Fierce – that’s the word that describes the current job search situation in today’s economy. To be able to navigate the job search super highway and quickly set yourself aside to be ‘the one,’ that special one that gets the job of your choice, you have to become a Superstar Job Seeker.
The definition of a Superstar is a person, who is esteemed for exceptional talent, and is eagerly sought after for his or her services. If you are currently not a Superstar Job Seeker and you are looking for employment, then you are going to be searching for a long time. The good news is that it is not too late to become a Superstar Job Seeker and the truth is, you don’t have to look like Brad Pitt to be seen as a Superstar Job Seeker because before you are seen, your CV and Cover Letter will speak on your behalf. So both should have the all important X factor too. Trust me; it is no way near enough that you are experienced, competent, smart, and reliable. With so many other qualified professionals seeking employment, your self-marketing must be hotter and gleaming than magma. You should always look to ‘wow’ your potential employers by making a memorable, not easily forgotten great impression.
How do you do this?
1. Prepare a stunningly catchy elevator speech
Elevator speeches are intended to prepare you for very brief, chance encounters in an elevator. Well, don’t take this literally – an elevator speech is not just for elevators! It is a speech that you should use whenever you want to introduce yourself to a new contact.
You never know when the opportunity will come knocking. You never know who you’ll run into at the Supermarket, your local café, in the line at a bookshop, in a party or in an elevator. It is important that you prepare a succinct but highly memorable speech. Your elevator speech should be short (15-30 second, 150 words). It is a sound bite that succinctly and memorably introduces you. It must spotlight your uniqueness and the focus must be on the benefits you provide as a person.
The key is in how you effortlessly deliver your speech. If you want to network successfully, you need this elevator speech! So, know what your skills are and how to communicate them. You should be able to tell prospective employers and others that you meet their criteria or supersede it in what you can offer. You should also be able to talk about how your skills relate to the industries that interest you.
Having a well rehearsed, introductory statement that you can whip up on anyone is such a huge confidence builder. If you are in an elevator and you are actively in the job market, everyone i.e. everyone that can hire you or knows someone who can hire you is 6 degrees away from your dream job. Having the speech, as your virtual business card ready for use is crucial. Let this brief statement give your listener a peek-a-boo look into your personality. Write and rewrite, practice and refine.
See: Tell me about yourself (Video) – NescoResourcesChannel
2. Know your industry
To be a Superstar Job Seeker, you have to know your industry like the back of your hand. Many professionals become too comfortable in their zones and don’t seek to acquire any new skills or predict what may be needed in the future in order to remain on centre stage. You have to be a Subject Matter Expert (SME). What that means is that you should research your industry so that you know the ins and outs. You have to be aware of any emerging technology, trends and have your finger on the pulse of things.
Remain current on any issues or developments in your field, read trade journals or professional publications, and subscribe to pertinent RSS feeds online. It is extremely impressive during an interview if you know about the latest merger or takeovers in the industry. What this will do for you is that you will blow all your competitors out of the water because you can offer trending knowledge and competitive skills, which cannot be easily found in anyone else, and certainly, will wow the potential employer, knock their socks off and get you the job.
3. Look and act like a Superstar!
You might want to spend some time revitalizing your image. You can experiment with that new hairstyle you have been thinking about. Upgrade your wardrobe to ensure that you have just the right outfit for your job interview. Ensure that you do whatever will make you look good and feel good about yourself. It is important that you package yourself like a Star. Ok, listen, I am not asking you to look like Lady Gaga in one of those her outfits but my point is that a polished physical appearance, CV, covering letter, presentation and professional attire do matter!
You need to sprinkle some star dust on your candidacy packaging. Flicker with the right brand as a subject matter expert and with confidence aimed at the right audience; then look chilled and not frazzled, then gaze at how your super stardom, star-struck potential employers react to you. Have a swagger that is cool, calm, and enthusiastic but above all shows confidence and not cockiness. However, be courageous and blow your own trumpet a little, promote and show case your talent. Don’t make the mistake of not tooting your own horn, I bet you don’t want a rusted horn. Ensure you can ‘radiate’ your competency on cue. Trust me, if you exude that special ‘je ne sais quoi’ and a bankable glow, someone is bound to scoop you up right into your dream job.
4. Network like there is no tomorrow!
Are you on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook? These Social Network sites and the Internet are powerful and they can help you to get back to work fast. Remember, s Superstar Job Seeker will be into Social Networking. If you are not using any of these freely available Web 2.0 Tools yet, this is the time to start using them.
Web 2.0 gives you the opportunity to promote yourself and your skills. It provides multiple formats, platforms and tools to allow you to tell the world about ‘YOU’.
