You have to take a new approach in your job search to get new results. Gone are the days where you can apply to a few jobs and get an interview. Now, you must take a more aggressive approach to land your next position. This multi-part series gives you 21 tactics that you can put to work right now to build the right strategies for your job search.
This the second post in our multi-part series with 21 tactics to create your own stimulus for your job search. These are not theories or exercises - but real strategies that you can use in your search today to move the ball forward. You can stop waiting and start building your own stimulus plan to take control of your job search and career right now.
To get the most out of these strategeis, read through them with the intention of picking at least one of them. These are all tested and proven to help people land new jobs in the post-COVID job search market. These can only work for you if you put them to work for yourself. So, remember all you have to do is pick 1 tactic from this list and try it out. It is these little things that add up in a big way for people actively searching for jobs right now.
Below are tactics #6 - #11 in our series of 21 for 21 Strategies to Jump Start Your Job Search. Miss tactics 1 - 5 that were in the first part of this series? Check it out here.
#6 - Update Your Social Media Profiles
This is the easiest and most overlooked strategy that can also have the most impact on your job search and long-term career. Your social media profiles matter even if you are not actively on social media or applying to jobs through social media platforms. Why? Because most employers are using social media in their talent acquisition process and analyzing your social media - even if you did not apply through that platform. These programs give employers insights into whether you are a good fit for the specific job, their culture, and their overall needs. Thus, you want your social media profile to further your efforts and not to hold you back.
Regardless of whether you are actively looking or not, everyone should update their social media profiles every six months. This doesn’t need to be a comprehensive update if you are working from a solid profile already. Instead, it can be a refresh to include the details about your recent achievements and skills. This will keep your profile in line with your current goals - for job search or to improve your credibility in your current role.
LinkedIn is the most popular and effective social media site for a job search, but there are plenty of other ones out there that can have a bigger impact for some people. The key for purposes of job search and overall professional credibility is to make sure that all of your social media profiles are consistent in terms of timeline, skills, and messaging. If you do nothing else today, make sure to take the time to make sure that all of your public social media profiles are consistent.
Here are the 3 things that have the most impact on the effectiveness of your profile:
*Descriptions - add content under each of the entries on your profiles to provide context as to what you did. This will add keywords to your profile that make you searchable on the system and it will map into your candidate profile with many ATS.
*Skills - this section is mapped into most employers’ ATS if they have an integration with LinkedIn. So, failing to have the skills on your profile means that you will be viewed as unqualified for the job you are applying to. Less is definitely not more on this section.
*Media - HR people and their systems are skimming, but adding the visual content to illustrate your experience adds depth. This is what helps you to stand-out and grab people’s attention. The ATS/HRIS won’t pull it, but having videos, pictures, and other content on your profile beyond the descriptions will add tremendous credibility to you and your message.
#7 - Build Your Network
This tactic probably won’t have an immediate impact on your job search. But, if put to work consistently, it does have the biggest pay-off in your efforts now and for the rest of your career. The value of having social media profiles is so that you can stay connected with and regularly engage with people in your professional network. So, don’t stop at updating your profile.
More than that, COVID has forced us all online in most areas of our lives. Professional networking is no different. To make this pivot, you don’t have to share a bunch of content to be effective in building your network. Instead, you simply need to start with the basics and focus on those things that have the biggest impact. Here are the things to do that effective grow networks online for your job search and advance your career:
*Evaluate Your Existing Connections - go through the list (either on social media or download an excel sheet) to see who you are connected with currently. This will enable you to quickly identify your gaps so that you can work strategically to close them.
*Add Your Existing Contacts - There are people that you know right now that you are not connected with on LinkedIn or other social media that you use professionally. After looking at your list, you can identify who those people are and send out invites. In the LinkedIn app, you can also opt to connect your phone contacts and run through the list of people in your contacts to invite to connect.
*Send Out Invites - take the action and send out the invitations to connect on LinkedIn, Angel List, GitHub, or any other social networking site that you use professionally. You can’t build your network in a sustainable way if you don’t have a place to stay connected with those people.
*Follow-up With New Connections - send out a thank you message to that person on the system that you connected with them on. This is easy to do and less invasive than a call or email. This message can be as personalized as makes sense for the situation. Not sure what to say? Check out our form here.
#8 - Create Your Hit List
No one should network or apply to jobs in a vacuum - meaning that you need to create some strategy to know why you are doing what you are and whom you should try to connect with in those efforts. Mindlessly sending out connection invites or applying to jobs is going to lead to random results. You have to create a strategy to where you want to land if you want to make the most of your time in the job search. And, if you are actively networking as part of a job search, then you can expect people will ask you this question - where do you want to work and what do you want to do there?
It is ok if you do not have a definitive answer right now or at the time of networking. But, you need to be able to tell people what it is that you are looking for and to get their suggestions. So, you should be prepared for these conversations. You should also use that information to set-up job alerts on the career sites of the companies where you want to work. This will enable you to be the first to know when jobs of interest come up and to enable you to reallocate your time if the openings that are there are not a fit for what you want.
To put this strategy into action, you simply need to create a list with the following:
*Top 5 (or 10) Companies where you want to work - now look at your connections list, do you know anyone there? If not, you know what you need to do.
*5 Places You Never Want to Work - prevents you from wasting time and enables you to focus
*5 - 10 Companies that you want to learn more about. This maybe list is for research so that you can go out and learn more about what they do and who works there.
#9 - Connect With Recruiters
Every recruiting and staffing firm works with different clients. Sure, there is some overlap. Connecting with many different recruiting and consulting firms will broaden your reach so that you are considered for as many jobs as possible. This is ok to do and frankly, in your best interests.
