Stop wasting time applying online!

So, you have finally made the decision to embark on a quest to find a new job. You’ve searched your online files to find the 15 different versions of your resume that you haven’t looked at in years.

Next, you make updates and revisions to your resume and you have some trusted friends/peers review. They give you the “thumbs up” and now you are ready to rock and roll. You sit down with your laptop and latte and you start surfing the net for new opportunities. You say to yourself, “Where shall I surf first? Monster, CareerBuilder, the company websites?” Then you commence to spending your days, evenings and weekends spending 20-40 minutes per job posting applying on-line and never hearing back from anyone. Except, on occasion, when you are lucky enough to hear from the phantom HR person, who say’s “thanks, but no thanks,” via email.

It has now been 3 months since you started your search and you can’t understand why the only call you for an interview you have received is from someone trying to get you to attend a seminar so you can sell insurance. You are beyond frustrated. You are checking your spam folder to make sure you didn’t miss an email from the phantom HR person. Then it happens, the moment when you yell out, “WHY ISN’T ANYONE CALLING ME FOR AN INTERVIEW??? I’M QUALIFIED!!!!!!!!

The problem, you didn’t plan your search strategy. It takes way more than simply applying online to land an interview and eventually a job in this day and age. You must know who you are and what you are selling and you can’t be afraid to actively network.

WHO ARE YOU????
Before you jump on that computer you must determine who you are as a professional. If someone were to ask what you do for a living, how do you respond? Until you can clearly identify who you are professionally, you cannot successfully launch your job search. Ask yourself am I a Finance professional? Six Sigma SME? Mergers and Acquisitions Strategist? Once you determine “who you are” then you can begin your search by doing the following:

  1. Figure out exactly what type of position(s) you are targeting (e.g., full time, part time, contract or permanent, travel required, industry, profession, etc.) Learn the different “titles” that exists for the job you are targeting.
  2. Determine if you have the skills/qualifications/certifications etc. for that role. Do a Google search on the position and read through posted descriptions to see what they are requiring. You have to know if employers are BUYING what you are SELLING.
  3. Research the salary range for the position in the geographic areas where you are interested in working. Sites like Payscale.com and Salary.com offers generic compensation data, based upon geography that will give you an idea of the salary potential for your target job in a specific region. Determine if the position is industry specific or not (e.g., Accountant, Human Resource Manger, Administrative Assistant, etc.). If it is industry specific, this will help narrow down your search.
  4. Research to see if the market is “hot” for the position you are targeting. The number of job postings within a specific region, can tell you if a particular job is “HOT” or “NOT”

NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK
70% of all jobseekers find new employment through networking. Think about it? How many times have you learned that the new person on your team was “referred” by someone, who knew someone that knew someone?? Networking is NOT about asking people for a job. It’s about building and maintaining relationships so that you can get leads that will lead to a job. The following are some tips for effective networking:

  1. Identify companies in the geographic areas where you want to work and list them. Use resources like Hoover’s Online, Dun and Bradstreet (www.dandb.com), GlassDoor (www.glassdoor.com) to research the companies. Try to identify people you may know who are currently or were previously employed with these companies, to learn about the culture and whether or not it is a place where you would want to work.
  2. Once you’ve identified your target companies, go to the website to see if they have openings that match what you are looking for. If nothing is currently posted, find people within the organization who you can send your resume to anyway. NOT HR! (Unless you want to be in HR) If all else fails, get the name of the VP/SVP in the dept and send a cover letter and resume to them. Remember, every opening isn’t always advertised!
  3. Use LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com) to identify potential contacts and reach out. Ask for an informational meeting or phone conversation. If you are given the opportunity to speak/meet with someone at your target company, be prepared to lead the conversation and ask questions. Do not end the conversation without obtaining at least two more contacts.
  4. Join groups related to your profession/industry on LinkedIn and communicate with your professional peers. Join discussions on various topics. If posters like your comments and start to view you as an “expert” that is a good thing. I’ll bet you’ll make at least 1-2 new connections when making “informed professional comments.”
  5. Attend the meetings and events for professional organizations in your area. This is a great way to make new contacts and to become known.
  6. Make a list of everyone you know and reach out. You never know, your next job can come from a lead from your local pharmacist, minister, even your neighbor. People can’t help you if they don’t know you are searching.

When you know who you are, what you are selling and actively network, you can launch a more targeted search that will yield more leads and interviews. Spend less time “applying” online and use the internet for research.

Job search can be frustrating, but when you get frustrated, just STOP. Keep in mind that a closed door is just getting you closer to the position you want. In the meantime, if you aren’t working, volunteer. It keeps you busy, productive and is another form of networking!

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Career, HR, Jobsearch