5 Job Search Shortcuts

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Conducting a more effective job search will shorten the time it takes you to find a job, so these time savers will be shortcuts for you. Here are 5 things you can do which will speed up your job search by making your job search more effective.

Biggest Job Search Time Savers

1. Know what you want so that people can help you.

If you can't tell people the job you want and where you want to work, it's almost impossible for them to help. So, making it easier for people to help you will save time.

Bad:
"I'm thinking about looking for something in finance or accounting or, possibly, administration or sales, as long as it's with a good company that offers plenty of opportunity for advancement. I'd even consider a nonprofit or a government job if the right one came along."
Eh? SO, what is it that you REALLY want? If I know you from many PTA (or whatever) meetings, just learned that you are unemployed, and want to help, what – if anything – do I remember about your answer? How do I know who might help you? What is my "takeaway" from that loose, rambling, unfocused answer? Probably not much.

Knowing what you want accomplishes two important things:

First, you give your network important clues about who they know who can help you.
Second, you reassure your network that their credibility won't be damaged when they refer you to someone. By referring you, they are putting their credibility at risk. If you make a bad impression, you hurt them, too.

So, time and opportunities lost.

Best:
"I'm looking for a senior clerk/supervisor position in accounts receivable and credit with a wholesaler or distributor like Company X, Company Y, Company Z, or a similar medium-sized organization in MetroWest or Central Massachusetts."
OK! Very specific. Short. Sweet. MEMORABLE! You've given people clues to help them think of possibilities for you and also made it easier for them to remember the job you want next.

You've done your homework to figure out which organizations meet your criteria, and you have a job target, too. YEA! Big help!

NOW, I know what you want, and I can figure out who I might know in that function and/or one of those organizations, an organization like those, or who might have good connections with that job function and/or those organizations.
More useful for both of us, and certainly enables me to be more helpful to you.

2. Clearly communicate what you want to do NEXT.

If you want to be a senior accounts receivables clerk (as in # 1 above), be sure to make your target job clear in all your communications and, particularly, in your resume, online profiles, and other job search documents.

Don't be trapped into thinking that you must describe yourself as what you did in your last job, unless you want to do that again.

I've seen a job seeker interested in a job in customer support, with substantial experience in customer support, label herself as "Financial Services Professional" in her LinkedIn Profile and in discussions because that was her last job. And she wanted to leave financial services!

If you find yourself answering the what-are-you-looking-for question with "Well, in my last job, I ..." know that you are trapping yourself into doing that same job again. If that's what you want, fine. But if
it's NOT what you want, change your answer to your version of what you see as "Best" in # 1 above.

To paraphrase author and resume guru Susan Ireland, your job search is about your future - not your past! Certainly, your past has an impact on what positions you can qualify for, but it doesn't define you and determine your future unless you let it.

3. Ask people for help (and help them, too).

Put your network to work. Yes, you DO have a network! Former co-workers, former bosses, former clients, current and former neighbors, current and former classmates, etc.

You've read so much about networking everywhere that you may be sick of it. But the reason so many articles are written about networking is because THIS IS WHAT WORKS to connect people to jobs – 70% to 80% of the time!

And, networking is not selfishly using people. You help them, and they help you. You work together to help each other succeed.

4. Pay attention.

Recruiters and employers get the impression that job seekers are lazy, not very interested in getting a job, and not very smart. Why? Many reasons:
  • Applicants don't seem to read the job posting past the job title. It may ask specific questions that are never answered. It may indicate that resumes should not be attachments to an email, and attached resumes are emailed anyway. The list is a mile long.
  • The resume and cover letter are filled with misspellings, bad grammar, or obviously the result of poorly executed copy-and-paste efforts (Dear fill-in-the-blank:).
  • Job seekers come to interviews completely uninformed. They may not have even visited the employer's Website to see what's there and what the employer says about what it does. And they ask few questions beyond the self-serving how much does it pay and how much vacation do I get.
Who would want to hire dumb and/or lazy people? So, show them that YOU are different by paying attention all the way through the process from the initial connection to the acceptance.

5. Use the Internet as a tool, not a solution.

Sitting at your computer, clicking "Apply" for hours is not the most effective way to use the Internet for your job search. Recruiters and employers increasingly prefer to find appropriate job candidates rather than posting jobs and digging out the few qualified applicants from the flood of applications.
SO:
  • Be sure your LinkedIn Profile (you DO have one, right?) is up-to-date and spiffy.
  • Practice Defensive Googling. Google yourself to see what's out there about you -- or about someone else who has the same name you do -- and do damage-control if you must. A registered sex-offender has the same name you do? An employer might think you were that person, so make sure you differentiate yourself from that person.
  • Choose and consistently use the same version of your name (based on your Googling, above) for all of your job search documents, so mistaken identity is minimized and the people looking for you can find the real you.
  • Twitter intelligently (don't share your need to get high or your latest bout of over-indulging in beer), and create a solid online name for yourself.
  • Watch your Facebook Friends and privacy.
  • Carefully and thoughtfully (using your professional name), review some appropriate products and books on Amazon.
Bottom Line
You can save yourself an enormous amount of time by using these 5 "shortcuts." Or, you can ignore them and have a much longer job search.
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