Why? Because the recruiting firm isn’t working for you. Their client is the employer. So, their job is to find the right talent for their client and it is not to make sure you have a job. To do this, the recruiting firm needs to connect with and engage people that are qualified for the employer’s job. But, for many firms, they will only get paid by the employer if they place someone in the role.
There are also times when recruiting agencies will market candidates to their clients. This is done strategically to their clients where the recruiter believes there is a need, the employer cannot post a job publicly, or the recruiter is simply trying to grow the employer’s account. There may not be an open job posted publicly when a recruiter does this. And, people are hired from being marketed to companies like this. In order to access this potential avenue of opportunities, you need to have your resume in the recruiting firm’s database and have talked to a recruiter first.
Here are the things to do in order to effectively incorporate recruiters in your job search:
*Apply to a job - finding a job that you are interested in and that you are generally qualified for is the best way to get in front of a recruiter. This avoids the dreaded general resume inbox and will likely get you assigned to a recruiter that will review your resume.
*Follow-up - you need to stay top of mind with recruiters. This doesn’t mean becoming a pest, but staying on their radar the same way that you do with other people in your network. Check-in periodically (directly or through their job boards) to keep up the momentum.
*Connect with many recruiters - some firms will have more work than others and some will simply have a better match for your search. Thus, you need to connect with many of them in order to identify who has the right resources right now for you.
*Keep track of your efforts - you need to know which firm is submitting you for which job. If you don’t you run the risk of being double-submitted and that will almost always end up in rejection across the board because the employer will want to avoid a dispute over who (or if) to pay the recruiter’s fee.
#10 - Join Groups
COVID hasn’t stopped most professional groups or associations. Most organizations have moved online or are offering some kind of hybrid option to keep their membership engaged. Participating in groups is still an effective way to build your professional network and your resume if done the right way.
Keep in mind that you could be in countless groups and on an endless stream of learning events. That is a waste of time and money. Instead, know why you are looking for a group and try them out before you commit to the long-term. Everyone joins groups or associations for different reasons. There are also plenty of free or low cost organizations which can have a direct impact on your networking and professional development. You can be as involved as you want with a group, but the more you participate then the more you can connect with people and potentially build effective professional relationships beyond your current organization or circles.
Here is how to find the groups that are right for your goals:
*Economics. Cost is a real factor of whether or not most people will join. And, just because a group is expensive it does not mean that it can help advance your interests now or in the future. So, make sure you have a budget in mind when selecting any groups to join and that your budget is set with your bigger job search/career strategy in view.
*Return on Investment. A pay to play strategy is a bad one for most people’s job search or career. Look for groups that actually contribute to your bigger objectives. Can you get what you are looking for by joining? Are you able to commit the time necessary to the group to see the ROI? If not, than you probably need to find a different group or to retool your strategy.
*Audience. This is key to identifying whether the group will help you to meet your job search and broader career goals. The audience and members of the group must align with what you want from the group in order to make it worth your time. If in doubt, see if you can attend the events of the group before joining to get a better sense of whether you can connect with the people or not.
*Opportunity. Is there a chance to grow with the group? Or, to join the leadership or a committee? If so, that will open doors for your long-term growth. The best opportunities are those that give back to the group or its mission where you are also using or growing your skills in the process.
*Interest. We do what we enjoy, so if you do not care or have an interest in what the group does then you will not stay engaged for the long term. Find a group that does something that you care about or that you want to learn more about. This will make it easier for you to commit your time and to work to find the opportunities for growth within the organization.
#11 - Attend Events
The final strategy in this post is to find things that you can participate in to build your network or to build skills. This is not another e-learning course you take on demand, but an event where you can learn and grow your network. You do not have to do this in-person to see the results. You simply need to change the way you approach the professional event in order to see a return on your time for the purposes of your job search.
Here is what you should do to make the most out of online events for your job search and career development for the short-term and long-term:
*Ask a Question. The good thing about being online is that you don’t have to walk to the front of crowded rooms to get a mic to ask a question. Instead, you can simply ask in the chat or turn on your mic. Asking a thoughtful question that opens conversation is a way to make your attendance known and to be remembered. Don’t overthink the question, just ask it. Chances are that other people may be interested as well.
*Participate in the Chat. Online events will frequently have attendee chats that are running parallel to the presenter or that otherwise supplement the content. Be engaged in this chat. Don’t overshadow the presenter, but showcase your own knowledge and ask questions in here to help build your own brand or network.
*Connect with the Speaker Offline. At a big event, the best thing to do is to follow-up directly with the speaker to create a conversation. Send the person an email or connection on LinkedIn. Ask them a question and see where the conversation goes. At a minimum, you are growing your professional network and at best advancing your job search.
*Connect with the Organizers. The groups and event organizers have broad professional networks and want to connect with people in their industry. Reach out to them by email or through LinkedIn to start the conversation. This contact is not to ask for a job, but to get to know them and to learn about what they do and the industry/profession. These people may even be able to make referrals or recommendations for other people in the industry or profession that you should connect with.
*Find Somewhere to Speak. Have expertise that you want to show-off or want to grow your professional brand? Look for places where you can speak. This will put you front and center and help to deepen your credibility on the topic that you would like to be known for. Plus, you can add it to your resume.
That's it for this part. You now have 6 full strategies that you can put to work right now. They will all advance your job search. To get started, simply pick one of these tactics and put it to work for your job search today. Some of these items can be done right away and others will be ongoing. Whatever you choose to do, make sure that you actually do it.
Miss the first 5 of the 21 for 21 series? Check out that post here. Ready for more? Join today to get the next strategies in our multi-part series "21 for 21 - Strategies to Create Your Own Job Search Stimulus" delivered straight to your inbox.
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