Since we are on the cusp of a new month, a new fiscal year for some and have just officially crossed into a new season, I am declaring this week on my blog as “Job Search Future Planning Week.” Everyone engaged in a successful search needs to have a plan.
Today, some tips and/or reminders about how to get your job hunt off on the right foot. Stay tuned this week for posts and ideas that are a little off my typical path!
Identify your 3%…
Peter Weddle explained that the genome project taught us that humans are 97% similar! So, he suggested that we each have 3% that is special and unique. Have you thought about that 3%? You need to focus and purposefully identify what you have to offer that makes you stand out from everyone else. It’s not enough to assume that it’s obvious or that everyone will recognize your talents. Stop, outline what you have to offer and focus on your goals. Then, move forward with intent.
Stay upbeat and positive – it really matters
You’re not alone – try to focus on the silver lining in the job hunt. No one wants to hire Debbie Downer. There’s no telling how much a positive attitude will help you succeed, so do your best to stay upbeat, or at least to look upbeat to the outside world.
Work on identifying companies – not just looking for openings.
Searching for job opportunities posted online can certainly take all of your time. Instead of focusing on open positions, consider targeting companies of interest (even if they do NOT have openings) and network your way into the organization so that you will be “top of mind” when there is an opportunity.
Know how to tell your story…
Did you know that being able to tell your story is probably the most important part of the job hunt? You need to be able to share your “elevator pitch” when you meet people and it’s important to have some good stories to tell on your resume, in your cover letter and during an interview. I like Kathy Hansen’s Tell Me About Yourself, a book that is all about how to tell your job search story. Be sure to pick up a copy!
Dive into social media if you haven’t already!
Yes, this can take some time if you are going to do it full force. But, you have time, so go for it! Start searching for blogs in your niche. Guy Kawasaki’s Alltop list is a perfect place to find blogs in an array of topics, but you can certainly use Google to find current information in your field of interest. Spend some time researching and exploring. See if you can identify the stars in your field. Use online mechanisms to connect to them! (More about LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook later.)
In fact, the New York Times published an article, The Brave New World of Digital Intimacy, which emphasizes the importance of expanding your network beyond your immediate circle:
This rapid growth of weak ties can be a very good thing. Sociologists have long found that “weak ties” greatly expand your ability to solve problems. For example, if you’re looking for a job and ask your friends, they won’t be much help; they’re too similar to you, and thus probably won’t have any leads that you don’t already have yourself. Remote acquaintances will be much more useful, because they’re farther afield, yet still socially intimate enough to want to help you out.
This idea is also proven in Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point, an excellent read for those interested in being connected!
I can’t emphasize how important it is to enhance your LinkedIn profile. Recruiters are sourcing from LinkedIn in large numbers, so if you aren’t there with a strong statement of your qualifications, skills and accomplishments, you are missing out!
Use Twitter to help you find a job
Yes, you CAN tweet yourself to a job. Get set up using the tips linked above and follow these links to learn what people to follow to help accelerate your search and about Twitter applications to use to help you propel your job hunt.
While Facebook isn’t my favorite social network for job seekers, you can use Facebook groups to help with your job hunt, and there are many Facebook applications that are useful for job seekers. You may also want to review how to use Facebook for your job hunt.
Start taking care of your digital footprint
Satisfying Career, Happier Life suggests these services to help control your digital dirt:
- Reputation Defender: Find out everything that’s being said about you online and get rid of the content you don’t like.
- Search Engine Reputation Management (SERM) – Displace – push down – the negative listings with favorable ones and ones that you can control or influence.
- DefendMyName – Suppress negative Search Engine Listings about you or your company.
These resources may be useful, but you don’t want to be in the position of worrying about whether or not unsavory pictures or trash talking could have cost you an interview or a job. Be careful what you put online and you’ll never have to find out how well or quickly these services work!
Don’t forget to keep up your in-person networking
If you want to succeed in business or your job hunt, you need to be able to engage on a person-to-person basis, tell your story and share information to help you connect.
Consider the cost benefits of seeking career advice.
The fact is, most people don’t have a very good resume and have no idea how to search for a job in today’s economy. In a competitive environment, your job seeking materials (this includes your LinkedIn profile and web 2.0 presence) will be even more important. Money may be tight, but hiring a coach and/or a resume writer might be just the boost you need to propel your search. Anita Bruzzese, career advice columnist and author suggests,
“If you don’t think you can afford a career coach, consider giving up some of the extras in your life (a gym membership, eating out, cable television, etc.) which can can help you pay for a coach.”
Consider the cost of unemployment and the fact that you are much more likely to land a job in a timely way if you have a great resume, understand how to market yourself and are well prepared to interview and negotiate.
Need a little help ramping up your search? Read how I can help get you going!
photo by phlyersphan