The New Year is a great time to charge forward with new ideas and commitments. So, if you’ve been in a job search for a while, now is a great time to gear up with a fresh start and IGNITE your search!
Review and evaluate your existing plan and activities. Here are some questions to ask in assessing what is working and what is not:
- What is your job target? Are you clearly conveying this to others and on your résumé?
- Have you gotten feedback from others about the strength of your career documents – résumé, cover letter, LinkedIn profile?
- Are you getting calls for interviews? Are they for the right job target?
- Have you had many interviews but no offers? Why?
- Are you actively networking? Are you establishing quality relationships?
- Do you know how to reach out to new contacts (appropriately) on LinkedIn?
- Are you using a variety of methods to search for your new job or only using online job boards?
- Do you have colleagues who will give you honest feedback and support?
Then, create a new plan that ignites your search based on what you have learned in your assessment. The most important step is to treat your search as a “job” with goals and target dates that will keep you moving forward:
- Be sure to have a “to do” list that is translated into manageable weekly and monthly goals that are realistic and that push you forward
- Keep your goals POSTED where you can see them every day!
- Use an organized system to track your contacts, companies you’ve interviewed with, and the status of anything to do with your search. (One FREE resource for tracking this info can be found with www.jibberjobber.com).
Use this opportunity to step back and recharge. A little reflection and organization will go a long way in setting things in motion. Here’s to a happy, healthy, and successful new year!
Are you afraid of self-promotion during your job search? Many people worry about giving off a self-centered impression that will turn others away. If you are handing out your resume all over the place, talking about yourself, and focusing on your personal job needs, then they are right. This will definitely turn others off. It will scare others away.
Career Management is a life-long process……it is not about just having an updated resume when you need it. In today’s market, it takes effective networking, a strong online presence, and of course, powerful career documents ready to go.
It is the idea that everything you do creates an impression and offers the opportunity to engage others. It is about visibility, accessibility, and demonstrating a knowledge-base and value that you hold. This approach engages others and attracts others to want to know you because they have high regard for what you can offer.
Here are some ideas for non-scary ways to engage others:
Grow a strong network – focus on relationships not just numbers.
- Help others – by helping others they will want to help you.
- LinkedIn –convey your strengths and value as it relates to work experience and your impact. Participate in linkedin groups sharing knowledge and resources.
- Read and Share – share valuable tools and information on social media vehicles.
- Professional Associations – be an active member and contributor, not only when you are in transition.
- Volunteer – get involved in community service and other projects that open doors to meet new people.
Good things will come out of this. Being a valuable contributor in the world gets you noticed. Others find these approaches to be an inviting way to connect with you.
Remember those “dot to dot” coloring book pages when you were a kid? The page was covered with numbered dots…1,2,3… that you had to connect in order to uncover a hidden picture? The dots were clearly numbered and it was obvious how to follow them…8,9,10… and make connections in order to reach the end goal. I remember how much fun it was to see the picture emerging as I continued… 21,22,23… And if I did the picture together with a friend… 31,32,33…it was like a competition to see who would be first to figure out what the picture was. We would eagerly complete the connections so we could enjoy the next step–coloring it all in.
Successful job search is kind of like those “dot to dots”…53,54,55… It is all about connecting the dots for others. It starts with a targeted résumé that helps the recruiter or employer to see or “connect” that your talent is a close match with their needs. During the interview, it’s about connecting personally with the interviewer and gearing your responses to the connections–discussing how you can add value to their organization…71,72,73… We all know how important networking is, right? We need to connect with others and establish strong relationships. We can help our network connect with us and increase the odds that they think of us for various projects and opportunities.
Sometimes we assume others are on the same page as us. Perhaps we think our talent should be obvious from brief background information…89,90,91… But employers who are interviewing many candidates for a position can use a little assistance! Help them connect the dots. Help them to see the picture emerge as the interview progresses. Steer them to the connections they may need to influence them…98,99,100… Then get those job offers coming and enjoy coloring it all in!
[*This column was inspired from a recent tweet by Miriam Salpeter of Keppie Careers. You can follow her http://twitter.com@Keppie_Careers]
Today I have laryngitis – I seem predisposed to this side effect whenever I get a cold. My voice wavers in its ability to communicate through the day. In the morning, I squeak a lot but can be heard if I strain; as you can imagine, due to this exertion, I can barely be heard by the end of the day. By evening, I have had it – cough, cough, squeak, squeak. In order to really get my voice back, I need to do the right things – proven strategies for improvement like resting my voice, drinking liquids & hot tea/honey, upping vitamin C, getting more sleep, etc. Even though it is frustrating to take these steps back to go forward, I know that straining does not work. Investing in time and effort will yield me a voice.
Sometimes when I evaluate a résumé, it seems to have no voice. There is a lot of information, but nothing jumps out…….lots of “sound” but the résumé is straining to communicate…..and failing to convey the message or get any results.
If you are not getting results, take a close look at your résumé. Does it showcase your value? Is it high impact? Engaging? Competitive? Powerful? If not, maybe it is time to take a step back and question your strategies. If you want to be heard, you need to invest the time and effort to be sure that your résumé has a voice in the market.
DELETE-DELETE-DELETE. We are all overwhelmed these days with too much information– emails, text messages, Facebook posts, tweets, linkedin messages, blogs, and more. Typically, in about 2 or 3 seconds, we rapidly skim these items to see if we are going to pay attention to them or delete them. So how do you get a recruiter to pay attention to YOUR cover letter…the one that enlightens them with all of the wonderful reasons why you are the best person for the job?
You might wonder if you should even send a cover letter at all? Yes! Well, sort of. But…not too much. Confused? The real question is, “should you send an e-Note or a Cover Letter?” Sending a resume alone is not enough. Providing a cover note fosters an opportunity to influence the recruiter and distinguish yourself from others (many of whom do NOT send one). Traditional cover letters are about a half to three quarters of a page in length and go into detail about your background, your value, and how you can contribute to the company. The newer “e-Note” is a more concise version of that same letter, and can be a short paragraph or up to about a third of a page of information. It is not sent as a separate attachment. It is written in the body of an email with your resume attached. Or, in the case of job boards, it may be a few a few powerful sentences created in their designated “box.”
In a recent E-Summit training webcast delivered by “Career Gurus,” Wendy Enelow and Louise Kursmark (via www.resumewritingacademy.com and www.careerthoughtleaders.com ), some crucial tips were provided on creating a powerful e-Note that gets noticed:
- Keep it brief
- Be sure to grab the reader’s attention with most important / relevant accomplishments
- Use the subject line of your email to convey expertise
- Add contact information to an auto generated “signature block”
- Be sure to convey why you fit the position
Follow these wise tips from Wendy and Louise and you will surely get noticed!