5 Tips for Dynamic Job Seeking Success
As most of us have experienced, job seeking can be a stressful job all on its own. Although social media and a variety of software tools and services seek to make the process easier, they can sometimes actually make it even more overwhelming. So strip away the superfluous information and get down to basics! Here are five foolproof ways to make your job search more successful.
1. Change the Laundry List a.k.a. Your Resume
This one is on top of every job-seeker's list, and rightfully so--a strong resume speaks for itself and can get you far in the matchmaking game of job searching. Unfortunately, we already know all the standard mantras: use action words, keep it to one page, stick to an identifiable format--these are all great first steps, but they are by no means the strategic powerhouses that you will need to stand out. Instead of listing out your tasks, try grouping those tasks together into categories and creating more powerful, high-level assertions about your performance. For example, if you collect data, create databases and write reports on what you have found, put all that together into something like "anticipate client needs through extensive research and full-scale database management." Not only did you save space on that single page, you also made what you do a lot more interesting and effective.
2. Be Real
Cover letters are tough. It can be hard to appear like a real-life human being when you have to convey all the ways in which you are perfect for a particular job. But while it is always good to have a catchy first line, it is an even better strategy to be straightforward and authentic. Consider that no one wants to read a whole page on your accomplishments and they certainly don't want a recap of your resume--that's their next stop! State simply and concisely what you offer and how that will address your potential employer's needs. It's not a bad idea to break it down into three to four direct bullet points. Your audience will thank you for your brevity and your efficiency and your brain will thank you for letting it off the creative writing hook.
3. Do Your Research
Again, this one is a time-honored staple of job advice, but it bears repeating and improving upon in our whole new world of accessibility. There is literally no excuse for not addressing your communication to a specific person. LinkedIn makes it so that you can find anyone from the CEO to the janitor of the company to which you are applying--so use it! Find a real person and besides just grabbing their name, take a look around; learn where they went to school, which groups they belong to and on what projects they have been involved. This way, if you get beyond the initial application stage, you might actually have something useful to say in an interview, you might actually have something in common with this person and be able to converse with them on an equal footing.
What's more, you should know the company to which you are applying as well as any one on the outside can. Read their blog, follow them on Twitter, check out their feedback on review sites--this will give you a real perspective not only on what they do but also on where they may be looking to improve, how they communicate with their clients and where they may be heading in the future. All immensely helpful tidbits of knowledge for an applicant.
4. Be Conscious of Your Personal Brand
At the risk of going too far into abstract thinking, consider that all you do and say on the internet is part of your personal brand. If you want to avoid trendy lingo, let's say your "whole picture." More and more employers are looking to your online presence to get an idea of the you that might exist beyond the carefully crafted correspondence you've sent them. So make sure that what they see is as impressive as you want it to be. Build a portfolio, write a blog, post content that relates to your professional interests on social media platforms--consider this the addendum to your resume! The more you share, the larger your share of their attention.
5. Do the Job Before You Get the Job
This one is not for the feint of heart, it definitely requires research and some actual effort on your part, but it is a great strategy, especially for that dream job you've been eyeing. It is literally what it sounds like--find something that looks great, check out the job description and highlight a few key parts. Then take a look at how those things are currently being done, and then do them! For example, if a big part of a job is writing publicity briefs, take a look at some previous publicity briefs that have come from the company, get a sense for the style and voice, and then write your own. This way, instead of just saying that you can do something, you can actually show it. Showing is always better than just telling.
There you have it, five steps to a more dynamic job search. Excited? Good. Now put it all into action!