Money & Career
Effective Job Search Strategies
8/31/2017 3:36:08 PM
Job Search

Even with a local growing economy, finding a job that is right for you can be a challenge. The days of merely sending in an application, resumé, and cover letter to a potential employer and then waiting for the phone to ring have gone the way of dot matrix and dial-up. According to McDonald Carheel, President of Carheel Consulting, these changes, such as online applications, social media, and job boards have made it easier for qualified applicants and harder for those less qualified to attain employment. "Because employers have increased their talent pools, they can afford to be more selective, which doesn’t necessarily benefit job seekers who don’t meet or exceed the employer’s job requirements,” he says. 

Job candidates need to stand out from the ever-growing pool of qualified people. Stay positive and improve your odds of employment by taking these steps to improve your presentation to potential employers.

Stay motivated and active. Send out at least one resumé or completed job application each day. Job hunting is a skill that improves with practice.
Create a personal marketing plan. List the companies where you’d like to work. Research what they do and their role in the industry and where you might fit in. When you do get that first interview, you’ll be prepared, knowledgeable, and able to ask intelligent questions.

Be honest with your skills and abilities. Make improvements where necessary. Job seeker support groups can be helpful, but if possible, hire a professional job counselor.

Tweak your resumé. Your resumé is your calling card to clearly tell a potential employer who you are and what you can do for them. Carheel advises that the content of your cover letter and resumé ultimately determines if you are qualified and moves the interview process forward. Study resumés of others who have successfully gained employment. Include key words that may help move your resumé beyond the filters and screeners. Ensure that your cover letter and resumé accurately reflect your purpose, passion, qualifications, and how the employer will benefit from hiring you. Review the employer’s job description to gain insight into the responsibilities of the job as well as what requirements the employer seeks. Your resumé should reflect that you have performed or have knowledge of the tasks associated with the job responsibilities, and your relevant experience, skills, and education should demonstrate that you meet or exceed the job requirements.

Set up job alerts with employer career websites. This is an effective way to stay abreast of their specific job opportunities as they become available. A similar option is to create a profile and set up job alerts on job boards such as Indeed, which allows you to customize your job search based on the types of jobs, industries, locations, and employers that interest you. "The benefit of using sites like Indeed is that you can save time by researching multiple jobs, receiving job notifications from multiple employers, and applying for many of those jobs through a single website, rather than going to each individual employer’s website,” Carheel says.

Practice interview skills by role-playing with friends or family. Rehearse the expected questions, but also be prepared for the curveballs that force you to think on the spot.

Realize the importance and value of networking. Carheel says networking is the most effective way to look for work. Knowing people and letting them know you are job seeking can result in job leads that may not be posted. And in order to stand out from the crowd of applicants, having someone in your corner to put in a good word for you can make all the difference.

Be open-minded to relocation. The top 10 states with high unemployment rates account for nearly 57 percent of the country's total unemployment, meaning there is enormous competition in those areas. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Louisiana ranks fourth in the country for high unemployment. If necessary, consider moving to an area with more opportunities and less competition.

Maintain a positive professional online presence. When employers consider a candidate’s job application, they often then go straight to the internet to get a truer sense of a person’s personality. Be present on several different social media sites. If there are unsavory photos and content linked to your name, delete it as best you can.

Pursue your passion. Carheel recommends seeking a job you are passionate about. "Passion illuminates a candidate on paper, over the phone, and in person. Those who are passionate about their work typically perform better, which benefits both the individual and the employer.”

Leveraging LinkedIn

What it is: LinkedIn is a professional networking site and can be a powerful resource for job seekers. Through the website, you can search for job openings, expand your network, and seek referrals. You can join groups dedicated to your own profession. Recruiters often look to LinkedIn to find qualified candidates. Carheel says, "LinkedIn is a great tool to research who you already know or who you need to know in a particular industry, and provides a platform to express interest in working for prospective employers, or inquire about the most effective way to submit a cover letter and resumé for consideration.”

What it isn’t: LinkedIn is not the primary tool to use to find a job. It is not a job board where a broad range of jobs are advertised.

Effectively utilizing LinkedIn:
  • First, include a professional headshot photo with no other people or pets. 
  • Connect with as many people as possible, as your visibility is directly linked to your number of connections. 
  • Join LinkedIn Groups to focus your search. Carefully and professionally "like” and comment on good discussions. Post articles you find interesting and start new discussions or post a meticulously edited article you have written on LinkedIn Pulse. 
  • Click on the "Jobs” link at the top of your home page and specify "Preferences.” This makes you more visible to recruiters and employers.
Posted by: Angie Kay Dilmore | Submit comment | Tell a friend

Categories: Career

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