Hire Education: A Job Search How-ToPublic RelationsPublished January 28, 2011 at 2 Comments
Whether you’re recouping from a job loss, looking for a job change, or entering the job market, as a job seeker it’s critical to brush up on your hire education. The hunt-for-hire has changed, and you need to educate yourself on those changes. While your local newspaper may still serve to be a great resource for searching for jobs, there are vast resources and opportunities to be found online.
Your lifeline for job opportunities online extends beyond the overly commercialized job sites like Monster.com. Now, niche blogs and websites dedicated to job seekers in every field imaginable are available, for free. Often times all you need to do is type in what industry or job title you’re looking for and a Google or Bing ad will pop up.
Below are some tips that I’ve gathered up from personal experience that may be helpful to you in your job search. Patience and personalization are words to remember while you’re on your job hunt. Be patient, searching and landing a job takes time. And be personal when you apply for jobs, the only thing a canned resume and cover letter will land you is a place in the HR department’s trash can.
THE PREP WORK.
Self-Promotion: Self-promotion has become incredibly easy with user-friendly website and blogger platforms, Twitter, and LinkedIn. For a PR professional, active use on all available platforms, in my opinion, is a must. This shows you’re not only aware of the landscape, but part of the landscape.
If you haven’t compiled material to build your portfolio, do it now. Your portfolio can be housed on your webpage, saved on a thumb drive and handed over during an interview, or printed and bound. The portfolio justifies your experience and shows the prospective employer what you’re capable of doing. No need to put everything in your portfolio, though, in fact it may be beneficial to tweak your portfolio depending on the job function.
Lastly, your resume needs to be tight, relevant to the job you’re applying to, and will likely be the most challenging aspect of your job search. Be sure to include key words from the job posting both in your resume and cover letter. In your cover letter, be sure to personalize the note, and add a sentence or two about the organization’s mission and goals. Here are a few self-promo recommendations to help you stand out:
Research: LinkedIn will serve to be your best friend during your job hunt. LinkedIn is positioning itself to be the leader in professional networking. The “jobs” tab on LinkedIn provides a number of ways to search, sift and sort through the many, many job postings on the site. You can scroll through these jobs options and mark them as saved where you can later go back to them and apply. The “company” tab has a search feature that will prove to be helpful as well. LinkedIn allows you to see who you’re connected to with a company (or who you’re connected to that is connected to someone, etc). From here you can ask for an introduction from your friend to the company representative or even contact the company representative directly. You’d be surprised who you know that may help provide insights into the company and the position as well as usher your resume and application into the right hands. And don’t hesitate to ask your LinkedIn connections to write a recommendation for you that will be posted on your profile. Be sure to personalize the request for the recommendation, and follow up with this person as to your job-hunt status.
Twitter is also a great research tool, as many companies post job opportunities to Twitter (same goes for Facebook). There are also a number of recruiters and job-post companies that you can easily hunt down and follow. If you’re on Twitter, don’t hesitate to join in one of LinkedIn’s many Twitter chats (#LinkedInChat), or engage with a LinkedIn expert by messaging @LinkedInExpert.
Interview. Interview. Interview: Don’t hesitate to contact former employers, clients, coworkers, professors and friends and ask their advice about your job search. Ask them for their recommendations on where to look and who to contact. You’d be surprised how many new ideas and contacts you can drum up from a single friendly interview. This process does take time, and can be quite taxing as you have to explain and re-explain what you’re looking for and what your skills are, but the process pays off, and you’ll walk away from each interview will a notebook full of helpful leads, recommendations, and even some words of wisdom and encouragement to help push you along on your job journey.
Computer intimidated: Not computer savvy? It’s likely that the non-web-savvy job hunters aren’t reading this blog post. But perhaps the sister, friend, or child of someone is. Even applying for unemployment is web-based, so for the computer illiterate, this can be an extremely daunting process. The good news is that most local libraries offer free computer and internet to the public, along with free seminars on how to use said computer and internet.
The prospect: A former professor of mine advised me during an interview I had with him that I should never make the prospect think. Arriving prepared for the interview goes without saying – doing your research on the company, etc. But find out who you’re interviewing with – what is their history? Prepare a sample of your work on a thumb drive (or printed and bound) to hand over to them during the interview. Have a fresh list of company and job specific questions handy, as well as multiple copies of your resume. The goal is to make the prospect do as little work and as little thinking as possible, and for you to be prepared for a smooth conversation. A follow up with a written (not an email!) thank you note is a must – be sure to detail bits of your conversation, and remind them again why you are the best candidate.
Prior to accepting the position, be sure to research the prospect to identify if this is a good fit for you. Never make a decision in haste, because it will likely end up being a decision you regret. And never short-change yourself — If a company is trying to low-ball you in salary, chances are they’ll low-ball you in other ways during your tenure. So be thoughtful in your decision, and make a decision that will be best for you, not just your immediate financial needs.
When you do accept the job, be sure to reach out to the folks that helped you along the way, the folks that took time out to meet with you and support you during your job search. And to prep for the new gig, be sure to ramp up before you start. Since most jobs start off – at least in my experience – with you diving in full speed ahead and barely able to keep your head above water, it’s best to take some initiative before you start to get acclimated to the language and lingo of your new work environment. Some helpful ways to ramp up for your new job may include the following:
- Follow the company on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Digg
- Subscribe to the company newsletters and RSS feeds