Ok, so you bit the bullet, finally finished your resume and now you need to actually get a job. Yikes!
Unfortunately, it’s not enough just to have the best resume on the block. You have to organize, target, focus, track and refine your job search to land your next opportunity in a competitive market. If you are in a defined career path, it’s a lot easier. But for many jobseekers, the next step isn’t laid out in front of them. Here are some critical pointers to keep you from getting off track.
1) Make a list of your top 5 must haves and no-ways. Similar in some ways to house hunting or dating, you have to know what your limits are. For example, is it critical that you are home at a certain time every day because you don’t have other child care options? Are you just not a phone person? Do you hate working in an office every day? While this is all part of your career targeting phase and a lot is done before the resume, having your needs/wants/no-ways clearly outlined will keep you from wasting time.
2) Create an activity tracker in word, excel, google docs or some other productivity app to store all of your logon information, jobs applied to with dates and titles, etc. Even more importantly, actually use it. It’s incredibly time-consuming to apply for jobs and almost every different site will force you to create an account. Forgetting and resetting your account each time is just an added headache. Also, when you receive a call from Company X and have absolutely no idea what job you applied to, your little cheat sheet will really come in handy and keep you from looking like you really just don’t care.
3) Narrow your focus to a few job boards. Yes, there are niche boards for almost every profession but most of these are really boards that scrape the major boards and sell display ad space to create revenue. Their business model is similar to most online resume builders, and they offer equally minimal value. Hit the majors – Indeed, Monster, Careerbuilder, Dice (for tech jobs), MediaBistro (for media jobs) and you’ll likely get hits from recruiters.
4) Keep your expectations in check when dealing with recruiters. Remember that they are essentially in a sales business, except that you are the commodity and they get paid when they place you in a job. It’s a numbers game and you may not be able to find a true “headhunter” as a partner unless you’re a highly paid professional. When you receive a call or email, respond promptly and be as clear about your expectations for your next positiion as possible. Be courteous, direct and responsive but remember that they are extremely busy and try not to be overbearing while waiting on a response or follow-up as you progress through your search.
5) Leverage LinkedIn as much as possible. Did you just apply to a job you found on Monster or somewhere else online? Connect with an HR person at the company, follow the company on LinkedIn, or find a group that targets jobs in that company and/or industry. Not sure if you feel comfortable sending an invite to someone you don’t know? It’s a tough job market. Ask yourself whether the possibility that they don’t accept your invite is worse than the possibility you won’t ever hear back when your resume gets lost in the shuffle.
Rebecca Henninger is a professional resume writer with a passion for helping women achieve balance, integration, and professional fulfillment. She is a mother of two, Bravo TV addict, and skilled career strategist. See more at: http://www.rhresumes.com