13 Ways To Ensure You Are Ready For Job Hunting Season

It’s hiring season! Are you ready? In addition to the summer being over and kids going back to school, it is the time of year where employers hire talent to create and/or implement strategic plans that will ensure next year exceeds expectations. Good companies are gearing up, hiring the right people and allocating resources to capitalize on the opportunities presented in the current market. Yes, there are opportunities. Are you ready to be snapped up? Here are steps to ensure you are positioned to make your next move: (1) Do an achievement, skills and wants inventory. What have you accomplished this past year? The past five years? What skills do you have that are most marketable that you want to continue doing? What do you want? This will be the basis of your resume update (or creation), targeted job search plan and your interview dialogue. (2) Know what position(s) you want. Start a list of desired industries or companies where you would like to work. This will help you devise a targeted job search plan to allow you to have an active approach to your search—no waiting for job posting to post for you!! (3) Update or create your resume. Ensure its format is a branded resume format with accomplishment-driven language that will allow you to easily customize the resume for the position for which you are applying without having to rewrite it each time. (4) Design a cover letter template for yourself (not download a template—create your own) that you can, again, customize for each application without having to start it from scratch. Ensure it will cater to the needs of the employer and not simply be a prose (aka “look-at-everything-I-did-dump) version of your resume. (5) Amass LinkedIn connections from all aspects your professional and personal life. A minimum of 200 connections (I like to see 300 actually) is needed to have the search capabilities produce significant search results to help develop your targeted job search list. (6) Set yourself up in profession/industry related user groups to see what is being said by other technically-savvy people in your industry or discipline. (7) Set metrics for outbound job search activity. How many new contacts per month will you contact? How many networking events will you participate in? How many LinkedIn status updates will you do per week to keep you top of mind within your network? (8) Network!! Seek out like-minded job seeker friends or join a job search support group to keep you accountable. No need to do this alone—and someone may give you a lead that can be your next job! (9) Nurture your existing network: Call your friends. Have coffee with former and current co-workers. Reach out to former classmates. Expand your reach before you need it. And be helpful to those in your network who need help. Good karma is always best policy. (10) Grow your network!! Join professional associations that are affiliated with your profession. Stay up-to-date with what is going on in your industry or profession. This will help generate ideas on where job activity is happening….and where it is not. (11) Shore up on certifications or continued learning that will enhance your application and keep your knowledge current. (12) Practice behavioral and situational interviewing techniques. Don’t memorize answers to questions. Study your background as much as you would study a company background. In my opinion, the most important thing to know on an interview is yourself—it’s what the firm wants to know most—all about you and how you will produce for them. Yes, you need to research the company / job . But it all comes down to how effectively you communicate to the prospective employer how you will fit and generate results. (13) Develop an elevator pitch—be able to confidently and succinctly answer the questions: “So what do you want to do?” or “What are you looking for?” or “What do you do?” --- Do not start the answer with a “Well…” or an “Umm…” -- Unless you are in the “well” or “umm” business. Conversations can continue or end based on how well you handle answering this question. Clearly, there are more activities that you can do to further develop your job search practices. But this is a good checklist to ensure you are ready to get in the game and off to a fabulous start.   Written by Lisa Rangel, Executive Resume Writer

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