This is it! 2022 is days away! This is the year you are going to find your dream job or change careers. Guess what? Many other people have the same New Year’s resolution, so you are going to need to understand how to set yourself up for success in your job search.
1. Know what you want to do. Don’t laugh, this is critical. “Spraying and praying” your resume to every company which has an opening you think you are perfect for is not the way to start the new year. Once you apply for a job, your resume and profile are in the company’s applicant tracking system (ATS) forever! Recruiters can see how many jobs you applied to, what roles you applied to, and all the variations of your resume. You will not look focused if you apply to more than one type of role at a company or if your resume has numerous variations. You must know what you want to do before applying for jobs and be able to align your skills and capabilities to each job in a clear and concise way.
2. Prepare your resume AND LinkedIn profile. Do not assume if you attach a resume, the recruiter won’t look at your LinkedIn profile. Don’t assume if you apply with your LinkedIn profile, the recruiter won’t ask for a copy of your resume. Prepare both to be “scanned,” for seven seconds or less, not read, and make sure they match as close as possible. Use your LinkedIn profile to show more about yourself, such as volunteer activities (shows character) and references which hopefully describe soft skills such as cross-functional collaboration, timely execution of deliverables, and stakeholder alignment and management. Your LinkedIn profile needs to be complete and give the hiring manager and other interviewers a complete picture of you so they already “know you” before even talking to you. The more they “know you,” the more comfortable they will feel with hiring you after a few rounds of interviews.
3. Set up meet-and-greets. I hate networking and small talk. Period. But when I was in the market looking for a job, I set up a minimum of one, and most of the time two, meet-and-greets a week. Why? Because it’s critical to learn about how one type of job is different in various companies and industries. If you are transitioning careers, you need to understand more about the career you want to move into, the lingo used in the career, the challenges of the career, and what skills and capabilities will make you successful in that career.
You have friends, they have friends – find people who work in the job or career you want to move into. Use LinkedIn to reach out to people and ask if they will give you twenty minutes to discuss their career trajectory. Why twenty? Because most people will block off 30 minutes on their calendar if you ask for 20 minutes. If you are a member of LunchClub or other social media networking groups, use them. Just remember – met-and-greets should be used to learn more about the career, the company culture where your contact works, and what skills and capabilities are needed to be successful. They are not a time to ask for a job or if there are any openings. But if you are successful at starting to build a relationship, your contact may think about you if/when they hear about an opening. Then, don’t forget to send a thank-you note and stay in touch as you move through your career!
4. Use available resources. Whether you hire a career coach, sign up for a LinkedIn Premium account, or pick up a copy of the best-selling book, Wanted -> A New Career , don’t just rely on your own knowledge for your job search. Why? You are an expert in your field, such as marketing, business development, sales, research, right? Are you also an expert in job hunting? Do you have all the skills and knowledge about how to look for a job, or transition careers, or successfully interview? You would see a doctor for a serious illness and not self-diagnose so why wouldn’t you call upon experts for help you figure out the best way to approach finding the job you will be doing 40+ hours a week? Competition is fierce, and you can’t just “wing it." I have seen candidate debriefs where a candidate didn’t answer one question well enough and was eliminated from continuing in the hiring process. Don’t take the risk – educate yourself through all the resources available to you.
5. Be Patient! I know, you are going to hate this tip, but it’s true. If you haven’t read my article about the hiring process, read it. The hiring process is arduous, and anxiety ridden, even for the strongest candidates. It will take time. You may endure rejection. You may endure ghosting or rude people. Those are not places you want to work anyway. I have come in second place in jobs many times and been rejected outright from roles without a phone call. That’s okay. Every time I landed in a new role, I knew it was the right role, with the right culture. You will find the right role at the right time. I believe in you! Believe in yourself.