By Michael Kruse
Somewhere within your mind, there exists a mental whiteboard filled with lists of various rules and regulations, dos and don’ts, starts and stops, as well as tomorrow’s to-do list. One of those lists includes a line-by-line of what it takes to search for and land a job. Close your eyes and picture that list. Now, if that list looks like most others, I’m here to tell you it’s time to break out the eraser.
Grabbing a copy of the local paper and scouring the help wanted section: antiquated. Neatly printing your resume on cardstock and carefully sending the manila envelope off to a prospective employer’s human resources department: outmoded. Sitting back and waiting patiently for a reply: simply antediluvian. It is now time to let go of these aforementioned techniques and embrace the job searching strategies of the present and beyond. Not sure what that looks like? Here is guide to help you through this task.
Your Rolodex. The Rolodex was a wonderful tool and, at least conceptually, still holds great value today. That’s because the Rolodex was a collection of your contacts, cohorts, friends, and family: your network. Networking is certainly not new. Knowing the right person has always provided an edge during the job search, however the way we network today has been shaped by our technology. Take an audit of your social media sites. Understand who your connections are and reach out to them regularly. It is important to both acquire and maintain your connections. Set aside time in your day to stay in touch, ask questions, and really foster a strong relationship. When the time comes to ask for a particular introduction or information exchange, it will be natural and go further than simply reaching out for a favor.
Your Brand. A personal brand can be a powerful tool in any job search. Your brand is the culmination of the work you’ve performed, your online presence, participation in thought leadership, and other attributes. We all have one, but there are things you can do to build and better hone your brand. If your online profiles (Facebook, LinkedIn, and the like) have been collecting dust, consider updating them to the current “you.” Your online presence should represent you authentically, but try to display your most professional face for what the world will see. Do you blog? Assuming they are relevant and add value, blogs are a great way to showcase your critical thinking, leadership, and analytical skills—all things that employers want to see.
Your Timing. In a day and age when most positions are posted electronically, it can be easy to fall into a timing trap. As you come across positions that interest you, understand how long a particular role has been posted. Ideally you’ll find new opportunities through your network before they are presented to the masses, however if something does catch your eye, be cognizant of how long it’s been “out there.” Spending hours applying for a role that has been posted for a month or even several weeks can be a fruitless endeavor. Many times, a role is not removed until after it has been filled, meaning that by the time your application hits the recruiter, the initial selection period has ended. Proactively monitoring an organization’s site and the various career aggregation sites will help make sure you get your shot.
Your Application. The “modern” online application is not overly helpful. If you’re simply filling out online applications, clicking submit, and hoping for the best, you are selling yourself short. The competition will be fierce—hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of other applicants will also be using the same method, making it difficult to distinguish yourself from the pack. Be proactive, find out who the hiring manager is, and connect with them. A phone call or an email would be better than the online process, but a good old-fashioned letter, along with a copy of your resume directly to the hiring manager can help you bypass the masses.
At the core, the tenets of searching for a new career have not changed, but the manner in which job seekers find new employment has shifted due to rapidly evolving technology. What once centered around one’s “home base” has now gone global through the internet. Whether you’re just beginning a new search or having a difficult time during one that seemingly won’t end, employing these tips can help you find your next job.
Michelle Kruse is the Recruitment Editor and Content Manager at ResumeEdge, where she manages a team of 40 professional resume writers to make sure her clients achieve career success. She has more than 10 years of hiring and recruiting experience for companies such as Novartis and IBM, in addition to a background in coaching and a master’s in leadership development. When she’s not helping job seekers land their dream job, Michelle enjoys spending time with her three little girls, traveling the globe, and going to concerts.