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Land A Job - Strategies for Online Job Searching
Landing Your Next Job
Many people today are looking for a new job and are having trouble finding one. Sometimes it seems impossible to even get a job interview when there are so many well qualified candidates and so few openings. What can an active job seeker do about this? How can I find the job for me?
The key to an effective job search is standing out from the crowd. Luckily, many job seekers simply throw a general resume around the internet and hope for the best. For the savvy job seeker who takes the time to invest in his or her future, chances are much better that you will leap ahead of the competition and be all that much closer to your next employment opportunity.
Researching Your Next Job
Employment research is the most important aspect of the job search. Without this crucial step, you won’t know what is going on in your industry, what will be required of you at a relevant company and you certainly won’t stand out to potential employers. You need to know what’s going on, who to talk to and what to say in order to sound knowledgeable about the workforce, and this takes more knowledge than simply reading a job description. If you don’t invest the time and energy to truly study up on the job of your choice, you won’t be able to craft a high quality resume or a fitting cover letter. Fortunately for the job seeker, a lot of applicants just dive in head first without even planning or researching anything. Why is this fortunate? Because when you invest a little effort in the process, you will leap above them all in the piles of applications! All you have to do is try. And luckily for the job seeker, there are plenty of career help resources out there.
Look into specific companies. Don’t be afraid to aim big. Many big companies hire from outside and don’t always require that you are “connected” to have a real shot at being employed. They are big companies because they are smart enough to judge their employees on the quality of their work and not simply on the fact that Bob from accounting gave a good reference.
Study up on each company you are interested in. Learn their history, their present and their plans for the future. You will need this information to wow them in the interview and show them that you really are interested in their company, not just a paycheck from anyone.
Strategies For Finding Work
There are many ways to go about your strategic job search. Some use job boards, some use in-person networking, and some just apply directly to their companies of interest. My suggestion? Do all of the above, and more.
Finding an opening isn’t too difficult with so many job boards and postings in newspapers all around the country. The only trouble is that, if you saw the ad, so did hundreds, if not thousands of other qualified candidates. You have to make yourself stand out from the crowd if you even want a chance at an interview.
Be sure to have a clear objective when speaking to someone new during your employment research. Consider it a kind of interview, as you are essentially interviewing an employee of your target company. Don’t ask for resume tips or cover letter tips here, but do let them know you are looking to get a new job, hopefully at their company. Ask about what you want to know in relation to the company and industry. What is the company culture like? Are projects done individually or in a team environment? What kind of compensation plans are available for entry level candidates? Mid level candidates? Executives? Be honest about your interest in the company, but don’t dump a resume and cover letter in the lap of a potential friend and definitely don’t ask for a job interview. You aren’t applying just yet, you are just gathering information for when you apply later on.
Be sure to try a variety of job boards. Monster and Career Builder may be popular, but every discipline has its own job board these days. If you have a particular company in mind, most will have their own boards as well. Industry magazines and ezines will also have job postings that may not appear anywhere else.
Do you have a job right now?
One of the best tools for networking and job search today is the internet. And possibly the best tool on the internet is LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a social networking site that allows users to connect, discuss and share their thoughts on any topic, but the focus of the network is to foster connections between job seekers, professionals and everyone in between. Users are known for their willingness to offer career help, job advice, interview tips, resume writing tips and a wealth of information on any topic. Employment research doesn’t get any easier than LinkedIn and, at this point, most savvy job seekers are very active on the website.
Like any tool on the internet, the more you put into it, the more you will get out of it. The career help is out there and it’s up to you to do the legwork, fill in your profile, find relevant groups, post comments, make friends, answer questions and give feedback in order to get noticed on LinkedIn and other social networking sites. And don’t forget to occasionally remind everyone via status updates or forum posts that you are actively seeking work. The more people you meet, the more people you will impress and the closer you will be to your next job. There are employment opportunities everywhere, even if they aren’t posted. The goal of networking is to find those unposted jobs and apply.
How To Network
Resumes are a very important part of the job search process. They will detail your relevant experiences for the employer, so they can have a more solid view of how you will perform in the future. Sites like e-resume.net offer resume writing services for those who want the highest quality resume, but first you need to organize your past accomplishments into one place.
With all the employment research legwork done, you now must create a great resume, perfectly suited for this position at this company. Each application must be tailor-made for each position, even when applying for two different positions at one company. And yes, that is ok to do.
First I suggest making one gigantic resume portal, where you can later pick and choose the most relevant information for future resumes. List each and every form of education you have ever had. High school, college, grad school, trade school, even that 6-week cooking course you took years ago. Who knows what aspects of that may come in handy in the future. Next, list all the jobs you have held, past and present, no matter how small. Every job we did has taught us something and given us at least one new skill. Do the same for volunteer work and activities in which you were or still are involved.
Now it’s time to look closely at the job requirements of the position you are applying for. Re-read the posting and look through the messages you received from your new connections online. Now this is very important: go through each requirement of the job and find something in your history that fits the bill, even if it isn’t nearly perfect. Management experience required? You raised your kids didn’t you? Team player experience? You played baseball for a season, right? Everyone has some level of experience they can fit into the job requirements. The key will be to explain how you can use past experiences to better the company, and that is what you do in the cover letter and job interview.
Now that you have a specific resume written for this position and this position alone (even if you plan to apply for another job at the same company), it’s time to sum it up in a short 2-3 paragraph cover letter. The cover letter is the first thing an employer will see and is their very first impression of you, so it has to be good. Don’t write like a robot, but don’t come off too causally either. Make sure the cover letter is interesting and informative. E-books like Amazing Cover Letters can give you some specific tips and templates for making the best cover letter possible for a wide range of job openings. Here, I will provide a general guideline of how I go about making a new cover letter.
Don’t just ramble off the facts of the resume, they will read that in a minute. Prove that you are the best choice for this job by explain how your past experiences will help in the future. This is where all the company and employment research pays off. The resume shows that you are capable of working with computers, but the cover letter states that you are familiar with the programs they use on the systems they have at the office. You know that the company is looking for new ways to sell their products online, and you tell them in the cover letter about your success as an ebay seller for years. Some of these may not be directly related to the position, but they sure prove that you are thinking and have experience in a wide variety of areas.
Congratulations, you’ve made it to the interview! The job interview is the last chance to prove yourself and get the job. At this point, the company trusts you pretty well, but they need just a little more information and want to get a sense of who you are in real life. Take this step very seriously. There are many websites offering Job Interview Guides, and here are some of my own tips.
One of the best ways to succeed in a job interview is to prove that you can do the job. Too many candidates show up and are only prepared to reiterate everything that was said in their cover letter and resume, while the employer is looking for a just a little bit more. The fact that you got the interview means that they believe in you, but still need that extra little push to become fully committed.
A lot of website have a general collection of interview questions and answers, but Job Interview Answers has a very nice, 81-page, comprehensive E-book on the topic. Tons of questions and tons of answers for any situation that could possibly appear during your interview. This is a great collection of information and will definitely give you a leg up during the interview process.
Job-interview.net is another fantastic source for job interview tips, tricks and guides. These guys have collected more than all the info you will ever need for your job interviews. They provide a range of different guides, including HR interview guides, supervisor interview guides and common interview questions. A huge resource and very useful for the active job seeker.
The Big Interview Question: Why Should They Hire You?
Enjoy Your New Job
Congratulations! Your resume writing, cover letter development, and interview skills paid off and you landed a great job! But the work doesn't end there. Now it's time to prove to the company that they made the right decision. Do your best work every day and show them that you are worthy of the job. Soon enough, you'll be invited to interview for hire positions within the company!