5 STEPS TO GETTING A JOB IN 2009
Despite all the bad news, people are getting hired. We are seeing this personally as 5 people who completed resumes with us had multiple offers in the last 30 days. Yet the days of putting your resume up on Monster.com and waiting for the phone to ring are over. People who are getting hired are putting together an aggressive plan. So here are the core ingredients that make up a successful job search.
1. GET YOUR RESUME DONE PROFESSIONALLY
Unless you have written a lot of resumes and understand the nuances of keyword density, personal branding and crafting value propositions, this is the best investment you can make. The resume is your most important document in your career and having a resume written by someone who does this for a living will give you a competitive advantage over the literally hundreds of other resumes employers receive.
A good professional resume writer will craft your value proposition that distinguishes you from everyone else. They know the keywords, formats, skills and performance metrics for your industry and they know the kinds of resumes you are competing with. If you write your own resume, at best it will be a 5-6 on a 10-scale and that is just not good enough in this market. This important investment will slash weeks from your job search and pay for itself in your first paycheck. In fact, 77% of professionally written resumes get immediate contact from recruiters.
Just make sure you pick the right kind of service as prices can vary from $90 to $1,200. You should be able to get a great resume package, complete with cover letter and ASCII electronic version for $275 to $450 depending on your level. (See my Free 10-Point Checklist on How to Choose a Resume Writing Service on the Home page).
2. HIT THE JOB BOARDS AND RECRUITERS
Monster and CareerBuilder are not the most effective boards to post your resume as they have less than a 3% effectiveness rate. You would do better to post your resume on the niche job boards as they are cheaper for employers and specific to your field.
Note that you can post your resume confidentially so your employer won’t know that you are looking. You can also indicate where geographically you are willing to work. For a great list of vertical and geographical job boards go to the International Association of Employment Web Sites at http://www.employmentwebsites.org/?q=website/tree
To surf for jobs, use Indeed.com or SimplyHired.com as these are job board aggregators, meaning they pull jobs from all the other job boards as well as company web sites to give you a single place to find openings. Start looking at jobs there. Also look at Craig’s List which is becoming a great place to find local job postings. But don’t stop here as the job boards are only 1 part of a good job search.
3. CREATE A DATABASE OF CONTACTS
Go through your business cards and list everyone who might know someone who might know someone who can help you find an open position. You cannot have too many names here, just make sure you assign a category to them (i.e. peer, boss, acquaintance, etc.). Remember, these are not necessarily people who can get you a job, but they can lead you to others who can. I know a fellow who found a job by asking his mailman if he knew anyone who worked at Accenture.
You should also build a list of those companies you wish to target. Decide whether you want to work in a small, medium or large company, in what industry and then do some research to identify candidates. Remember too that everyone targets the Fortune 500 although most jobs are in smaller firms. Targeting companies outside the Fortune 1000 is easier as you will have less competition.
4. GET ON LINKEDIN.COM
This is a great way to build and manage your network and a lot of recruiters find people here. You can search for old school mates and people you worked with in other jobs. Use your new resume as the basis for your profile. Build your network and get as many recommendations as you can.
5 LEARN TO NETWORK
Most people think networking is giving your resume to as many people as you can and asking them to let you know if there is a job opportunity anywhere. THIS IS THE WORST THING YOU CAN DO as you just lost control over the process and now you just wait and hope that the phone will ring.
Good networking is asking people for advice. People are much more likely to give you advice than help you get a job. To start, you must develop your elevator pitch – the 20 second statements you would make if you were in an elevator with Bill Gates and you wanted to tell him why you are the best person for a job.
Here’s a sample elevator pitch:
I have 13 years of experience in the plastic and chemicals field including having served as a Sales Manager with DuPont. I have beaten my sales goals and targets every year, even in the face of a severely declining market. I am particularly good at using my strong technical and operational knowledge to earn a customer’s trust and build loyal relationships. As you probably know, the market is pretty soft right now and I am looking at other related industries where my ability to penetrate accounts and get new business would be of value.
If you need some assistance in crafting this, ask your resume writer to help you.
Now plan on calling 25 people per week. This is where discipline comes in, but after you have done this a couple of times, it becomes easier. Ask each person who else you should talk to and add them to your database.
Remember that although there are far fewer jobs open then last year, you only need one. Follow these steps and you will slash your job search time considerably.