Don't let the luck of the Irish fuel your job search — create your own luck!
Here we go again. The nerve-racking, nail-biting, tedious task of searching for a new job lurks ahead as you stare at your blank computer screen; but the job search doesn't need to be all bad. In fact, it can be fun and rewarding with the right mindset and some handy job-search tips.
If you're currently unemployed, then you might feel some pressure to find your next position as quickly as possible. On the other hand, if you're currently in a position, but you're looking to expand your horizons, you might be more relaxed about your job search and more open to creative tips for job seekers. Either way, there are steps you can take to create your own luck in what can sometimes be an overwhelming job market.
What is your ideal job?
For some, achieving a position that's "ideal" might seem like a faraway dream. Many, though, have found this to be possible. It takes getting crystal clear on what's really important to you in an ideal job. Is it flexibility? Is it a prime location? Is it a job where you never need to deal with traffic to and from work? Is it a conservative environment, or more relaxed? Is your manager hands-off? Is your work one-on-one, client-based, or collaborative? What's the minimum you'd like to get paid? Is it a larger fortune 500 company, or a smaller independently owned company? These are the types of questions you need to ask yourself to get clear on your ideal position. You can then prioritize your list of items and take that into account as you research positions and interview.
What is your ideal company?
Job fit is essential for career success. Instead of stressing or coming from a place of desperation about your next career move, use this job search tip: take a moment to ask yourself what you're looking for in your ideal company, similar to what you're looking for in your ideal job. From the culture to the personality of the leaders to the location of the company, these are all variables to consider. When you have a sense of clarity on what you're looking for in a company, you can clearly identify the types of companies you want to interview with, as well as those you want to avoid.
What's your elevator pitch?
Do you know what to say when you're asked, "What type of work do you do?" Be able to respond immediately by creating a 30 to a 60-second elevator pitch. This "elevator pitch" should hone in on what you do, how you do it and the benefit you provide. For example, "I help small businesses succeed by fostering right relations, compliance, and training."
Refer to the Mind Tools article, Crafting an Elevator Pitch, for some helpful guidance. Though the article speaks about business owners, I find that it is still relevant and contains tips for job seekers, as well.
Make a game plan and be consistent
When you're searching for a new job, there is power in consistency and numbers. Once you're clear about your ideal job and the type of company you'd like to work for, you're ready to lay out a game plan and begin your research. Determine what personal sales tools you need to support your process (outlined in the remainder of this post), take action to create or update them, and then decide how many jobs you'll apply for per day, per week, and so on. Research career sites like Careerbuilder.com and Monster.com and make a decision to apply for at least three jobs per week, for example. I've had success with sites such as these in the past, and I also found that with consistency and focus came results.
Update your resume
It goes without saying that your resume should reflect your most recent experience and should also include a headline that describes your areas of expertise and key accomplishments within 2-3 sentences. It might be worth hiring a resume service to support you in creating a resume that represents you and your skills in the best light and also fits today's trends and expectations when it comes to resume writing.
Tailor your cover letter for each company
Taking the time to update your cover letter so it's specific to the company you're submitting to shows initiative and is an essential job search tip. It means you took the time to research and better understand the company and their needs before applying for the position.
Update your LinkedIn profile
With more than 414 million users, LinkedIn is one of the top networking sites for professionals. Companies and recruiters often utilize LinkedIn in hopes of finding their next star talent. If you have a profile you haven't updated in awhile; you need to take action to update it as soon as possible. A completed profile should include all of your relevant work experience, skills and certifications, education, profile picture, and a catchy tagline or phrase describing what you do. For more tips, refer to M.A.Smith's post, Is Your LinkedIn Sending the Wrong Message?
Run a Google search for your name
Many don't think to Google their name to see what comes up, but I promise you, many organizations will if they're considering hiring you. It's wise to do an online search every so often to see what comes up under your name. The results might surprise you. On that note, be sure to keep your social media profiles private if you don't want your employer, or prospective employer(s), to see posts about your personal life.
Create a personal website
Having a personal website with your bio and resume has a couple of advantages. One, you can use the link on business cards so other professionals and employers can check out your site at their convenience, and two, it gives you quick access to your resume when you need it. You can create a simple, yet professional website for a reasonable price with sites such as eHost.com, Wordpress, and Squarespace. I suggest paying the small fee to avoid ads that can pop up across the "free" site builders available.
Get out there and be seen
Though many say it's "what you know," I prefer to say, "it's who knows you" when it comes to opportunities in the work arena. The more you attend industry and networking events, the more you're connecting with people who might be your access to a new job or big career move. Volunteering is another great way to connect with people. You just never know when someone might know someone who needs your skill set.
When it comes to job search tips, all you need is to start with a couple of the items above to find gold at the end of your rainbow, or, at least, a new job that you enjoy at the end of your job search. Happy hunting, and good luck!
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