Whatever you do though, always remember to be positive and professional in the way you present yourself at all times on these sites. A picture of you dancing with a traffic cone positioned on your head in the middle of the street after a drunken rave is not the type of picture to share on your networking site for palpable reasons.
Word of Mouth (WOM) is also very important. Talking to or contacting people you know to find job leads is the most effective way to find a job. Most people find a job through personal contacts. People we already know such as our friends and family, our former colleagues and people we meet when we go out and during our normal everyday lives. Don’t forget that personal contacts are also the people who our friends and family know. Only a small percentage of jobs are advertised in local newspapers and only a small percentage of people who find a job get one from answering an advertisement in a local newspaper.
Remember that most people who look for work go after advertised openings. Therefore, you increase your chances of getting hired by networking with personal contacts to find unadvertised job leads. Approximately 60% of job hunters find their new job with the help of friends, family members and acquaintances. So, you should be sure that as many people as possible know that you are looking for a job. That way they can help you find a job faster!
Think of the people you know and make more of an effort to meet with people, and use these conversations to ask their advice, to make them aware of your job search, to use your elevator speech, to learn more about their jobs or their organizations, and to get the names of others who might be useful in your job search.
5. Jazz up your CV
The way we approach job searching is rapidly changing. We are at the point now where people get discovered on the web for their skills. I bet there were other equally talented teenage boys in the world that sang and performed well when Justin Bieber was discovered. Why was he discovered and not the others? Well, he was not afraid to demonstrate and showcase his talent by putting himself out there on the Web.
Justin Bieber was discovered in 2008 by Scooter Braun, who saw Bieber’s videos on YouTube and later became his manager. Braun arranged for him to meet with Usher, and Bieber was soon signed to Raymond Braun Media Group (RBMG), a joint venture between Braun and Usher, and then got a recording contract with Island Records .
Ok, admittedly, your Super stardom as a job seeker will not make you the next big thing in the music scene especially if like me you can’t sing a tune to save your life! And I am not saying that you will become the next Justin Bieber either but my point here is that just your solid traditional CV and skills alone may not do the trick because there are so many traditional solid CV out there too.
Employers are now increasingly looking in many different online places for applicable skills, talent and that X factor. They are using network sites including Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter and the other social networking sites. If you are in the market for a new job you should be using all of your online profiles and visual CV to help position yourself as an ideal candidate. So, consider a bold option and do a narrative bio, or have a pre-formatted CV posted on social networking sites like LinkedIn. For more on this, see InnovateCV or VisualCV to create an online CV that includes all the facets of a traditional CV, with add-ons like images, video, and links to your accomplishments. You can also link your visual CV to your LinkedIn profile. Be sure to make reference to previous employers, job titles, dates of employment and responsibilities whenever appropriate. Follow the right people and let your connections know you are looking for a new job but don’t become a pest.
6. Have a plan
When you are searching for a job, your current role is that of a ‘job search manager’, so searching for a job is your job! Don’t take your jobless period as the period to roll out of bed at 1pm, potter around your house in your flowery pyjamas, vegetate and watch day time TV while you dunk biscuits into a mug of tea.
Don’t get sucked into the ‘I have no choice’ talk phase. You have to dust yourself off and set your own agenda. You have to see yourself as someone whose work is to find a job. Be your own “boss” and be self-disciplined. Begin your work day at 9am sharp every working day. Take an hour for lunch, and give yourself a couple of breaks during the day.
Plan your work by covering all the steps in your job search. First, develop an overall plan listing all of the steps involved in your job search. Under each step, list the actions needed to finish that step. Then, access your skills and research the job market. Next, develop your CV and learn how to write an effective cover letter. Finally, learn how to perfect your pitch and how to ace job interviews.
At first, this may seem a tad overwhelming, but if you organize your time carefully you will enjoy the process. It is helpful to get in the habit of making a “To Do” list every day. Each day, resolve to complete most tasks on the list. Start recording every contact you make regarding your job search, noting times, dates, names, and what happened. Then, be sure to keep a list of important leads and follow-up with them as soon as possible. Visit people, call and make use of the great resources on the internet.
7. Banish negativity
Don’t get disgruntled if you are still looking for a job and it seems like everyone you know has an offer. Most experienced job seekers often search for months before finding the right opportunity. You have to unplug yourself from negativity and create positivity to improve your job search. Focus on what can be instead of the obstacles, create a new opportunity in your mind and work towards it.
Remember that job hunting takes time and energy. So it is important to become a Superstar Job Seeker, remain confident, cool and collected but prepared.
Let me hear from you if you have more tips to share.