Have you resolved that 2019 is your year to job search and land a new job?
Your year to be ready–just in case an amazing, unexpected career opportunity comes up?
Your year to put more energy into proactively managing your career?
If this sounds like you, then follow these 4 steps to grab that role faster:
1. First, Get Focused
Before you do anything else, get clear on the role you want to pursue. Don’t worry about being too narrow. This is key for 3 reasons:
You’ll be Happier
Set yourself up for success by aiming for the type of work you enjoy doing the most. Make a list of the skills you enjoy using and those that you don’t. Use this list as an acid test when you’re considering a job. Don’t put yourself into a position where you’ll take the first thing that comes along just to get out of your current job, or you’ll run the risk of starting another job search in no time.
Others Can More Easily Help You
By knowing what you want and being specific, your network will be clear and better able to help. If you say to a connection, “I’m open to anything,” what will they conjure up? Whether you’re staying the course, or you plan to pivot, guide their thinking.
“I’d like to stay in finance, but I’d like to move from the hospitality industry into the healthcare space. Do you know anyone I could talk with?”
“I really enjoy the hands-on aspects of data analytics, so I’m looking for a role where I can immerse myself in the numbers rather than go back to managing a team.”
Hiring Managers Will Understand What You Have to Offer
Hiring managers who read your resume and LinkedIn profile can easily connect the dots between what you have in your written tools and the job they’re looking to fill. Recruiters won’t take the time to look at all of the possibilities and potential you have, so you need to do that for them with targeted, branded tools.
2. Perfect Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile
Once you’ve defined your target roles, update, polish, and modernize your resume, tailoring it to every single job.
Before you submit, compare it against the job description for keywords and ensure you prioritize most relevant achievements in those first few bullets. You can use an online tool to check your keyword hit rate.
If you’re pursuing two different career tracks, for example, one as a manager and one as an individual contributor, then create two different resumes highlighting relevant achievements for each area of expertise. Omit achievements that don’t apply, and don’t include more than 15-20 years of career history.
Refresh your LinkedIn profile and make sure it complements your resume. Include a clear, head and shoulders profile photo with a plain background (no shadows or cropped-out friends). Include a descriptive headline (versus the default company and current position) and compelling summary in first person voice.
3. Practice Interviewing!
This is what I hear from job seekers all of the time: “If I can just get my foot in the door, I’ll be fine.”
Most job hunters spend a lot of time perfecting their resume and profile and then decide to wing it in the interview.
Treat the job interview as you would any important work presentation or performance and devote at least two hours of practice with a coach or a friend and get comfortable answering questions.
It can be overwhelming anticipating every possible question, but it doesn’t have to be.
Cover your bases by practicing succinct responses to the basics such as “Tell me about yourself,” “What are Your Key Strengths,” “Tell me about your areas for improvement,” “Why should we hire you?” and “Why do you want to work here?”
Be ready for a plethora of behavioral interview questions by having ready at least 6-8 strong SOAR (Situation Opportunity Action Result) stories. Also work on how to build likability with your interviewer and know how to close the interview.
4. Network Like You Mean It!
Once you’ve sharpened your focus and messaging, perfected your tools, and nailed down your interview basics, it’s time to get in touch with your connections and request informational interviews.
Make a list of your warm connections—family, friends, former coworkers, people you volunteer with or regulars you see at professional association events. This is a good place to start and gain confidence.
Then branch out to Tier 2–next-level connections and acquaintances you know who work (or would know someone who works) for your target companies. Finally, identify Tier 3 contacts–people you don’t know at all, but want to know because they work where you’d like or do the type of work you’re interested in.
Remember, your mission is to always gather information and get the names of at least 2 more people NOT to ask if they know about any open jobs. If you focus on having a conversation and asking good questions, people will ask you about you, at which point they’ll share relevant job information if they have it.
Stay in your contact’s good graces by following up with a thank-you note and staying in touch by sharing helpful articles and information.
Activate these 4 steps and your 2019 career goals are well within reach!
I’m Dalena Bradley, job interview and career marketing coach dedicated to helping you communicate your value, stand out from the competition, and win the job!
Contact me to discuss how we can collaborate.