What sets winning job landers apart from those job seekers still struggling to land a job? It isn’t sheer luck or any secret formula. It’s a simple matter of following some proven steps for job search success. The more you do, the better your chances of finding that perfect position. But make no mistake, it can be challenging to follow these simple steps.
If your job hunt is missing one or more of the following strategies, it’s time to up your game.
1. Have Branded Marketing Materials
Simply having a resume and cover letter isn’t enough. You also need to showcase your achievements and use personal branding tactics online and offline to present your skills and accomplishments in a way that makes you irresistible to potential employers. Having an optimized LinkedIn profile, a presence on other online media tools, a networking resume outlining who you are looking to meet and custom cover letter/networking scripts are all essential components to communicating your brand consistently and often.
How can you “sell” yourself? Are you an accomplished Operations Executive (Chief Operating Officer (COO) Resume Sample) who demonstrates dedication motivating your high-potential team to exceed profitability targets consistently? A highly trained IT leader (CIO Resume Sample) who loves problem-solving global sales execution logistics? Everything you present to employers—from your resume and cover letter to your portfolio and social profiles—should demonstrate and support this compelling narrative.
2. Have a Job Search Plan
You wouldn’t start a big work project without any idea of how you plan to go about it, would you? Well, the job search is one of the most important tasks you currently have on your plate, so treat it with the same amount of care and deliberation you would give to a VIP client’s project.
Outline target companies to reach out to and the steps you need to take to do so. Make a list of networking strategies and how you can engage in them each day. Brainstorm exploratory pursuits that will boost your skills and open up new opportunities. Note when you’ve sent out inquiries and when it’s time to follow-up. Go about your search with a purpose and with specific checkpoints along the way to keep you on track.
3. Embrace Social Media
Employers will be checking out your online presence, so now’s the time to make sure they’ll like what they see. Optimize your Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter profiles for your job search. Include targeted keywords in your headlines and use your posts and updates to share industry news and personal thoughts that demonstrate your expertise and involvement in the field.
When an employer searches for you, you want them to see a plugged-in professional who knows their stuff, so make sure your social profiles and posts reflect that. (This includes having a friendly, professional profile picture, preferably the same one across all platforms.)
4. Reach Out to Contacts
Somewhere in your phone contacts, LinkedIn connections and alumni network may be the person who has the inner track to your dream job. So start mining those contacts! You have them for a reason.
Reach out to new and existing contacts via email, on the phone or in person. Be sure to ask how they’re doing, share something they might find useful (like an article or link) and then mention where you are in your current job search. Networking goes both ways so don't approach them solely with a request for job search help.
On social media, connect with top influencers by replying to and retweeting their posts, and don’t forget to engage with your own followers by posting useful information and insights.
5. Track Your Job Search Activity
The best-laid plans don’t get the same results if you aren’t tracking your progress. Measure your daily activities against established goals for each week. How many job applications would you like to send out per week? How many contacts should you reach out to? How many conversations are you having each week? Keep yourself on track and quantify your success by keeping tabs because you can’t improve upon what you aren’t measuring.
6. Keep Positive Momentum
As you assess your results, continue to make tweaks and improvements as you go. Learn from any mistakes you might make, monitor your metrics, and use this information to update and enhance your search as you go. Do something every day to work on your job hunt, even if things feel slow or discouraging at the moment.
It’s important to stay positive—not only for your own sanity, but also for the success of your search. Employers are drawn towards candidates who display a positive attitude because it indicates a can-do spirit and an agreeable personality that will fit in well in any office. Have faith in your efforts and know that you’re doing everything you can, and it will pay off in the end.
7. Take Care of Yourself
Maintaining your mental and physical health is key to ensuring optimum strength throughout the job search process. Don’t forget to set aside time to prepare healthy meals, exercise and get enough rest, as well as time to relax and unwind from the hunt. Spend some time with your family, take your dogs for a walk, enjoy a good book—whatever helps you to decompress and re-energize yourself.
Lisa Rangel and the Chameleon Resume team have helped hundreds of people just like you get the 6-figure position they deserve.
If you are interested in working with an elite team of former Fortune 500 recruiters and executive resume writers to win the attention of hiring managers and start landing more interviews, sign up for an exploratory call now to discuss next steps.