Whether we are in for another recession or not, if you’re looking for a job, the economic news is a little scary. A recent job fair in Atlanta attracted so many participants, people waited outside in the heat for hours, just to get in the door. Many left, frustrated, because they were told to apply online.
Last week, I joined CNN anchor Fredricka Whitfield on the air to share some tips with job seekers. (Stay tuned for a link to the segment.)
Here are some tips to help you change directions if things aren’t going well.
Biggest job seeker mistakes:
- Using the same resume to apply for every job and not personalizing it for employersâ€™ needs. You need to spoon feed your resume to the employer. If you aren’t customizing it, you’re doing the equivalent of feeding a toothless infant a whole apple — she’ll likely use it to play a game of “drop and get.” Ideally, you’ll offer applesauce to a baby, and a resume detailing what you can do to solve the employer’s problems.
- Applying for the wrong jobs. It’s tempting to apply for “just any job.” After all, YOU know you can do anything, right? It’s possible you can, but writing to an employer with a broad statement offering to be interviewed for “any” job is a recipe for disaster. The employer doesn’t know what to do with you and thinks you are desperate. In other words, you don’t hear back.
- Ignoring social media resources or assuming they wonâ€™t make a difference. How many job seekers have been looking for work for over a year, but have never even tried using LinkedIn, Twitter or even Facebook to see how social media may help get them out of their job hunting rut? Too many, in my opinion. Using social media well is a big step in the right direction.
How to best use social media
- Choose the best networks for you â€“ the ones that highlight and show off your skills. For example, if you love to write (and you’re a good writer), a blog might be great for you. If youâ€™re a better talker, consider creating an online radio program. I outline many different social networks in my book, Social Networking for Career Success.
- Completely fill out your profiles using key words â€“ the words people will use to find someone who does your type of work. It’s important to do this well so it’s easier for people who may want to hire someone with your skills to find you.
- Find people online in your field of work. Use the various search tools in the different networks to identify potential contacts. For example, in LinkedIn, use “advanced search” to locate contacts and join groups pertaining to your interests. Use Listorious.com and WeFollow.com to find people with common interests using Twitter. See what they are saying online, respond, add to the conversation. Try to become known as a person who is â€œin the know,â€ is friendly and giving. Do not ask for job leads until you establish a relationship. You may be surprised by how generous your new online contacts are!
In my next post, I share “before” and “after” resume samples and provide specific tips to help update your resume.