Guide to an effective job search.
In our experience candidates who are successful in a job search invariably share three key characterises they have a career focus, have crafted a sharp messaging through a crisp resume and a cover letter and are adept at the art of networking. They develop their own personal brand, target the right industry & company, and actively maintain a professional network. Each of the above element is a topic of a separate blog that will soon follow. Below is our 101 how-to guide to for a successful job search that can adapted to jump start the process during any stage.
Career focus and goals.
First, It is important to understand your aptitude and attitude i.e. what you are good at and what you enjoy doing. For example are you good with numbers? Do you excel in interactions with people? Once you have identified a shortlist of skills and attributes, the next step is to see what are the typical roles and jobs that require your skills set .e.g. is it in accounting, sales or human resources. What are the typical job titles, academic qualifications, certifications and experience requirement? Once the above is done, you should have a good idea of your career goal.
The right marketing tools.
Ideally, you should tailor your resume to each position you are applying for. You should have a baseline resume that lists all your experiences and skills and then depending on the job you can expand on some and take out items that are not relevant to the position you are applying for.
The importance of an effective cover letter is hard to overstate. It is a tool to let your voice comes across, and share your story with a prospective employer. You can convey your passion and emphasize how you can add value to the position.
No matter stage of your career you are at, building a professional network offer substantial benefits. The key to effective networking is identifying the right individuals – i.e. professionals working in either your desired functional area, target company or a particular region. LinkedIn is an excellent resource to identify these individuals. While LinkedIn also offers in-mail messages, in our experience the emails sent to the work email address has a better response rate. Busy professional are always connected to their work emails, therefore, there is a good chance your email will be seen. Click here on how to find work emails article (tips and tricks). However, that this does not guarantee a response.
You need to craft a very personal introductory email. Make sure it is concise and respectful. Start with why you are writing to them and if you have something in common e.g. alumni, attended the same conference etc. See here for tips to write an introductory email. If you are in the same city request if they have time for a quick cup of coffee. Offer to meet them near their workplace. If that is not possible, suggest a quick phone call.
It is better to prepare for these meeting or informational interviews. Have a list of questions/ talking points but don’t ask anything that you can find on google. Click here to see a list of good questions. Remember the objective of the meeting is not to ask for a job but rather develop an understanding of the company and establish long term relationship. The person could have insights about the hiring process of the company and may be able to put your resume in front of the hiring manager.