Job Search Tips

A friend of my friend, after over 10 years of devoted service to the company, was made redundant during a massive layoff. Right away she made use of the outplacement services provided by her former company. (Some companies are very nice when they lay off people.)

She went to numerous job search seminars, workshops and consultations to get up to speed on the current job search practices. The workshops helped my friend’s friend to create a dazzling generic resume and cover letter. It made her sound like she was the belle of the ball in the industry. She was very proud of it. She started applying everywhere she could see HERSELF working. That took her another few months. Now the belle felt more like a Cinderella in act 1. She was extremely frustrated by not being able to land a job.

Finally, my friend recommended I have a look at her resume. I asked to see her resumes and job descriptions for which she applied or wanted to apply. What I found out that she was barking up the wrong tree. She was applying for positions that she would never be hired for. Recruiters simply did not see her as the right candidate. I pointed out that she needed to change her job search direction. Once she did, she found the job within less than a month.

So what did she do differently after our conversation? What is the right direction? What does it mean barking up the right tree in a job search situation? What is it about the wrong direction that prevents you from getting interviews? Here are four tips that answer all these questions.

Tip 1:

Do not use a shotgun approach. It is common, when desperate for a job, to apply everywhere you can conceivably see yourself working. I get it. You are smart, intelligent. You can master any task you set your mind to. So what’s wrong with applying everywhere? Why does not this method result in job interviews? Well, in the current market conditions recruiters receive hundreds of resumes. They have the luxury of picking the cream of the crop – those who most closely match the job description. So, for you to get the job, you need to become the cream.

Now you may ask, how do you become such a candidate. First of all, you need to identify your job search direction. Those jobs will be the ones that the recruiter is sure you can do if you started today. And they are sure that the job you can do today is the same to the one you did yesterday. In general, you will be hired for what you did in the last 5 years. Conclusion: focus on finding the job posting that 80 per cent resemble the tasks that you did in the last 5 years.

Tip 2:

Find a quick way to get information about job openings. Remember my friend’s friend and the workshops she went to? At those workshops she was given a fat package full of all possible sources for finding job openings. The majority of job search advice suggests to diversify your search to networking, job centers libraries, the internet and others. Out of all the possible sources, the internet is the most complete and efficient.

Of course, if you want to try the role of a person of leisure and sip ice tea on a patio while waiting for job opportunities to find you, then using sources other than the internet is the way to go. Being a recruiter and knowing where employers source candidates mostly from the online source, I recommend to devote 70 per cent of your time to the internet.

Tip 3:

Now that the internet is your preferred and major source for finding job postings, use job search engines such as Indeed and Canadian Eluta. These engines aggregate all job postings that become available on companies’ websites and job boards. Subscribe to their alerts. You will receive daily or weekly lists of all new jobs that have come up on the market. Make sure you set up your alert based on the identified scope of your job search from Tip 1. And apply to the jobs ideally on the same day.

Tip 4:

Do you find tweaking your resume a tedious task? Most people do. I know I do. You can’t avoid doing it. But you can make it easier on yourself. Create a master resume where you list every task you did while you worked. This accomplishes 2 things: one, it gives you a sense of pride of how much you have accomplished. You get a reminder of what a valuable employee your former employer lost. Two, using this master resume will drastically accelerate tailoring your resume to job descriptions. You will simply be removing irrelevant to information and leaving behind quintessence of your career.

When you start your job search with these tips, you will not only avoid needless frustration and sense of overwhelm. When you focus your job search in the area of your expertise, recruiters see you as a VERY desirable candidate. They will be falling over themselves to meet you at the interview.

Marina is a Certified Human Resources Professional, with over 10 years combined experience in coaching, human resources and recruitment. She worked at large and small organizations, and understands challenges of both recruitment and job search. Her Human Resources experience will shed the light for the candidates into behind the scenes decision making process of recruiters and hiring managers. This insight will be invaluable to job seekers who are having difficulties in getting recruiters to call them back for job interviews.