Master Your Job Search The Strategic Way — In Layers

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By Beth Tucker, President and CEO of KNF&T

There are several avenues prospective employees can take to find their "perfect" job. However, many still choose to rely solely on submitting résumés online, which is a mistake. Any recruiter or HR manager will tell you they don't get to the majority of applications, due to automated processes such as applicant tracking systems and the sheer volume of résumés received. While submitting online is often a requirement, prospective employees need to think about their job search in layers. In addition to submitting a résumé online, there are several different avenues a prospective employee should incorporate into the job search mix. Below are some you should pursue as you look for your ideal job:

There is no time like face time
Attending events to network and meet different contacts is an important aspect to any successful job search and one prospective employees should take seriously. Further, if you are interested in a particular company, you should make the extra effort to seek out events that are important to the company's employee base and try to engage with those individuals that may be able to potentially serve as references for you.

College connections
While fall is often the time of year people place an extra emphasis on their college ties through homecoming events and reunions, do not lose sight of the importance of those connections year round. In addition, as you hone in on a particular company, be sure to research where the executive team and/or your prospective manager went to college. A common college bond can go a long way in fostering a job-winning connection.

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The company you keep
Hopefully, since you first started in the workforce, you have been building a referral base. If you haven't, you need to. While you may not have referrals within your target company, external referrals go a long way in helping to validate your fit within a role. Depending on the position you are seeking, the types of referrals may vary – and they do not need to be from a previous manager. They can be focused on your management style (from someone who has supported you); client relations skills (from a former client) or general character/team player attributes (someone who has worked with you).

Taking social seriously
We all know social media engagement can have a significant impact on a job search. Not only do you need to be careful with what you publicize socially (to avoid a negative perception), engaging with certain groups can help catapult you into the right sphere of influence within a company. The majority of companies have a LinkedIn page. Take a look at the groups where employees are members and start to engage with them. Not only will it put you in a positive light with those who are seeing you interact in groups germane to them, but you will be well-versed on the topics they want to discuss come interview time.

Get to know the hiring manager
Once your online application is submitted, you should try to make an effort to follow up directly with the hiring manager for the position. There are likely hundreds of other applicants that submitted via that same online form. Stand out from the crowd by sending up a follow-up email directly (if you have access to the information). Other avenues to consider include engaging with them over Twitter or they have been mentioned/quoted somewhere, let them know you noticed. Although – always be careful not to be too aggressive. You do not want to come off intrusive.

Test the waters with temping
As you start in the workforce, there are many options that are presented to you. How do you even know which is the right one? Many have found success with temping at their desired companies. Through temping, you can see if the company (and position) is a fit for you and they can see if you are equally a fit for them. Commitment is minimal and can lead to long-term satisfaction and growth for both the employee and the employer.

Get out there!
As a prospective employee, you don't necessarily have to do all of the above to ensure success, but I do encourage you to consider a mix of these activities. By doing so, you will be able to rise above he sea of online applications and potentially land your dream job.

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Beth Tucker is the co-founder and president at KNF&T Staffing Resources.
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