Job Searching Tips for the Modern Economy
Long gone are the days of beating the streets and knocking on doors to find jobs. The modern world wide economy and tough job market makes job searching a much harder task, it’s realistically a full time job in itself. While I was unemployed for about eighteen months, I developed the following strategies to find a job. Hopefully they are useful to you.
1.) Write multiple versions of your resume based on the job title you are applying for. I keep a full resume that covers everything I’ve done, which is also copied to my LinkedIn.com Profile. But I never physically give this resume to anyone. Instead I have generalized resumes for the various positions I’m qualified for that each emphasize the skills related to that job. So in my case, I have a Desktop Support/Help Desk resume, one for System Administration, and another for Project Management/Business Analyst. As I apply for jobs, I modify one of these resumes to the specific position. For instance if the job calls for certain skills I move them to the top of the skills list portion of my resume.
Make 100% sure that your resume is free of errors. Have friends or family proof read it. Read it outloud to yourself to be sure that it flows right. Be sure to use industry keywords. You’ll likely be surprised at how many errors there may be, even by English Majors. Utilize your software’s built in Dictionary!
Lastly, do not be afraid to ask the recruiter if there are any changes they can suggest to your resume for the specific job they are hiring for. Remember, they get paid when they place you into a position, so they’re invested in getting you hired and will gladly make suggestions.
2.) Track your resume submissions. I use an excel spread sheet (Job Search Template) to keep track of all jobs I’ve applied for. For those who are drawing unemployment, this is a good thing to give to your advisor when they ask how your job searches are going. More importantly though, it helps keep you keep track of what jobs you’ve submitted yourself for. In the IT industry, multiple recruiters frequently contact you about the same job. But the HR departments of many companies will toss resumes if they’re submitted twice.
This sheet also helps me remember what recruiters I’ve talked to before, and identifies those who were helpful to me before. If I haven’t talked to them in a while, it’s a chance to reconnect with that specific recruiter to let them know I’m still looking.
I tend to go a step further, and store each resume I’ve submitted with the name of the job title and date submitted in the file name so that if I do get contacted on specific job, I can pull up that resume and talk to the specific experience they are looking for.
3.) Post your resume on each of the major job boards, Monster, Dice, Jobs.com, Indeed.com. Create a calendar reminder to change the basic resume once every two weeks on all the Job Boards you submit it too. You should make at least one full sentence of changes. The goal is to keep your resume “new” so that it filter towards the top of the search results. Recruiters aren’t bothering to look at any resumes older then two to four weeks because they have so many choices.
Some of these job boards allow you to post multiple resumes with different keywords, take advantage of that. Upload each of your job specific resumes to the board and be sure to describe accurately it with targeted keywords. If the job board doesn’t allow multiple resumes, get a new email address and start a second, third, fourth account as needed.
4.) Most of these job sites allow you to crease RSS Feeds out of their Job Search Strings. These can be imported into Google Reader, Thunderbird Email Reader or any other RSS aggregator you wish to use.
While this may seem overwhelming at first, by setting up RSS feeds you can automate job searching, and will get jobs sent to you almost as soon as they are posted. This frees up a ton of time allowing the job searcher to concentrate on networking, custom tailoring resumes, and doing job searches with keywords that are atypical.
You can also use the same trick for Twitter Users who frequently repost jobs and Craiglist Ads. Many company specific Job Boards are based on the Taleo software, which also has the functionality to create RSS feeds off of job searches.
5.) Even if you are not drawing unemployment, take advantage of the services your local employment office offers. These are usually low cost or free. They frequently have a board of jobs that are only posted to the employment office. They have classes for lots of things from resume tips to basic keyboarding skills, job fairs, etc. They also frequently have a list of local professional groups in your field, which are great opportunities for networking with others. Sometimes large companies give discounted or free training vouchers to the Employment Office.
If they have a group for interview skills practice, take full advantage of this! You may think you did good in an interview, but there is likely something you said or did unconsciously that may have turned off the interviewer. Practicing with an impartial person is invaluable, will help polish your answers, and pose, and will get you used to the process.
6.) Apply to temp agencies and take every single job offered to you. This is another great way to network, as a manager who is sufficiently impressed with your work is more likely to offer you a full time job. Or they are likely to hand your resume over to someone they may know who is hiring.
If the Temp Agency gets good feedback on you, they’re more likely to place you into positions that can lead to full time work late on. They do know where and who has these jobs! Treat Temp agencies as you would any other recruiter. They have just as many and sometimes more insight into the Employment industry as a whole.
7.) Take every bit of contract work that comes your way. Even if it’s for a day or a week. This helps fill in the unemployment gaps, shows recruiters and hiring managers that you’re willing to do whatever is needed, and likely adds valuable skills and experience to your resume.
8.) Volunteer. Even if you’re not making any money, you’ll still be learning skills. Most cities have a listing of local non-profits looking for volunteers. There are likely major opportunities that desperately need any skill you may have.
9.) Check out the local Young Professionals Chapter in your city. These groups are great for networking, and frequently have a few non-profit of the month activities. This gives you a chance to find non-profits that you would be interested in, and give you a chance to meet and talk with people in diverse industries. Your skills may translate into another industry very easily.
10.) If you do not have a LinkedIn.com profile – create one! Take at least a full day to do this. This is just as important as your resume! Get a friend to take a good picture of you in professional attire for your profile photo. Include your full work history, and all job skills you might have. Be sure to snag the LinkedIn URL with your name in it. Do not link your profile to your Facebook Profile, unless it’s very professional. If you have a blog that is industry specific, do link it to your LinkedIn profile.
Be sure to add all your own professional contacts. Give and ask for recommendations from everyone.
11.) Get business cards printed up with your custom LinkedIn profile URL on it, including all your contact info. Have at least two phone numbers (Google Voice works here.) You can also print up your own cards, but this is one area where the money spent is well worth it. Hand these out at every opportunity. Likely they’ll be stashed away, but they’re an invaluable asset to show your professionalism.
12.) Scrub the heck out of your Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Tumblr profiles!!!! Anything that you’re less then proud of, or shows you in a negative light, get rid of it! Or just delete your profile totally and create a new one. Recruiters and HR people do check these resources before hiring and will use it to heavily influence their decisions on you.
13.) Prove that you have experience and knowledge of your specific industry. Join a large public forum and start posting. Use your real name so that Google Searches by HR people and recruiters finds it. Be polite and be helpful to others. Learn and teach as much as possible. Ask well informed and direct questions. If the forum is geared towards your dream job in some way, even better.
14.) Get your own domain name and create your own blog. This takes a lot of time to setup initially, but once it’s done you can cruise along with occasional posts, two to three a week is a good pace. If you link this with Google Adsense, it’s a good way to make a few extra bucks. Scape other sites for news articles related to your industry, comment and deeply analyze them. You want to show potential employers that you know the industry well.
I realize that the bulk of these tips sound pretty daunting, and there is a huge amount of up front work. It’s possible that it’ll take two weeks just to get the basics going. But don’t feel overwhelmed, once you do most of these processes they pretty much take care of themselves and will help make your job search better.