Is it Time to Rethink Your Job Search Strategy?
Maybe you’ve been applying to every job in sight for months. Maybe you’ve been interviewing like crazy. Maybe you’re getting new messages from Recruiters on LinkedIn all day long. But one thing remains constant: you still haven’t gotten a job offer.
So what’s the problem? Why haven’t you found “the one” yet?
It’s entirely possible that you are doing everything right and that this dry spell has nothing to do with you. But, it’s also possible that something you’re doing (or not doing) is holding you back.
If you have a sneaking suspicion that the problem might in fact be you, it’s probably time for a Job Search Audit.
Where do you start?
From the beginning, of course! But I’m not just talking about your resume. You need to examine each and every step of your job search process in order figure out where things are going wrong.
In the interest of simplicity, let’s break your job search up into three parts: the beginning, middle, and end. If you can’t seem to land an interview, something may be going wrong at the beginning of your search. If you get tons of phone interviews, but can’t seem to make it to the in person round, you’re going to want to take a closer look at the middle. Pretty simple, right?
1) What types of jobs are you applying for?
Be honest with yourself here. Are you applying for jobs that are well suited for your experience?
2) How do you feel about your Resume?
Have you tailored your Resume for the jobs you’re applying to? Is all of your contact information up to date? Have you taken the time to highlight your awesome achievements and accomplishments in an interesting and easy to follow format? Is it keyword optimized?
When it comes to your Resume, you need to be at the top of your game. If you aren’t, I guarantee someone else will be.
3) What about that pesky Cover Letter?
I’m not going to lie to you. Cover Letters are kind of a pain in the you-know-what. And yes, sometimes they don’t even get read. But, a stellar Cover Letter could be the difference between landing an interview or landing in the “Thanks but No Thanks” pile.
So, is your Cover Letter concise, engaging, and customized? Do you take time to update it for each and every position you’re applying to?
4) Where are you finding jobs to apply to?
If you’re only submitting applications through an online job board, you can stop your audit right here. We’ve found the problem. Sending your resume off into the black hole of an online application is not enough. You have to get creative! Network. Network. Network.
5) When are you applying?
If the job you’re applying to was posted a month ago, chances are the company is already pretty far into their interview and hiring process. Be sure to apply for new opportunities when then are still new. The early applicant gets the interview!
6) Let’s talk about your Social Media presence...
Is your LinkedIn profile up to date? Do you have an engaging Headline and Summary? Are you actively sharing relevant content? Do you follow companies that you’re interested in? The more active you are, the easier it is for Recruiters to find you!
7) Are you following up?
So you feel good about the start of your job search strategy, but what happens after you submit an application or find an exciting new opportunity? Are you reaching out to Recruiters or Connections at the company you’re applying to? Are you doing it in an engaging way? (Hint: “Did you get my application?” or “I really want to work here!” don’t count).
8) How is your e-mail and phone etiquette?
Are you responding to e-mails and returning phone calls in a timely manner? Is your outgoing voicemail message professional? Are you using spell check and proofing your e-mails for grammatical errors before you hit send? Your e-mail and phone etiquette can leave a lasting impression – make sure it’s positive.
9) You got a phone interview! Are you prepared?
Have you thoroughly researched the company? Do you know the job description inside and out? Don't forget to check out your interviewer’s LinkedIn profile and come prepared with questions to ask at the end of your call!
10) Do your research.
Again, have you researched the company, checked out your interviewer's the LinkedIn profiles or company bios, and created a list of relevant questions to ask during your interview?
11) How are your in-person interview skills?
Are you dressing the part? Do you arrive on time (5 – 10 minutes early)? Are you well-researched and prepared to talk about how your experience relates to the role you are interviewing for? Are you aware of your body language? I strongly recommend doing a practice interview with a trusted friend, colleague, or Career Coach.
12) What’s going on with your Thank You notes?
Yes, you have to send them. They really do matter. So, are you requesting a business card from every person you meet and sending them each a personalized thank you note shortly after your interview? The sooner you send them, the better!
13) Always Be Closing
If you want the job, ask for the job! Show the people you meet with that you are excited about the opportunity. Always be prepared to talk about your availability to start, your salary expectations, and why you are without a doubt the right person for the job.
Once you’ve figured out where things are going wrong, you can take steps to right them. Were you looking for opportunities in all the wrong places? That’s an easy fix. Is your resume not as polished as it could be? Ask a friend or trusted colleague to look it over. Do you need to brush up on your interview skills? Arrange a mock interview with someone who will provide you with tangible, actionable feedback.
You can’t fix anything until you know what is broken. Taking the time to audit your job search and ensure that you are putting your best foot forward will help you to get back on track.