Are You Trapped in Your Job Search?
It's easy to feel trapped in your job search, especially when you are limiting the number of routes you are taking to find your way out. People can get caught up in a maze of poor choices if they spend too much time on one task or totally ignore another. Here are some examples of the traps that job seekers frequently fall into and suggestions for freeing yourself and moving forward with a more productive search.
(Make sure your ready to negotiate your starting salary.)
Trap No. 1: You don't have an accomplishment-focused resume. Job seekers often create resumes that are no more than a laundry list of job tasks. Such documents do little to differentiate you from the competition. Instead of writing about things you did, write about the accomplishment within the task. Rather than saying that you make widgets, explain that you exceeded the company's quota for making widgets by 25 percent by retooling the production process and eliminating redundancies.
Trap 2: You don't have a system for organizing and tracking your job search materials. When you are in a job search, you start to accumulate a lot of information. You may have different versions of your resume, multiple cover letters, scores of job postings you have applied to, business cards from networking contacts, company research, and job search articles and tips. You need a system for organizing and automating this information as much as possible so you can quickly retrieve what you need and cut down on the clutter. Save yourself the headache of creating your own system and sign up for a free account on emurse.
Trap No. 3: You don't have an online presence. Your resume says you are an accomplished professional and a leader in your field. Yet when a hiring manager or recruiter puts your name in a search engine, either nothing comes up or they find others with the same name and can't distinguish you from the others they see listed. Many hiring authorities will want to research your candidacy past the resume -- and an online search is one of the best ways to do this. Make it easy for them to find you by creating customized online identity, business, and social networking profiles. Some important tools to look at are LinkedIn, ZoomInfo, Ziggs, and Plaxo.
Trap No. 4: You don't have a personal marketing plan. Rather than only trolling the job boards, think about what you want in your next job. Identify the type of position, industry and companies, geography, company size, and corporate culture you are interested in. Then do some research to uncover which organizations best match the descriptions of your dream companies and market yourself directly to those organizations whether they have an open position or not. Reach out to your network to see if you are connected to someone who knows someone in that company and ask for an introduction. The goal is to build inroads into these companies before they need you and later leverage that relationship when they are in need of new talent.
Trap No. 5: You don't have an accountability partner. Being in a job search is often like being on a roller coaster. There are highs and lows, and job seekers need to have someone in their lives to help them move forward and remain accountable for their search. Relying on a friend or loved one for support can sometimes be problematic and add stress to the relationship. A better strategy is to find someone else in search and partner with that person to share advice and leads and offer support.
search and partner with that person to share advice and leads and offer support.