You have been putting this off for some time now. You need to find a new job. Or, you need to find a job. Start right here.
You messed up by not downloading my free eGuide. But that’s OK. I decided to publish many of the tips right here so you can get started on your 2019 career plans. I light the match, you carry the torch, you dig?
Where to focus your job search
What do you want to do? Where you want to do it? Those are the two fundamental questions to consider before starting your job search. Without focus, you will bury yourself too deep. Start listing your ideal companies you dream of or would love to work at even if you feel you don’t have the skills or qualifications. Then list the skills you currently have and ones you would like to have.
- Your strategy creation is critical. You need a documented plan. The best place to start is with your network: friends, family, second- and third-tier connections (also known as weak connections), use LinkedIn to search people with similar titles or who have the same job as you do, business journals, and public databases (some libraries still have them)
- To-do lists are a must! Job seekers should prioritize and schedule each day with job search activities as well as life’s needs. If you’re working, schedule in the specific job search actions. If it’s not scheduled, it won’t get done.
- Designate a workplace or a distraction-free zone. Most people keep their partners, spouses, or children away from here.
- Look for time to meet more people, so you can increase your connections. Fun times build emotional connections, and in the future, they could be a lifeline for your job search.
- Are you a recent college graduate (Grad or undergrad)? Your college’s alumni services are useful to connect you with other alumni. Community colleges and high schools will also have alumni services to use.
- Career services at your college are full of resources. They can help you with your résumé, cover letters, and other tools to help your job search. They can also connect you to engaged alumni who can help you navigate the transition from college to professional life.
- The beginning of your job search is the time to start thinking about your compensation package. Here are some links for you to use as resources: a) Payscale Salary Negotiation Guide 2017 b) Glassdoor Salary Guide c) Salary.com
- Expand your considerations to remote work. Flexjobs lists are vetted remote jobs (for an annual $49.99 fee for unlimited access). Each company has been screened for its legitimacy, so you won’t have to worry about scams.
Research Your Ideal Job/Know What You Want
- Since clarity is critical in finding your next opportunity, a useful exercise for this is to write your ideal job description. Describe the job title, type of company, location, responsibilities, compensation/benefits, etc.
- Identify which skills, training/education, and experience you wish to emphasize on your résumé. Start building success stories around them. It’s important to think of yourself as a marketer of yourself. As best as you can, find out the employer’s need and build a narrative around it. Follow the advice found in this article.
- Is it a challenge to find your strengths or where you bring value? Ask five former coworkers and five family members. Document their responses to help yourself. You can also check your LinkedIn recommendations for insights into what people say about how you help them.
- Companies hire job candidates when they will solve a problem. Have you identified problems you solve for companies? How is it unique? Why is it unique?
- Can you quantify how you have solved problems for your current or last company? Employers find measures more descriptive and clearer than adjectives like “dynamic,” “great,” or “good.”
- Small startups and federal-sector jobs are rarely considered when people job-hunt. Because startups usually have small staffs, it is likely easier to reach the hiring person. Federal jobs have a slower hiring process but not as much competition. Associations are also a less competitive job market to navigate to find opportunities.
- Companies often have an 800 number for their customer service or membership department. One of the ways you can research companies is by finding out who is in charge of specific areas—possibly leading to the name of the hiring manager. He or she is likely interviewing or hiring. Try it if you need to send a cover letter or some other correspondence to a particular person.
Find Companies That Are Hiring
- Your network and getting referrals are your best shot at employment with a company you like. See every social setting as a possible way of finding new leads. Look for ways to help, more than what you’ll receive. Don’t be the “askhole” everyone avoids (shout out to Daisy Wright).
- Local business journals can be a great way to find less-well-known companies that are growing (and, therefore, hiring). Search “local business journal” or “(City) business journal” on Google, or check out The Business Journal’s listing at http://businessdirectory.bizjournals.com/
- The Yellow Pages (or online industry directories) can be a good source of potential employers. What’s even better are industry events where you are a participant. It’s an opportunity to be a resource and a leader to be recognized as the person to know.
- Find companies that actively promote volunteerism, that sponsor charity events, and find a way to participate. You’ll find people who are more inviting when it’s not about you, or them, but who you are serving.
- Find out where the recruiters, hiring managers, and executives (of small startups) are on social media and follow them or “Like” their pages. Also, follow the company pages, as they may use social media to announce hiring before it shows on their website.
- Google Alerts is also a way to find hiring companies. You may need to set up several search inquiries, because each company may have a different name for the one position you are targeting. Try using quotes around the term, e.g., “Transition Specialist,” and “Training Specialist.”
- Consider using Talkwalker.com to compare to Google Alerts. It is possible one may yield better results than the other. You might decide to use both.
- LinkedIn connections always announce job openings. The recruiters on LinkedIn are likely to announce them more than anyone. Remember that recruiters are likely working for their client, which is the hiring company. Keep recruiter interactions professional instead of casual if you decide to approach them.
Resume Trends in 2018 w/ Jessica Dillard
Résumés and Cover Letters
- Keep your résumé updated. You never know when you might need it.
- Make sure your career communication documents are 100% error-free. Examine everything from correct grammar to spelling. Have a professional writer (preferably an editor, English major, or Journalist) proofread your career documents.
- If you don’t know or trust anyone who can proofread, then hire someone reputable. Consider using Grammarly for proofreading. Don’t rely on Word to do it for you.
