Searching for a job is time-consuming, frustrating, and exhausting - not to mention it will devour any possible ego or confidence you may possess. Hours upon hours of combing the help wanted ads on the internet, signing up for job placement services, and creating online profiles can lead to endless hours of frustration without results.
Times have changed, and your competition has expanded. Although the internet gives us unfettered access to jobs around the globe and easy access to simply apply online, it also eliminates personal interaction. Along with increased visibility, the pool of candidates is no longer restricted to the local community.
Nothing sells YOU more than YOU! HR professionals are looking for that "stand-out" candidate that grabs their attention right away. But, creating a stand-out resume is equally as challenging when there are thousands of applicants applying for the same job. No matter what format you use or keywords you include, your resume often gets lost in the shuffle.
Simply put, HR recruiters are hiring people they have personal interaction with far more than those who simply submit a resume online or in the mail. A faceless resume is simply not enough to garner their attention, no matter how broad your expertise or diverse your background.
Think of job searching as finding a date. No one is going to be interested in dating a profile they view online because they don't trust the profile creator. In other words we always sell ourselves on paper (or online) by telling the world what THEY want to hear. And THEY know it! So, profiles are mere snapshots of our credentials, but not a true reflection of our personality, knowledge, or skills.
So, how do you get the job you want and how do you stand out from the rest?
Learn from salespeople. They represent a brand and they market that brand. From the way they dress to the way they communicate, they "sell" the brand with every ounce of their being because their paycheck depends on it.
YOU are your own brand. Represented by your first and last name, you have to "sell" yourself by creating interest in YOU (the brand).
"Oh, but I hate sales," you say. Well, then stay unemployed. Because you have to sell yourself if you want a paycheck! And no one is going to sell you better than you do!
It takes work and networking. Attend job fairs, visit places of business that are hiring and ask to see the Recruiter. Join professional associations and groups that hold meetings. Many of them can be found on Meetup.com, a great website where you can connect with others in your field or even business owners in your industry. Join these group and attend their meetings (most are free), and you will meet the powers that be who hire. This will give you an advantage over the competition.
Bring a gift such as a Hershey's chocolate bar or coffee mug that you can leave with the Recruiter/Employer, which plants a seed in their minds and makes you stand out. This is what we call an "ethical bribe."
If possible, buy small promotional products with your name and contact information such as pens, bookmarks, or something along those lines - trade show giveaways. You can find many items online or through your local office supply store.
And more importantly, try to get business cards and follow up in about a week after you connect with someone. Don't wait on them to call you, but don't be over-zealous either. A week is a good time frame in which to follow up.
By putting yourself out there and not just sending in a resume or applying online, you will give yourself the advantage over the thousands of other resume senders or applicants, and dramatically increase your odds of landing a great job.
Plus, if you connect with someone who doesn't have an opening, ask them for referrals. Remember, most people in business are well connected to many others in their industry or professionals throughout the area, and can often lead you to other opportunities. Don't be afraid to ask. You just never know what job may be waiting for you!