An Easy Way to Jump-Start your Job Search
- Look Where Others Don’t
As you begin your job hunt, where will you look for openings? Thinking about the online job boards? Unfortunately, that’s where EVERYONE starts their job search. Change your approach to find opportunities your competitors won’t. The last place most people look for job openings is from current or past employers, contacts, and subcontractors.
These people trusted you and thought highly of your skills, making them good resources for job leads. Jot down a list of at least three current or former managers with whom you are still on good terms and whom you can contact for job leads or related resources.
Call or email them right away to let them know you are in the job market and explain to them what you are looking for in a job. In the course of your networking activities, you may want to let these folks know that your job search should be held in strict confidence.
Reach out to local networking groups that meet on a regular basis. There are tons of really good sources out there that can point you in the right direction. Here are a few that will help you get started.
Mastermind Groups (There are Mastermind Groups for a number of different industries, and you should be able to find one by doing a specific web search for your industry……for example: Automotive Masterminds, Finance/Banking Masterminds, etc.), Toastmasters (www.toastmasters.org), BNI – Business Networking International (www.bni.com), Alumni Organizations, Chamber of Commerce (www.uschamber.com), MeetUp.com, LeTip (www.letip.com), Optimists (www.optimist.org), Kiwanis (www.kiwanis.org), and Rotary Clubs (www.rotary.org).
Note that most of these organizations will have either a local, state, regional, national and/or International presence.
- Write a Unique and Catchy Cover Letter
Most cover letters are absolutely awful. The one thing these dismal cover letters have in common: They’re missing the Focus Factor. Your cover letter must focus on the needs of the prospective employer, not your needs.
An example of what not to do or say in your cover letter: “I am applying for a job with potential for advancement where my skills and abilities will be utilized and where I will be challenged.”
Instead, try this: In place of words like “I” and “my”, use the word “YOU.” This will force you to shift your thinking from “I need a job” to how you can help the employer. You will notice dramatic changes in your cover letters, and you will start getting more interviews as a result.
- Follow up Better
Most folks fail to follow up effectively after sending out their resumes and cover letters, if they follow up at all. Instead of calling employers every week and asking, “Did you get my resume?” or “Did you make a hiring decision yet?” try to add value each time you follow up.
You could research the company’s competition and write up a quick report, then send it to the hiring manager.
Or share a success story from your past employment that’s relevant to the employer’s situation, and how it might add some value to their business operations. Always ask what the next steps are in the interviewing process. It’s also important to ask when they plan to make a hiring decision.
If they tell you that they are short-listing candidates for follow up interviews, ask when that will happen, and why it will take that long to get back with you on a decision or next steps. Try to give employers another reason to hire you every time you contact them.
Hardly anybody does this, which makes it a great opportunity for you to get noticed and hired easier and quicker.
If you simply just emailed your resume to a Human Resources contact at a prospective employer, for example HumanResources@Company.com, without getting a contact phone number or exact name of the job poster, then you’ll need to do some leg work to get contact information of the person who the resume went to, or who posted the job opening.
Depending on the size of the company you sent your resume to, there could be multiple human resources people in their department. They could have human resources recruiters assigned by specialty occupations, or human resource generalists that handle all types of positions. Simply got to LinkedIn.com to do a search by company name and contact title.
If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, I suggest you get one right away. Being connected on LinkedIn definitely has its benefits. If you already have an account, then do a search according to the company name you applied to (There should be a field to the top right of the home page once you login), search by job title such as human resources or recruiter next to the company name, and it should bring up people with human resources and recruiter titles.
You can pick out two or three human resources contacts to send a message to through LinkedIn to see if they respond to your inquiry about who you should be contacting for a follow up on the posted position.
The next thing you can do is search for the company headquarters on one of the search engines to find out the company phone number, and if you have a contact name in human resources, then by all means ask for their direct phone number and email to contact them directly.
If you don’t have a contact name, ask who posted the job opening for the position you applied to, and ask for their full name and contact information.
Contact them by phone and email as well. This should put you much further ahead of most candidates out there who have applied to the same position. Remember, stay focused on your follow ups.
~ Tom Dushaj