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Published on Friday, January 16, 2015

Top 5 Practices to Improve Your Job Search

Whether embarking on a new job search, or picking up where you left off before the holidays – now is a perfect time to kick start your job search for a successful new year. I think the key to a successful search is to build a routine and process, supported by effective practices to maintain your momentum.

(1) Build and Hone Your Message

What is your unique promise of value? What can you deliver to a potential employer that is beyond the ordinary
Knowing (and then showing) your value proposition is pivotal to your success in the job search. And, once you have a well-developed message your next task will be to deliver your message in a clear and concise way in every aspect of your job search.

  • Review your resume, cover letter, LinkedIn. Are they delivering a consistent message without being repetitive? Do you have a compelling value proposition?
  • Practice Interviewing. There are countless resources with practice interview questions.
  • Write and rehearse your elevator pitch.

(2) Become Visible Online

Job Boards

Your visibility online represents your “findability,” both within your network and beyond. Keep in mind that your approach is largely dependent on your circumstances. If you are actively job seeking, but not currently employed, your options are more open. Seek out aggregate sites such as Indeed (www.indeed.com) which pull jobs from a variety of sources, as well as industry-specific job boards. Where possible, create profiles and upload your resume.

In addition to job boards, you should create a list of targeted companies and recruiters – and spend the time to visit each company webpage to post your profile and upload your resume. Take the next step by visiting company pages across major social media channels such as LinkedIn, ensuring you are “following” companies in order to receive notifications about jobs and important news items.

Currently employed? Blanketing your resume on job boards could get you in trouble with your current employer. In that case, you want to create job alerts on these sites so that you can keep a finger on the pulse of the job market without tipping your hat.

Consider Blogging

A daily practice of writing about your expertise, and presenting it in a blog format serves a multitude of purposes. You will build your expertise, establish a strong online presence, and create a wealth of information to draw upon during interviews, email conversations, and networking events. Blogging (and the practice of daily writing) offers you the opportunity to hone your expertise and develop a clear message.

Make it a Regular Practice

The key to developing a solid online presence is consistency. Depending on your strategy, consider planning one to three hours of your day responding to ads, posting your resume on targeted company and recruiter sites, and developing your platform (i.e. readership) through your blog and LinkedIn forums.

(3) Find (and Connect with) the Gatekeepers

In most organizations, the gatekeepers are the secretaries who report to the executive who has the authority to hire you. On the phone, be sure to establish a strong, positive, friendly relationship with the gatekeeper – and solicit his/her help!

At the executive level, recruiters are the gatekeepers for most positions within an organization. We recommend visiting the websites of the major executive recruiting firms to create a profile, upload your resume, and where possible, create job alerts to be notified about jobs of interest. Establishing recruiter relationships and ensuring your information can be found within recruiter databases is critical to your job search success. Below is a list of websites of some of the largest retainer recruiters:

  • Battalia Winston International, Inc. (www.battaliawinston.com)
  • Boyden (www.boyden.com)
  • DHR International, Inc. (www.dhrinternational.com)
  • Diversified Search (www.diversifiedsearch.com)
  • Egon Zehnder International Inc. (http://www.egonzehnder.com/us/)
  • Gilbert Tweed International (http://www.gilberttweed.com/)
  • Heidrick & Struggles International, Inc. (www.heidrick.com)
  • Herbert Mines Associates, Inc. (http://www.herbertmines.com/)
  • Horton International, LLC (http://www.hortoninternational.com/)
  • Korn/Ferry International – C-Level Executives (https://www.ekornferry.com/Login.asp)
  • Korn/Ferry International – Mid-Level Executives (www.futurestep.com)
  • Nosal Partners, LLC (http://www.nosalpartners.com/)
  • Russell Reynolds (http://www.russellreynolds.com/)
  • SpencerStuart (https://www.spencerstuart.com/)

(4) Tap into Your Network

The single most important practice to establish in your job search is connecting with your personal and professional network. Not only can your network serve as an effective resource for finding jobs, the ability to connect with and spend time with people will be a refreshing change of pace from the online job search market. Tap into your network and expand your reach in a variety of ways:

Attend networking meetings in your local community, as well as national association conferences and trade shows. ExecuNet (www.execunet.com) sponsors job search networking meetings in major metropolitan areas across the US

Consider launching an email campaign to everyone in your personal and professional network. Start by building your list of contacts. If you are on LinkedIn, you can download all of your LinkedIn connections into an Excel spreadsheet. Then you can begin to add new contacts to that list, and invite those contacts into your LinkedIn network. When you’ve exhausted your list, mail merge and send an email to ALL of your contacts, telling them about your current search (be sure to let them know if it is a confidential search), and asking for their assistance, by writing:

“Please keep me in mind as you learn about opportunities that you believe are suited to my experience, or if you know someone who may have an interest in my qualifications. Thank you in advance for your help!”

(5) Take Time to Breathe

The process of finding a new job is an arduous one. Acknowledge your search as a process and make sure you take the time on a regular basis to stay healthy. Work in daily breaks, and weekly physical, educational, spiritual, and social activities so you can maintain your momentum and positive attitude.

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