Job Search 101: How to Land Your Next Gig in a Tough Job Market
No one ever said, "Boy, I love looking for a new job!" But here you are, looking for a job in a tough market. The first thing I will say to you as you set off on your job search, "You've got this"! It might be a tough market, but people ARE HIRING RIGHT NOW!
One thing to keep in mind as you start the search, the #1 person responsible to find your new position is you! People can and should help you, but you have to sit in the driver's seat.
Now that you are in the job market, there is definitely a right and a wrong way to find a new job. We are here to help you navigate.
Step 1: Let the World Know You Are in the Market!
PRO TIP: Tell the world you are looking for your next job!
The first big mistake that people who are looking for jobs do is try to keep it quiet. Let's be real for a minute; being laid off is hard. Losing your job is a blow to the ego. Trust me, I know, I've been there...twice (acquisitions are rough on HR professionals)! Here's the thing, a lot of people have been in your shoes. The good news is that 99.99% of those who lost their job eventually land a new job! That means you will too!
By letting the world know that you are looking, you are activating a whole army of people who are keeping their eyes and ears open for you. So, how do you let the world know? Simple, you open your mouth. You create several posts about your job search on all social media outlets that you have. You get your family and friends to share your post on their social media. You are now officially marketing yourself to the world!
Step 2: Resumes and LinkedIn - Know Your Story!
PRO TIP: Get your resume looked at by a professional.
If you have been caught in a layoff, chances are your resume and LinkedIn profiles are not ready for primetime. Now that you are in the business of marketing yourself, this is one of those times you want to consult with the professionals. The whole idea behind a resume is to help people understand what your professional story is. The best way to think about this is to think of the end result: When someone is done reading your resume (or finishing an interview with you for that matter) what do you want them to understand about you? The answer to that question is what I call "Your Story". Your story could be "the Process Guru" or the "SEO Genius". Whatever your story is, make sure it is the main idea when you are putting together your resume. Also, keep in mind that the average amount of time a recruiter looks at your resume on the initial screening is 7 seconds. So, for heavens sakes, tell your story quickly and efficiently.
If you are are not sure how to put together a resume, there are several great resume writing companies out there that range from next to nothing to over $1,000. Isotalent is my favorite option that starts at $79 and goes from there. I like them because this is a recruiting firm that knows what recruiters are looking for and how it should be laid out.
PRO TIP: Don't lie or embellish your resume. You will get caught eventually, and the results are never good!
As you put your resume together, make sure that your LinkedIn profile matches. When they don't, it is a sure-fire way for your application to get bounced out! As you put together your LinkedIn and resume, make sure you are thinking through the SEO keywords. Recruiters find your profile and resumes by searching for keywords to find a certain skillset. For example, if I am looking for a top-tier sales rep, I would search for "100% quota attainment" or "President's Club" (and variations of keywords). The best way to find keywords is to do a search for jobs you like and scan the job descriptions for key phrases.
Step 3: It Takes Work to Find Work!
PRO TIP: Set up a DAILY schedule to search for a job.
When you are out of work, you need to keep a daily schedule as if you are working. There are a lot of reasons for this, but mental health is at the top of the list. You need to set a time that you will adhere to every day, preferably in the morning that you are looking for work. Let's call it 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM that you follow that schedule every day. During that time, you are going to run down two parallel paths:
NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK! Go onto LinkedIn and add at least 20 contacts every day. Look for people whom you know, whom you have met in your personal world AND your professional world. In your connection note, let them know you are looking for a new opportunity and let them know what kind of opportunity, i.e. tax account manager or Sales Manager
APPLY, APPLY, APPLY! According to an article by TalentWorks, an application has an 8.3% chance of getting an interview. And it takes 10-15 interviews to get a job. This means you have to apply to over 200 applications to get a job! You also have a higher chance of getting your application picked if you are one of the first people to apply, which is why you want to start your daily searches first thing in the morning.
As you apply to different companies, do your research. Look online to see if you know anyone in the company you are applying with. If you do, reach out to them and have them put in a good word with the recruiter and hiring manager.
PRO TIP: Don't be afraid to take a "non-dream job" while you are looking for your dream job. This means your career might take a small detour for 18-24 months, but it will diversify your skill set and give you more depth.
There are a couple of things that are certain, and the most obvious one to me is that better times are coming. You WILL land a new job, even if it isn't your dream job, there is something out there. You got this.