If you seek to land a job within the next month or at least two months, there are four strategic actions to implement immediately. Regardless of whether you’re currently in employment and looking to change jobs or a recent graduate embarking on a job search, these tips will help you make the transition you desire.
1. Look in the right places
Job posting on the internet has become more or less a ‘traditional’ career search solution. In-demand jobs get immediate responses; systems administrators and database developers are more likely to get quick expressions of interest from potential employers, sometimes on the same day of posting on a job site.
You may want to have a presence on top job sites such as Monster, LinkUp, Indeed or CareerBuilder, as well as niche information technology job boards like Dice or eFinancialCareers for finance/accounting. Registering on local recruitment firm sites is also recommended, as they sometimes recruit for job opportunities within their own candidate database without even posting the job on third party sites.
Networking on LinkedIn is highly recommended for the simple fact that it is the world’s largest online professional network and leveraged by serious, career-minded individuals.
- Use your social connections to gain referrals
- Check out LinkedIn jobs for opportunities that match your skills
- Reach out to recruiters, human resources managers and general managers in your industry
- Use LinkedIn company profiles to discover employers in your industry
If you don’t already have a LinkedIn profile, create it today and treat it like your online resume. Make sure you create a complete profile to present yourself compellingly before staffing agencies and potential employers. You may need to spend an entire weekend on this task, but you will be making a long-term investment in your personal brand.
Connecting with alumni has its merits: you may get helpful introductions or learn about vacancies at an early stage of your career search. Also contact the most influential people in your professional or friends’ network to identify opportunities and understand the job landscape and trends in your industry.
2. Make your resume stand out
A great resume that lands you an interview is a sum of many details, from presentation and content to your qualifications, skills, accomplishments and interests. For instance, a published paper will look good on the resume of a graduate seeking a research-oriented job. If you’re an experience finance or IT professional, make sure you:
- Create a ‘key accomplishments’ section where you give a few examples of how you applied your skills;
- Quantify those accomplishments: how much money did projects earn under your watch, how big a budget did you manage, how many people did you train; and
- Where possible, start bullet points with action verbs such as ‘created’, ‘launched’, ‘pioneered’, ‘consolidated’, ‘coordinated’, ‘initiated’, ‘delivered’, ‘generated’, ‘improved’, to name some.
3. Make a good impression at your interview
The interview doesn’t have to be intimidating if you’ve done your homework. Managers will have formed an opinion about you from your resume and seek to assess and confirm job and company fit at the interview. Focus on creating a connection with the manager. A prior understanding of the company’s culture, mission and values is critical.
Managers will be looking for qualities necessary to succeed in the job. If you’re applying for a leadership position, exude confidence, make eye contact and speak naturally. Rehearsing before the interview can go a long way.
Have at least a rough idea of what you envision in your new role. By indicating that you will stick around for a few years, you can address the manager’s concern regarding turnover.
Be prepared for common questions such as naming your strengths and weaknesses, and reasons for leaving your current company. Where possible use story-telling to describe your capabilities, don’t discuss weaknesses in depth, and avoid criticizing your current employer.
4. Use a recruiter
You can let recruiting firms (staffing agencies for employers) do the heavy-lifting for you. They have relationships with companies and the best staffing agencies offer you access to a large network. Depending on whether you’re looking for a permanent job or a short-term/temp-to-hire position, you can use a recruiter to broaden the scope of your search and connect with many employers in your niche. The time you save searching for companies on your own can go into other profession-related activities or commitments.