- Never use your current employer’s contact information on your résumé — especially not your work email address! (And speaking of email addresses, make sure that the one you use is professional — not firstname.lastname@example.org.)
- Be sure to include all of your contact information so prospective employers can get in touch with you quickly. Include your full name, one phone number (home or cell), and email address. No longer include your home address.
- Review your résumé and cover letter to ensure it targets the job you want. Don’t try to use a “generic” résumé — and don’t send a résumé that is geared towards one type of job to apply to a completely different kind of job. (If you are pursuing sales jobs and logistics jobs, make sure you have a sales-targeted résumé and a logistics-targeted résumé!)
- Adapt the résumé and cover letter to each position you’re pursuing.
- Make sure you understand what the employer is looking for in a candidate for the position before you submit your résumé and cover letter. Do your documents highlight the specific skills and experience the employer is seeking?
- Review your résumé and make sure you are highlighting your most substantial accomplishments, results, and impact. As much as possible use $ and %. Measurements say so much more than listing responsibilities.
- Remember a cover letter. (A “cover letter” doesn’t always mean a letter — it can also be an introductory email.) A cover letter introduces you when you can’t introduce yourself personally. A personalized letter/email is necessary any time you will not be handing your résumé to the hiring manager directly.
- Keep your cover letter to less than a page. It helps to use bullet points (3 bullets at most) to highlight accomplishments or career highlights.
- Honesty is vital! Never, never, never, never lie on your résumé.
- Objective statements are obsolete. Instead, use the summary as a contribution statement with the headline of the job you are targeting. e.g., where you would put “Objective” or “Professional Summary” put “Environmental Engineer.”
- In most cases, unless the job description emphasizes education as a requirement, put it at the bottom of your résumé.
- Make sure your résumé is compliant with applicant-tracking systems, as many large employers use these to screen job applicants. In addition to making sure your formatting is ATS (Applicant Tracking System)compliant, ensure you have the appropriate keywords in your résumé to match the position you’re seeking.
- More than 70% of résumés are unseen by a human, so make sure it can be read by one. Jobscan.co is a resource for you to see how well your résumé would do on the ATS. Their software will provide a score and allow you several tries until its 80% compliant. They do have a premium account to purchase for unlimited access.
- This will sound funny but do not rely on applying online.
- Any time you find a position online that interests you, see if you can find the contact information for the hiring manager and follow up with a résumé and cover letter via snail mail.
- Don’t fret if you don’t match a position 100%. Apply online, then find someone in the company to refer you. It’s likely they are compensated for referrals. Assure them of the value you offer to help them feel good about referring you.
- USA Jobs is the best place to apply for government jobs. Here are other places to apply for federal jobs. Be prepared to supply an exhaustive job history. Pay attention to character limits per job and allow up to nine months (sometimes for processing). Patience is the name of the game.
- More than half of all jobs are found through networking, although most job seekers spend too much time on ineffective job search strategies, like applying for jobs online.
- Consider using a handbill for networking events. It’s a one-page marketing document highlighting your best skills and attributes. It’s a powerful way to stand out at job fairs and networking events. Find out more about how you can use it effectively.
- The people you know can be the best way for you to find your next job. Make a list of all of your contacts: past employers, vendors, customers, colleagues, competitors, bankers, friends, relatives, parents of children’s friends, club members, cousins, neighbors, etc.
- Business cards are for serious job seekers. In 2018, it’s essential to have a business card to hand out (not generously) to contacts. At minimum, consider using electronic business cards on your mobile phone. One of the best apps to use is Inigo Cards. You can read more about it here.
- Networking is mutually beneficial for all involved. Plan to give much more than receiving. If you’re the person looking for a new job, isn’t it worth it? This podcast explains the proper networking etiquette in less than 20 minutes.
- Research and attend networking events hosted by your professional organization, Chamber of Commerce, tips groups, etc.
- Every social network is a job search networking opportunity. Your approach to leverage it requires your ability to listen and offer value. NEVER appear desperate or be inconsiderate. NEVER.
- Contact your alumni groups. Your college or university should have an alumni association (often with an online directory of members) that can be useful. Research contacts in your field, even if they didn’t graduate in the same year as you. Your common alma mater can be enough to connect you!
- Get involved in your professional association. Join a committee. The membership committee offers a natural connection to connecting with members. The programs committee recruits influential members to speak. Or join the finance committee (that helps line up sponsors — i.e., influential employers in the industry).
- Pay to attend conventions or events in your industry. It’s worth investing in yourself (even paying a non-member rate to attend association events). You’ll get exposure to people in your target industry who may be in a position to hire you or recommend you to someone who can hire you.
- So, you can’t attend the industry event. Can you borrow someone’s notes, or pay for the audio/video recording? At least get coffee with someone who attended and doesn’t mind sharing his or her notes.
- Consider sending a letter to members of your professional association. Your colleagues can be a tremendous asset in helping you find unadvertised opportunities. Write a letter asking for their help.
- The job search method in 2018 is to stay connected, engaged, and involved. To disengage from your career trajectory for more than a few months puts your job search efforts (when you need it) a year or more behind. Social networks make it possible to stay engaged throughout your career.
- Volunteering is the new experience when you lack it and a useful networking strategy. Nonprofit organizations love free help, and most don’t mind you honing a newly learned skill. If you’re unemployed, you can list your volunteer position as a job.
There is so much more coming up for 2019 you should subscribe to the bi-weekly newsletter (sign up at the top of the page). Let me know if this list was useful.