By Mark Bartz
Don't you love it when someone just "says it like it is?" It's like a breath of fresh air. I want to share something with you that "says it like it is" when it comes to your job search. There are three consistent steps to success in a job search, regardless of which industry you are in, what title/role you are pursuing, or where you live geographically. Note that each of these three steps have innovative new elements to them which you need to master to be competitive.
The Three Steps: Credentials + Timing + Trust.
Credentials: Get your resume together. Get your LinkedIn profile together. Make sure your resume has updated training and education mentioned. Make sure you belong to professional associations (including LinkedIn groups). A good litmus test for determining if your resume works? Give it to multiple readers - see if they whisper "Wow". Have your readers circle those places on the resume where they whispered “Wow.” Another good litmus test for a solid resume? Does it raise the question "How did you do that?" or "Tell me more about that." The resume (ideally) is used as an outline for questions in your interviews, and those are exactly the questions you want the employer to ask you as your answers confirm your "unique value" to the employer. Another litmus test for quality: when two or more readers (independent of each other) echo similar comments about elements of the resume, address those elements. What's new here? LinkedIn - it's not a passing fad; it's a tool used by employers to find new talent.
Timing: Aim for companies who are hiring. I know that sounds painfully obvious, but it isn't. Most of the hiring takes place in the unseen "unadvertised" job market. There are several ways into this market. Entire books, blogs, and full length articles are written on this subject. Learn everything you can about the unadvertised job market; I tell my clients it's a bit like sitting down to play a familiar game, e.g. Monopoly. And just before the game starts, your opponent says "Ok, by the way, there are 30 new rules to the game, and I'm not going to tell you what they are, let's get started." Unfair? Absolutely. What's new here? The web offers clues to who is hiring - you don't want to wait until an employer posts an opportunity on their corporate website. Among many web-based tools, my clients find "perfect timing" for unadvertised roles via carefully selected RSS news feeds.
Trust: The "rules" of networking have changed. There is an old saying, "If you are the smartest guy in the room, you're in the wrong room." Time to learn how to quickly build "trust agents" at the employers you are targeting; these are people who currently work for those targeted employers and help you get your resume to the right person. A survey by Jobvite.com offers insight to the new rules: approximately 70% of employers now provide referral "commissions" to their own employees if they helped in talent acquisition. What's new here? The venues through which we build trust-based relationships have expanded; you need to know the new rules of effective communications within those venues: online forums, e-mail, phone, and in-person.
Be encouraged, and remember everything in job searching has changed. You must be innovative and do things differently than your competitors to be successful in your job search.