Take this quick survey to determine if you really need to breathe deeply about your job search strategy. Answer yes or no to the following questions:
1. Have you sent resumes to over 47 job leads and have not received one response at all?
2. Are you applying for any job with the hopes that you will take anything that you can get?
3. Do you have skills and talents but are afraid to use them because someone that you trust said to you to “Get a Real Job”?
4. Did you recently graduate or retire from the military and you don’t know what you are doing, only that you need a job?
5. Did you just recently leave a great job due to a company layoff and you are not sure where to go to find a compelling job offer where your talents, skills and experiences will be appreciated and valued?
If you answered yes to more of these questions than no, you are a worthy candidate to “breathe deeply,” as these are the early warning signs that you have a poor job search strategy. Let’s start now: Breathe in and count 1,2,3,4,5 and release slowly and count 1,2,3,4,5.
While breathing in, first and foremost, you must understand the needs that your skills sets are meeting for a particular sector of the workforce. While exhaling, spend a day learning about the needs of the major companies in your community. Check for companies that have headquarters in your area. Check for those companies’ competitors. Also check for newly opened businesses in your community via the Chamber of Commerce. Read online business news journals and note the “People In Business Section”. You may find information about mergers, acquisitions and new economic developments in your area. Other good ways to find company information are via organizations that work with the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), via the Department of Labor, Offices of Apprenticeships, Regional or local one-stop centers (see www.doleta.gov/oa) and military and family support centers. These are among the greatest ways to start to give credence to your job search.
• Focus your poor job search into a strategic job search strategy plan that will give you results. Target 10 major companies who seek professionals with your skills.
As you breathe on your second deep breath, breathe out with the resolve to highlight one to three career areas that you feel strongly will help solve problems that your targeted companies need to have solved. You may be interested, for example, in working in finance and accounting, as a financial analyst or a financial controller. All three areas are relevant and can be combined to form a targeted job search for one industry and three related job categories. Now focus your time in explaining 5 stories where you have successfully maneuvered in these areas.
• Focus your poor job search into a strategic job search strategy plan where you are adding your success stories on LinkedIn, in your cover letters and most certainly on your resumes. Add a bonus presentation video and make a visually appealing portfolio that highlights your abilities to solve problems that your targeted companies will have and that you will be able to assist them to solve. Companies are looking for professionals who can assist with meeting goals, offer relevant troubleshooting, bring creativity to the workforce and help the company to succeed. Demonstrate that you have done these things and you are sure to receive invitations to discuss your success rates.
As you take another deep breath, breathe out and connect with your professional network and share your talents on committees, in conferences and in online discussions where professionals are talking about trends and relevant issues important in your profession. An added bonus will be for you to help an entry-level professional or aspiring college graduate. Volunteer to speak at business fraternities on campus and share your knowledge. These experiences will allow you to build your network and will help you to pick up testimonies about your expertise and knowledge.
• Focus your poor job search into a strategic job search plan by adding a professional affiliation. This is the number one way to connect with industry professionals and potential recruiters via social media, conferences and local monthly business events.
Finally, as a you take your last deep breath, plan to focus your energies on your professional communications (resume, cover letter, online video resume, career blog). Of course, as you release your final breath, focus your energies on the relevance of your messages sent to potential hiring officials. Does your resume speak to your problems solved, actions taken and results given to meet weekly, monthly and quarterly goals? If not, go back and re-vamp. Have you strategically included keywords from your profession in your career correspondence? If you are having trouble with
this, hire a professional or attend resume workshops that will help you to share your successes in a meaningful manner.
• Focus your poor job search into a strategic job search strategy plan by knowing the best ways to attract your targeted companies in your targeted career field areas.