How To Revive A Stalled Job Search With High-Payoff Activities
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I frequently talk to potential clients who tell me they have been conducting a job search for X months without any success, or that they have sent out X number of resumes with virtually no response. When I press for more details, I hear stories about resumes posted in online resume databases and resumes sent in response to ads found on online job boards.
What is wrong with these job search techniques? Well...nothing is fundamentally wrong with them. In fact, they play an important part - a small part - in most well-constructed job search plans. However, these are extremely low-payoff job search activities, and if these are the only techniques you are using, the chances are far greater than not that your job search will generate disappointing and slow results.
If you are unhappy with the results of your job search, it is time that you took an objective look at your job search techniques. Are you spending too much of your precious time and energy on low-payoff job search activities while you ignore those that will produce the positive results that you want and deserve?
While the more effective job search activities - such as networking - usually require people to step out of their comfort zones, the returns generated by your investment of your time and energy will almost always be worth it.
So, if you find yourself stuck in a stalled, ineffective
search for your next job, here are some high-impact tips.
1) Take a hard look at your resume. Like
it or not, your resume is your first introduction to most
employers, and your only chance to make a good first impression.
Effective resumes are focused marketing pieces that are strategically
written and designed to sell YOU as THE best solution to a
potential employer's needs. Your resume should be written
to illustrate your unique value proposition, with succinct
"stories" that differentiate you from your competitors in
the job market. Does your resume accomplish these goals? Is
it focused effectively? Does it accurately present you in
the way that you wish to be presented? If not, it is time
2) Now, take a hard look at your methods.
Do the methods you are using in your job search convey professionalism
at every step? Is your approach courteous and does it illustrate
an understanding of common business protocol? For example,
do you always send at least a brief letter of introduction
when you send a new contact your resume? I can't tell you
how many times a prospective client tells me he isn't getting
calls on his resume, and when I quiz him he will tell me that
he has been sending his resume as an attachment to emails,
and then admits that he has not been including an introductory
note. In this day and age, when everyone is concerned about
viruses and spam, do you honestly believe that a recipient
will open an attachment that arrives with a blank email? Of
course not! Or...Does the message on your answering machine
make you sound like a polished professional or a party animal?
Is your email user name a professional-sounding one or a cutesy
one? You have tough competition in the job market. Details
matter! Courtesy and business protocol matters! Everything
you do in your job search should convey an impeccably professional
image. My best advice: Apply some basic common sense and remember
3) Ramp up your networking efforts. Of all
of the possible job search methods, networking is the most
effective by far, and yet it is the method that the fewest
people use. I know that you don't want to hear this, but no
matter how uncomfortable it might be for you, networking is
absolutely crucial and is the fastest way to your next position.
Remember that when you are networking you are not asking people
if they know of an opening or to give you a job, you are just
asking for referrals or advice. Would you be upset if someone
you knew contacted you to inform you of their job search and
asked if you might be able to offer any advice or point her
in the right direction? Of course you wouldn't. In fact, you
might even be flattered. This is the same reaction that your
personal and professional networking contacts will have. If
you don't have frequent face-to-face contact with your network,
the quickest way to jumpstart your search using networking
is to send your resume and a brief letter to every single
one of your contacts, and then follow up with a phone call
a few days later. In most cases, people will be more than
happy to help you out. But whether they are able to help you
immediately or not, follow up with a brief handwritten thank
you card. This is a gesture that will make a lasting positive
4) Do your research; don't just blindly and
indiscriminately send out your resume. Research the geographic
and industry areas that interest you and identify the companies
and opportunities that seem most promising and intriguing
to you. With the vast quantities of information available
on the Internet, you really have no excuse not to research
thoroughly. Identify the hiring decision-makers and learn
all you can about them and their company, their competitors,
their challenges, and their future potential. This is a great
time to call on your professional network. Who do you know
who knows someone who knows some else at the company you are
interested in? Once you have an "in" through a referral, it
is time to make sure you are absolutely clear on your value
proposition. In what way do you feel you could add value to
the company? How would hiring you be beneficial? What is the
return on investment that the company could expect if they
hired you? Once you have the answers to these questions clear
in your mind, it is time to approach the targets.
5) Consider a targeted e-mailing of your
resume to headhunter/recruiter firms. But don't just use one
of the cheap broadcast services that send your resume out
to some unspecified list of 1000s of supposed recruiters.
If you are going to do this, use a high-quality service that
uses an up-to-date database of recruiting firms that they
can break down and segment based on the firms' specialties.
Approaching the distribution of your resume to headhunter
firms in this way ensures that the recipients of your resume
are individuals who have a sincere interest in learning about
you and your credentials. They will try to match you to their
current searches, and if you are a fit, you will get a phone
call right then. Otherwise, they tend to database your resume
to search in relation to future recruitment assignments. Of
all the suggestions, this is the most passive and the easiest
for you to implement with the least amount of work. But, passive
or not, if you are in a profession that is among those often
handled by recruiting firms, you should definitely make this
a part of your overall job search strategy.
Finally, I can't stress enough how important
it is for you to follow up. Be assertive and approach your
job search as if it is a job in itself. Schedule your activities,
keep track of the contacts you have made and the resumes you
have sent, and follow up regularly and consistently.
Yes, there is no doubt that job searching can be a highly stressful time. But you do have choices about how you will spend your limited time and those choices can have a profound impact on the success of your search. Choose to focus on the high payoff activities and you will find yourself back to work, in the job you want, much faster than you thought was possible.
certified resume writer and career
coach, Michelle Dumas is the director
of Distinctive Career Services LLC. Through Distinctive Documents
http://www.distinctiveweb.com and her Executive VIP Services
http://www.100kcareermarketing.com Michelle has empowered
thousands of professionals all across the U.S. and worldwide.
Michelle is also the author of Secrets
of a Successful Job Search http://www.job-search-secrets.com
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