Job Search Rules – Simple but Critical Things to Keep In Mind

Searching for a new opportunity can prove incredibly stressful.  The following bullets – while not complex or Earth shattering – are basic steps that you should take to ensure you are on a path to success.  Be persistent but be flexible – locking yourself into one plan of pursuit can leave you running in place.  If your resume is not getting attention re-evaluate it.  If you are having a hard time breaking into a new industry join a networking group.  Most important –be ready when that interview call comes!

  • It is a wiser use of your time to focus your efforts on jobs in the market that are best suited to you verses casting widely and hoping that employers figure out which of your skills might be relevant to the many openings to which you have applied. Seek out companies who do the kind of work you are qualified to do and narrow your search by finding the companies within that who might be a fit for you culturally.  In short, apply smartly to the opportunities that are well suited and skip the others.
  • If you choose to add an “Objective” statement to your resume, keep it concise and focused on the individual position to which you are applying.   Craft a statement that will allow the folks screening your resume to know how your experience relates to your goal of obtaining that specific position. It is not a good use of your white paper to offer a summary as your objective.  Use your cover letter for that purpose.
  • The body of your resume should be concise and focused on your accomplishments or deliverables, and where you added value. Always quantify if you can – tell them how much money you saved your company, the percentage increased yield resulting from your process improvements, etc.   You should relate your accomplishments to the position description – again taking time to be sure that you are applying to positions that are relevant to your background and experience.  Speaking in generalities can leave recruiters wanting which can lead to you inadvertently getting passed over for someone who spoke specifically to the opening. 
  • When opportunity calls be prepared to both look the part and demonstrate your abilities. Look professional, show up on time, appear confident (even if you are terrified!) as this may set the pace for the meeting.  Most importantly -- be yourself.  You want to fit within an organization.  Forcing yourself into a box might land you the job but won’t help you in the long run.  Formulate questions in advance based on things that matter to you about company culture and prepare to represent how your skills and accomplishment make you a perfect fit for the opening. Know your resume inside and out.  Breathe deeply and pay attention to the things the interviewer is telling you and respond with how you have the proven skills to contribute immediately.
  • Networking can be a challenge for those of us who may be a little bit less assertive than others.  However, it is a critical component of job searching so you will need to push out from your comfort zone.  Build your networks through friends and connections and strive to maximize the reach that their networks have, etc.  Conduct opportunities to network similar to interviews – the goal being to make an informed and positive impression. You demonstrate how impressive you are and what you are looking for, then they tell a friend, and they tell another friend and so on.  Network, not only with employees, but with recruiters, too.  We are busy but we appreciate the opportunity to be introduced to well skilled folks enthusiastic about landing an exciting opportunity.   
  • Be strategic, formulate a good resume, polish up your interviewing skills and throttle up your networks to help make you smarter and expand your reach for information and opportunities. Collectively – these are keys to getting hired.

Good luck in your job search!