In today’s competitive employment market, job seekers have to be vigilant. They need to be knowledgeable about the latest trends and use technology to help them stand out from the crowd. Here are some tips for a successful job search.
Update LinkedIn Profile
LinkedIn has really exploded in the last couple of years. It’s a great resource for both employers and job seekers. Consider updating your photo and requesting skill endorsements from friends, family, co-workers, and colleagues. This gives your profile a fresh makeover and shows prospective employers that you take your online presence seriously. Many modern online applicant tracking systems request a link to a profile so getting ahead of the curve is a great idea.
Find a Connection
Studies have found that many companies will hire based on a recommendation. Technology today makes it so easy to keep track of new and old acquaintances. Connections can be a great way for getting your foot in the door at a company. LinkedIn offers an advanced search feature that allows you to quickly assess if you have any mutual connections employed at a company of interest. This feature allows searches by company, industry, and geographic location and then produces a listing of connections. If possible, set up a meet and greet with these connections. Making this face-to-face connection might be the turning point in the job search.
Follow Industry Leaders
Twitter is a great way to get real-time information. If there are certain companies or industries you want to work for, follow them on Twitter so you are in-tune with the latest news. Many companies will post new position openings, industry trends, partnerships and other useful information on their social media pages.
Consider Virtual Work
You might consider working remotely. The idea of virtual work can be intimidating to some people, but expanding a job search to include virtual opportunities could open new doors. A recent study found that job growth in the virtual community is expected to increase drastically in the next couple years. Many companies are beginning to realize the competitive advantage of offering this option to prospective employees. A recent Entrepreneur Study (2013) also indicated that 65 percent of employees find working remotely productive. This trend is changing the landscape for job seekers by eliminating the geographic barriers of finding the right job.
Seek Networking Opportunities
Networking is one of the most important pieces of the job-hunting process. You should be actively seeking networking opportunities. This could mean getting engaged with your university’s alumni association or identifying successful people in your field and requesting a coffee or lunch date. The more you get your name in front of influential people, the more likely you are to land the job of your dreams.
Joining associations related to your field of interest is another great way to network and learn about new employment opportunities. Many fields have one or more associations dedicated to providing career growth opportunities and informational sessions. While many of these associations require membership dues, the networking and insider information is invaluable and worth the added expense. Many of the meetings also begin or end with members sharing company openings. These formal meetings allow you to advertise your job search and connect with prospective employers in a face-to-face setting.
Get Familiar with Video
Video interactions are on the rise throughout the hiring process. Employers are hoping to get a better feel for prospective employee’s interpersonal skills and find that video conferencing is an effective and cost-efficient way to handle this process. You should be familiar and comfortable with the various video conferencing tools on the market today so you are not caught off-guard by an invitation to a video conference.
Get to Know Yourself
It goes without saying that you need to know and understand yourself before you can ever convince an employer that you’re worth their time. Spend some time assessing your skills, interests, and abilities prior to launching your job search. Take a pencil to paper and write down all your valid and relevant experiences. This exercise will get some of the interview prep process out of the way and identify a variety of stories to share when you land an interview. Throughout this process, think about the work you enjoy. This process will be extremely valuable in helping you identify employers and positions that meet your needs.
Prepare a Salary Range
Salary negotiation is one of the most dreaded conversations in the job search and interview process, but it doesn’t have to be completely uncomfortable. Understanding a feasible salary range and expectations will avoid wasted time pursuing jobs that won’t pay enough. You will want to sketch out a monthly budget that includes the worst-case scenario in expenditures. This will prepare you for the negotiating process and allow you to more efficiently search for jobs within your salary range.
Knock on the Door of an Employer
The career book What Color is Your Parachute states that one of the most effective job hunting methods is to physically visit a company and ask about job openings. The book implies that this method works approximately 47 percent of the time. This job search strategy is bold, proactive and takes courage, but it might pay off. Do some research and write down a list of companies that spike your interest. From there, set goals for visiting the companies to inquire about openings. You might just be surprised with the success rate!
These are just a few good practices in today’s job search process. As you can see, social media plays a very important role in connecting job seekers with potential employers. In addition, doing a bit of self-discovery can also have a huge impact. If you are looking for a new job this year, spend some time implementing the strategies highlighted above. Hopefully, you will be pleased with the results.