Job hunting is stressful. We get so much advice about how to network properly, write the perfect resume, and wear the right clothes. All this advice seems to work well for the other guy or gal, but never for you. And then there is the waiting, and hoping, and stress.
Part of this stress comes from the fact that much of the process seems out of our hands. But it is never out of our hands.
True professionals understand that while the decision of who to hire is always in the hands of the employer, the decision to be a professional is entirely up to us. And being a true professional always gets you better opportunities, better interviews, and that job that you really want.
With that in mind, consider these top 5 professional approaches to the job market that will help you land the job that you want, instead of waiting around for a job you think you need.
1. Be Selective
The first step to landing a job is to know what kind of job you want. Many applicants, especially those just starting, blast their resume across any and every job they see. Sometimes they send their resumes and cover letters to hundreds of jobs a week, hoping to get a lucky bite from some desperate employer.
All the while, all they do is draw more rejections If they are lucky, they get some attention from employers hiring for positions that they don’t even want, wasting time and energy.
Don’t do that.
Use these two criteria to decide if you apply to a given job: do I want to do this, and am I competitive for it based on the job description and my experience? The answer should be ‘yes’ to both. Otherwise, you are using your focus and creativity to apply to jobs you won’t get, and don’t want if you get it. Which means less focused cover letters, generic resumes, and a pile of stress when you wonder why you never get the call back
Spend that energy on the jobs you want and that you can get, and you will get better results in the long run.
2. Be Yourself
Stop rolling your eyes. This isn’t an empty affirmation. “Be yourself” means know yourself. Know your brand, know your professional identity, and put it into practice. Don’t hide behind jargon, skills, or platitudes (although these are important in their own right). Be enthusiastic about whatever position you apply for, and make sure it shows.
The difference between an enthused applicant who fits the job, who wants the job, and who can articulate themselves for the job is the difference between someone who gets the interview and someone whose resume ends up in the trash.
This also goes hand-in-hand with the previous advice: if you know what you want, who you are, and what you are looking for, then being yourself, being honest, and being excited about what you are doing is easy. What’s more, it’s infectious. That excitement is evident on application documents and in personal interviews, and cannot be discounted.
3. Tell a Story
Your resume, cover letter, and professional social media should tell a story about your career. What got you started, what excites you, where you’ve been and where you are going.
This is where a killer cover letter and resume come in. These documents are often the first impression you give, and they should absolutely tell a story about your professional life. A plain resume gives the logistics, but a truly killer resume and letter are ones that paint the picture in big bold words for the employer.
Your job history should be a road map of accomplishment. Your bullet points should show how you lead, build, and excel. Your cover letter should express what kind of person you are, and give concrete examples of how that person is going to contribute to your new job.
That doesn’t mean acting like something you aren’t. Even the driest, most straight-laced resume can tell a great story about accomplishments in a way that shows you are plugged in to your profession.
4. Network Like a Pro
Use social media. Leverage your friends and family. Get your name out there. If you know what you want to do, getting your resume in front of a hiring manager is half the battle. But, if you can get that information in front of them through an in-house reference or (even better) a recommendation from a fellow professional, then you are already head-and-shoulders above your competition.
Networking shows that you are professional, trusted, and can work with other people. Professionals want to hire professionals, so show them that you are a professional. In many ways, that kind of presentation is more important than any specific skills you might have.
5. Get Help
Don’t count on your research to keep you competitive. For starters, have a network of professional colleagues that can critique your work. Their advice can be crucial for crafting killer materials.
More importantly, look to a professional development service that can help you build your package. Most all career advising firms provide resume and cover letter writing services. But, many now offer additional services like social media audits, LinkedIn profile building, and brand consulting and development.
These experts can typically help you round out your entire professional networking profile so that your application looks great, your online presence is solid, and you are prepared for follow-up interviews.
If you want to land that perfect job, don’t count on resume-blasting across multiple sites to get you there. Get help, identify your goals, and be prepared to tell your professional story in a way that marks you as a future professional.
Let Career Operative help you land your dream job!