Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Some VERY basic job search tips.

I was recently reprimanded by one of my few followers for not posting anything here for quite some time.  In my defense, it isn't as if I haven't been doing anything at all.  Business is finally beginning to pick up some for eSearch Associates, and I continue to write on a freelance basis for TechRepublic

Still, I promised some job search tips quite some time ago, so here they are.  These are things I try to tell everyone.  Nothing fancy today.  This is just off the top of my head.  No style points.

1.  Use the Internet to search.  There are websites like Indeed.com that you can use which will search by location, job title, and which pull jobs from major job boards, but also from corporate websites.

2.  Create online resumes.  Create different versions if you are seeking different kinds of jobs.  Update your resume at least twice a week if you are actively seeking a new job.  This puts a new time and date stamp on your online resume.  When recruiters search through online resumes, they almost always search from among the candidates who have posted in the last week, or last month at most.  The older your resume, the fewer hits you will get.  You don't need to change anything when updating a resume on a site like monster.com.  Just click "edit" and then save it.  Bingo.  You're back at the top of the list.

3.  Use LinkedIn.  Use LinkedIn even if you aren't actively looking for a job. Build your network and references even if you're totally happy with your job.  You never know what will happen in the future.  Stop playing Mafia Wars on Facebook.  Quit posting about how stupid you think the opposing political party is.  (And in the process alienating would-be bosses.)  Do something useful.  Build your network.  Remember, your online profile is like a resume.  Spelling and grammar count. 
Make it easy for recruiters to contact you.  Put your email address on your profile.
Finally, be a good citizen on LinkedIn.  When contacting people, read their contact preferences.  Don't "friend" people the way you might on Facebook or MySpace.  On LinkedIn, some sort of contact message is preferable before inviting someone to join your network.  (Here's a link to my profile, by the way: http://www.linkedin.com/in/timheard )

4. Don't send your resume to every recruiter under the sun.  If you do, you lose all control over who gets your resume, and in some cases actually diminish your chances of getting a job.  Let's say that a recruiter submits you for a job for which you are not a great fit, and/or does a poor job of "selling" you to the client.  In most cases, other recruiters cannot submit you to the same client for at least a year.  Additionally, some harried corporate recruiters will not consider you if you have previously applied for and not been selected for a similar position. 

5.  Don't "blast" the same resume out to hundreds of would-be employers at one.  Target your resumes and customize your resume whenever possible.

6.  Don't EVER send a resume to anyone by email without an accompanying message in the email explaing who you are, which position you're applying for, and why you're a good fit.

7.  Don't apply for positions for which you are clearly not even remotely qualified.  Most large companies will get 500+ applicants per position within just a few days.  Corporate recruiters generally can pull up your online activity if you have registered with their site.  What do you think it says to them about your career focus if you have applied for every position that's posted?

8.  Network.  If you know a company is hiring, see who you know who works at that company.  See who you know who knows someone who works at that company.

9.  Consider freelance jobs that may pay next to nothing, but at least put some work experience on your resume.  There are a number of websites that are decicated just to freelance and contract jobs.

10.  Don't ever pay money to post your resume on a website.  The whole concept of The Laddrs mystifies me.  Why would I as a recruiter want to pay a website for access to people who are so desperate to get a job that they are paying to post their resume when, if they were smart, they would instead be building their profiles on LinkedIn and posting on the other large sites? 

11.  It's definitely OK to grieve the losss of that job you had that was really great.  It's also OK to be frustrated about how unfair life can be at times.  However, don't get immersed in blogging about how unfair life is or posting about it on Facebook.  (If you have to, create an anonymous blog and just use it to vent your emotions, but don't invite the whole world to see it.)  At some point, spending all of your energy focusing on "poor me" rants will not only scare off potential employers, it will have perpetuate your negative state of mind.  There are about 1.7 billion people living in total abject poverty.  If you have access to a computer and are reading this blog, you aren't one of them.  (Yes, conceptually, you could be poorer, since you may be in debt, but you are still better off.)  About 50,000 people die every day from poverty-related issues.  Over 30,000 children die every day before they reach their 5th birthday. 

If you're unahppy about how unfair life has been to you (and I'm not saying it hasn't been) go out and find someone who's in worse shape than you are to help.  It really will do you a world of good to do something meaningful and will help your perspective as well. 

12.  On a positive note, it's hard to remember it, but we are actually WAY better off than we were 2 years ago.  (This isn't a political statement.  Both parties can tae credit or blame for problems and solutions.)  In 2008, major companies were having trouble getting simple overnight loans from banks so they could make payroll.  We were really a gnat's eyelash away from a major meltdown.  ... I could go on at length about this and might in another post.

Suffice it to say that the staffing industry is the last to see when a recovery is happening, and I am hearing encouraging things on many fronts from others in the industry.  No, it's certainly not great yet.  I still have white knuckles from trying so hard to hang on, but I am expecting 2011 to be a much better year than any of the past several years have been.

I hope this has been helpful.  ... And sorry if I sound unsympathetic.  If I do, please go back and read this article.  Believe me, I totally understand how stressful this is, and hope this has given you at least a few helpful tidbits that you can use.