The effectiveness of your job search and the results you achieve will correlate directly with how well you deploy tactics and strategies that nobody else is doing (or most are not doing). Consider the following tactics to super-charge your job search:
- Aggressively Utilize
Social Media Applications – Immerse yourself in becoming fluent in using social
media applications in your job search: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Recent
stats from Nielsen Online show that by the end of 2008, social networking
had overtaken email in terms of worldwide reach.
- Make Yourself Very Easy to be Found – Employers and recruiters are using a variety of online tools to seek out and find potential employees. Ensure your resume and information is available online by posting your resume to major job boards and relevant niche job boards. Use services like VisualCV.com to give you web presence and searchability through Google. Keep your LinkedIn profile current and compelling (your LinkedIn profile will also give you a very high Google search ranking). Make it as easy as possible for others to FIND YOU.
- Aggressively Target a List of Companies and Employers – Once you’re crystal clear on your job and career interests, conduct thorough and comprehensive research to identify a list of the top twenty companies you want to target -- this is your job "Shopping List." This gives you DIRECTION and FOCUS -- critical components of your job search. Seek out contacts at those companies through your network or make contact directly. Clearly communicate your value proposition. Consider offering a “temp-to-perm” alternative to give the employer a “trial period.” Be aggressive with follow up and follow-through; don’t leave any stone unturned.
- Clearly Communicate your Intentions and Interests -- Have a VERY Clear Picture of What You Want To Do Next -- It is absolutely essential that you have a very clear understanding of what you want and intend to do next, how your background and experience aligns with and supports those intentions, to whom and where you can target your intentions, and when you want to be "in the seat" in a new position. Clarity of intention and interest provides direction for your job search and enables you to effectively communicate your interests to others -- providing them with the information THEY NEED to help you. Your contacts CAN and WILL help you if you "make it easy" for them by clearly painting the picture of your intentions.
- Utilize a Job Search Planning and Management Tool –An effective job search requires a PLAN and a structured course of action. A properly conducted job search also requires accumulation and organization of information, tracking of activities, scheduling of important events, and timely follow up. Organization is KEY -- you've got to stay on top of every detail throughout the process. You're setting yourself up for failure and disappointment if you do not adequately organize the process with a SYSTEM that you trust. Two web-based applications that I highly recommend for this purpose are: JibberJobber.com and VirtualJobCoach.com.
- Devote a Minimum of 30-40 Hours Per Week – OK....take a deep breath....Your job search IS YOUR JOB....period. If you're unemployed or are about to be very soon, you've got to devote 40+ hours a week to your job search. Set up a home office area where you can be organized and productive. Establish rhythm and routine to your daily and weekly schedule. Immerse yourself in the job search process. 40 hours includes the time you spend in your office and the time you spend outside of your office. Getting "outside" and meeting people is ultimately how you need to be spending the majority of your time. Human contact and interaction are essential and must be ongoing.
- Create a Compelling Resume that “Wow’s” the Reader –I have an upcoming blog article dedicated to this very topic. The average resume reader spends less than 30 seconds (initially) reviewing your resume. Your value therefore has to leap out at the reader. Focus on measurable results that you achieved, highlight spectacular accomplishments, and ensure you frame your presentation from the standpoint of perceived value to the READER.
- Enlist the Support of Everyone You Know –This is not the time to sequester yourself away from friends, family and the general public. Enlist the support of everyone you know. If you've done an excellent job of nurturing your network in the past, your supporters will line up to help you. Tell everyone your intentions and interests. Share your resume with everyone. Attend as many networking functions as you can. Aggressively look for opportunities to get "out there" and ask for help in your job search. Even the waitress at your favorite restaurant could know someone at one of your target companies. Think transparency -- share your story.
- Prepare and Practice for Each and Every Interview – Practice, practice, practice. It's impossible to over-prepare for an interview or important meeting. Research your prospect ahead of time. Role-play with your spouse, a friend or a coach. Always be prepared to answer the "softball" questions -- "So, tell me about yourself." "Why are you interested in our company?" "What exactly are you looking to do next?" "Why are you a great fit for this opportunity?" Plenty of books and resources are available -- at the library, at the bookstore and online. DIG IN and be fully prepared .... there's no excuse for blowing an interview due to lack of preparation.
Remember: Be memorable, be professional, show enthusiasm, communicate your value and deploy innovative techniques, including those noted above. Plan .... and focus on the important things. Visualize yourself in your new position and create the activities to make it happen.
A few final words.....KNOWING this stuff is one thing. Actually DOING IT and EXECUTING on these tactics and strategies is another thing. BE A DOER .... Become part of that 5% out there that is going "above and beyond" the norm. It's ultimately up to you.
Co-host, Career Success Radio Show
A leading authority on career success; 15-year executive coaching veteran
Contact: Andy@CRGLeaders.com, 239-285-5575