You have just finished a long and much-needed employment hiatus, and now it is time to get back to the grind. Where do you start?
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You have a plan, right? Still, you should remember that Robert Burns quote: "The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry."
In other words – you need to prepare for the unexpected. Your strategy may appear seamless on paper, but let us take a look at some of the necessities to ensure you are on the right track, just in case.
First, take a few deep breaths and pace yourself. Take your time in carving out an action plan that will position you to push through opposition and gain an edge in this highly competitive job market. There are going to be times when you may feel a little overwhelmed. The recruiting and hiring industry is constantly evolving, but if you follow these effective job search tips, you'll have an easier time staying ahead of the game:
1. Create an Online Brand
First things first: It is crucial that you update your resume to reflect the most current resume formatting standards. But that being said, in today's employment climate, knowing how to write a good resume is only one aspect of an effective job search strategy.
Modern job searches also warrant a strong online brand in addition to your professional resume. A strong online brand keeps you relevant and in step with the latest trends, helps to enhance your visibility in the eyes of recruiters, and positions you for many more employment opportunities.
One of the best sources for displaying your online brand is LinkedIn. Considering that most recruiters use LinkedIn to source talent, if you do not have a presence, you could be missing out on job placement opportunities. If you are a little more tech savvy, you can create a professional website to further showcase your leadership highlights.
2. Diversify Your Job Search
Now that you're on LinkedIn and have an attention-getting profile, it is time to kick back, relax, and watch the job offers fly in.
If only it were that easy.
Try mixing things up a little by launching a multi-tiered job search. Avoid the temptation to rely solely on job boards. Instead, explore all your options. Connect with prospective employers on LinkedIn, network with industry influencers, and utilize Facebook as an additional tool to keep your finger on the pulse of your field. Narrow down your options to the top 3-4 strategies that work best for you, your schedule, and career focus, and then pursue them.
3. Get Your Interview A-Game On
What if you get the call for the perfect job upon being found by a recruiter who believes you are an ideal candidate? What if the decision-makers want to set up an interview right away?
You need to prepare. Having the ability to speak to your professional resume and accomplishments is a must – but you do not want this to be a boring question and answer session. You want to impress.
Imagine yourself as a car salesperson. The first thing they do is tell you about the wonderful features the vehicle offers. The next thing they want to do is get you behind the wheel. They want you to feel as if you already own that car.
That is the impression you want to leave with the prospective employer. It is not enough to tell them about the great benefits they will receive when they hire you. Convey to them what a perfect fit you are for the company, the culture, and the targeted position. Ask insightful questions about their particular challenges, and then become the solution.
4. Stay Relevant
Keep your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile updated in the most successful format as your career develops. With your LinkedIn presence being accessible to so many recruiters, clients, vendors, colleagues, and the like, it constantly works for you in the background as a marketing tool. Freshening up your profile with current industry keywords, an eye-catching headline, and new credentials makes you a much more attractive candidate to prospective employers.
Joyce Harold is an award-winning resume writer. She operates Resumes by Joyce.