5 Steps to job search success

I am not typically one of those people who has a proscribed formula for success, but I thought today would be  a good time to try something new, especially on the heels of returning from a wonderful 9 day vacation with my wife to celebrate 30 wonderful years of marriage.

Even though this post will have 5 steps listed, there are others you may employ that could also bring you success.  My intent today is to give you the 5 I find most helpful for those I work with in career transitions on Monday nights at the Career Transition Group in Brentwood, TN at the Brentwood United Methodist Church.

1.  Clean up your resume-One of the biggest issues I see is that people have resumes that do not effectively communicate what they have done, or what they can do, to make a difference for their next employer.  One of my greatest encouragements is to list measurable criteria or accomplishment so that those looking at your resume know what you have done to make a difference.  If a resume is mainly activity-based it will probably be passed over when compared to a resume of someone who lists accomplishments.

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2.  Have an effective LinkedIn profile-Unless you live in the dark ages or don’t have access to the Internet, you will already have a LinkedIn profile.  The overwhelming majority of recruiters (>90%), both internal and external, use LinkedIn as a primary sourcing tool.  Your profile needs to be complete and “sticky” with keywords that will allow others to find you.

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3.  Have a game plan-I use the term Game Plan here, but what I really  mean is that you need to know what you want to do and who you want to do it with.  It also helps to know what your geographic boundaries are.  More and more people are starting to realize that they may not find the role they are looking for where they happen to be residing now.  Relocation may be a challenge if you have a home to sell, but you need to put all of the cards on the table when you look at that next role.  I cannot tell you how often I get a call from someone who wants me to “find them a job”.  It is extremely rare when I find that perfect job for someone outside of a retained search I happen to be working on.  My work with CTSG is more about helping people “learn to fish” versus giving them a fish.  We have too many people in this country already who want someone to feed them.  We need to teach more of our workers how to fend for themselves.

4.  Get out and talk to people-This is after the game plan for a reason.  You need to have a plan first before you can begin to execute.  The first step is knowing who you want to work with and what you want to do.  The next step is then to go out and let others know so that they can alert you when something happens that might lead to your role.  I know many people who don’t like to network, and my wife happens to be one of them.  She will have her days when she likes to go out and mingle, but networking for her was an acquired taste.  She is really good at networking, but she doesn’t get the “charge” out of meeting people that I do.  As you can surmise, I am extremely extroverted and she is slightly introverted.  Another discussion for another day.

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5.  Follow up and say “Thank you”-Many people confuse networking with sewing grass.  While there are certainly some similarities, there are also marked differences.  The act of sewing grass primarily involves the act of spreading the seed and then moving on.  Networking is certainly about sewing the seed, but it is also about following up and cultivating the seed in the areas where you most want to have a harvest.  There are also places where you may need to mow or trim the harvest if it becomes too plentiful.  Follow up is crucial element to the job search process and many job seekers make that first contact and are never heard from again.  Persistence is the key and the attentive job seeker with good skills will almost always have greater success than the job seeker with exceptional skills who does not follow up.  One of the key elements of follow up is saying “Thank you” often and appropriately.  Those who know me well understand that I am a huge advocate of the hand-written note and it is at the top of the pyramid when I say thank you to anyone.  Even in this electronic age, the hand-written note trumps just about everything else.  The only exception was the brownies I received from Steve Leasure when he interviewed with the YMCA some 15+ years ago.  Those really got my attention.

Five simple steps; 5 steps that can make the difference between success and failure.

Take the time today to review your job search process and see if you have all of these steps in your process.

You should.