Most job hunters instinctively begin their search by flooding employers with carefully crafted, but often ineffective, CVs. But since many openings go unadvertised, successful job seekers require more thoughtful approaches.
Try the following suggestions for a more productive job search:
1. Structure your days
Job hunting is a full-time job. Although it is tempting to exploit your free time, don’t start going fishing mid-week or sleeping late. Get up at your usual hour, shower, eat breakfast and go to ‘work’ looking for work! The trick is to spend time every weekday working towards finding a job.
2. Research first
Comprehensive research is your guide to success. It shows potential employers that you do your homework and keep ahead of the pack. Multiply your opportunities by researching numerous companies within your target industries and geographic region(s). If you are willing to relocate, then the internet is your oyster!
Analyse a target company’s last three annual reports, promotional sales materials, trade publications and any relevant magazine articles to familiarise yourself with the overall industry, your target company’s corporate culture and its key executives.
Don’t overlook internet resources. Search engines are a God sent tools, can be very helpful in compiling facts to use during interviews or in crafting CVs.
3. Determine recruitment patterns
It is also crucial to determine if your target company expects to be downsizing, maintaining a stable workforce or recruiting soon. If, for example you want to work in a department in a publishing company, find out that specific department’s recruiting outlook. It’s not uncommon for large companies to simultaneously recruit in one department while downsizing others.
4. Use your professional organisation
Trust me, professional associations are a great resource for job leads, mentoring and research. Professional associations can also keep you ‘in the loop’. Contact other professionals to tell them of your goals, situation and to ask for guidance. You never know when one might say “Call this person and say I referred you.”
5. Keep knocking
Follow up on a letter of introduction or an initial interview with a timely phone call. Keep it short and to the point. Ask if your letter was received and if any additional information is desired. If necessary, leave your message on their voice mail.
6. Sell your talents
Blow your own trumpet!!! Practice your pitch!!! During your first meeting with an executive, avoid discussing specific positions. Initially, work on bonding with your interviewer by discussing your insights about the company and how your skills complement their corporate strategy.
Avoid the deadly “I will do anything” trap. It sounds desperate – try and not sound desperate. Instead, state specifically what positions best fit your qualifications. Employers want applicants to possess specific personal qualities, tangible professional credentials and well-articulated career objectives.
Be prepared with some penetrating questions. Interviewers like applicants who know the right questions to ask when problem solving or developing strategy.
Ask specific questions regarding current projects, industry trends, their product, employee turnover, ratio of managers to employees, dispute resolution processes, recent innovations, company reputation, company business plans and goals, lines of authority and company expectations.
7. Respect their time
If you asked for 20 minutes of an executive’s time, under all circumstances respect that time commitment. Make sure the employer feels in control of the process, including the time involved. Be sensitive to when the employer seems to be getting fidgety. When your time is up, sum up your meeting with an action item, such as bringing letters of recommendation or your CV by tomorrow morning. If the executive wants to talk with you longer, you will be invited to stay.
8. Rewrite your CV
Carefully revise your CV based and tailor it to the job that you are going for. For easier revisions always maintain your CV on a PC in word format. Be sure to highlight your skills to emulate the skills that they are after
9. Remain upbeat
Looking for work is laden with untold emotionally draining rejections. Don’t take rejection personally.
Share feelings with supportive people. Avoid getting too excited or too discouraged. Reward yourself with a special treat at each step in your job search.
Apply for multiple jobs simultaneously and view interviews as opportunities to work on your interviewing skills, not as ‘do or die’ situations. This alleviates your stress because all your eggs aren’t in one basket.
10. Be Selfish
Do whatever it takes to differentiate yourself from the competitors. Be sure to stand out; however, don’t do this by wearing a fluorescent suit! Remember to not give up – Good luck!