So you’re ready to explore new career opportunities. Whether you’re following a newly found passion, looking for new challenges and career advancement, or an increase in pay, the task at hand remains the same.
In my recruiting experience, I have observed three components in the job finding process:
- First — Understand Where You’re Headed and Why
- Second — Plan and Search
- Third — The Interview and Offer Dance
This article will focus only on the “Plan and Search” portion, to provide tools that will aid you on your job-finding journey.
Ideally, at the beginning of the plan and search process, you will have identified your ideal roles, industries, and prospective companies. Before continuing any further on the plan and search, stop. Take a breath. Now, congratulate yourself for all of the hard work you’ve already done. Your success in understanding why you’re leaving your current role and where you’re headed next is a victory in itself.
Okay, now that you’ve identified a few roles, are any of them closely related? If the roles you’ve selected are not related, you may have to repeat the following steps for the other roles. Now pick one — your ideal — and let’s use it for the following exercise.
Take your ideal role and find two additional job titles that describe said role. For instance, if you’re a DevOps Engineer, you’ll notice Google and LinkedIn have these jobs listed as Site Reliability Engineer while Facebook calls it Production Engineer. You may be a Sales Executive at one company and a Business Development Manager at another, but all performing the same tasks.
Online search engines like Google or Bing, are useful resources for helping with alternate titles for your role, however the process of completing the task on your own has unique rewards. By reading through several other job descriptions, you’ll discover that some companies are layered with hierarchy while others are less complex. Also, you’ll find professional verbiage and role-related details that will help you more thoroughly conduct your search and plan process.
Take notes as you explore similar roles with different titles. After reading a job description, think about how you may have performed the tasks in the description. Have you done them in past roles? Are you doing them now? Write down a line or two for each requirement, and again, make sure you do this for all three roles.
When you read through the qualifications and required skills for these roles, you will begin to recall what you’ve done in past jobs that are directly related to your ideal position. This will be useful for editing your resumé and navigating future conversations with recruiters and hiring managers.
This process will also keep you grounded and honest. If you’ve chosen a role that is beyond your purview, you’ll soon discover that you won’t be able to recall performing the required tasks.
Conversely, if you’ve selected a role that may not be a fit based on your experience this will also become apparent. If you find that this is the case, go back to Step 1: “Understanding Where You’re Headed and Why,” and re-evaluate your destination.
Cut Out the Fluff
With the three roles on hand and a document full of your past experiences, it’s time to update your resumé. For more expert assistance on crafting a winning resumé, consult Laszlo’s article to get his personal formula on how to do it. I’ve used his formula countless times in past years to guide friends, family, and candidates.
Using the information you’ve gathered and Lazlo’s formula, update your resume highlighting relevant work and removing any projects or skills that do not directly enhance or support your desired role. Cut out the fluff.
For inspiration on how to describe your work in ways that will support your goals, visit LinkedIn and examine a few profiles of people currently rocking your desired role. You’ll also start identifying trends on LinkedIn profiles that you may want to leverage when it comes to updating your own.
Once you’re done creating your best resumé, use Vmock to help you put the finishing touches on it. Vmock is a free online instant resume feedback application that reviews and provides analytics on your resumé — giving you insights into the overall presentation, verbiage, and competencies.
Still not completely confident in your results? There’s a feature on Vmock that allows you to share your resumé with trusted friends or colleagues for feedback. Keep in mind that some of the more advanced features require a subscription.
Recruiters, talent scouts, sourcers, and hiring managers are tasked with finding great talent for their teams, companies or clients. How do they do this?
Typically, they look online, use referrals, leverage professional networks, and at times, conduct complex boolean and semantic, X-raying searches, and perform tangent sourcing to identify keywords and skills relevant to the role. So, to make it easy for them to find you, boost your new updated resumé with your profile on professional social platforms like LinkedIn, angel.co, and on job search platforms like Monster, Indeedprime, and Hired.
Keep in mind that while your resumé might do well on search platforms as is, consider sharing your accomplishment in first person as a story, writing in paragraph form and using bullets sparingly for your LinkedIn. Maybe it’s the recruiter in me, but after spending thousands of hours reviewing LinkedIn profiles I find that the resumés that are more interesting to read provide more than just buzzwords. To learn more about how to improve your LinkedIn page and showcase your personal brand, visit this article and this one for guidance.
With your resumé complete and your online profiles updated, it’s time to execute.
As humans we’re fortunate enough to be able to connect with each other. Chance meetings can turn into lasting friendships, people we help, end up helping us, and friends of friends can become family and have a tremendous impact on our lives. So if it all matters, let’s be strategic and intentional about each step.
- Tracking — Keeping track of your actions and progress, including the people, companies and roles you’ve applied to is useful. I use Google sheets, however you can do this via an Excel sheet, a table in Microsoft Word, or with a paper and pen. Include column titles for the following: Job title, Company name, Point of contact, Date applied, Status and Notes. Make this your own by adding column titles that you find useful.
- Referrals — Once you’ve added a role to the sheet, identify friends or social acquaintances that work at said company. A quick search through LinkedIn, or a chat with friends and mentors may help. It’s awesome to get referrals from people that have first hand knowledge of your work. When that’s not possible and you’ve found a 2nd or 3rd-degree connection, reach out and ask for a referral. In your request, be sure to provide a link to the job you want. Keep in mind that some companies offer hefty referral bonuses to employees.
- Apply — This one’s pretty simple — apply for roles online using your updated resumé. Take the time to fill out the application completely to ensure you’re putting your best foot forward. Be thorough.
- Follow up — Do this in a few weeks after you’ve applied, with friends, or recruiters and sourcers. Approaching large companies is tough. Reaching out to a recruiter or sourcer at a company with 10,000+ employees without knowing whether they are responsible for the role may not yield the desired fruits. Be strategic and do your homework. When someone does help you, make sure to say thank you.
- Search Firms — These are leveraged by large and scaling companies to staff talent. They are incentivized to find you employment. Thus, reaching out to a traditional search firm that specializes in your field is recommended. Some will help you find permanent roles while others focus on contract work. Do some research and leverage online search engines to help you identify the ideal agency to engage.
- Technology — There are also a flurry of platforms for active candidates that aid you by presenting your profile to large and small companies like Whitetruffle or IndeedPrime. Some platforms specialize towards specific industries, so find the one that’s right for you.
- Social media — Whether searching Twitter or connecting with friends that post about roles on Facebook, social media can be a powerful tool when leveraged correctly. As with your professional profiles be aware of your “brand” on said platforms when you choose to engage people for potential employment.
For every role you identify, first seek to be referred in, then apply, follow up, and track all of this with dates and emails.
All too often, I see job seekers play the short game of applying to jobs online, and sending one canned resumé to numerous recruiters, or seeking out acquaintances for general opportunities at their companies. While this may yield some fruit, it leaves a lot to be desired.
With this generalizing strategy, you run the risk of casting the job search net too wide, and you short-change yourself by failing to showcase your unique expertise and best skills.
The long game is one of relationships where your intent behind every action, in and of itself, is the end-goal, rather that one step to rush through, in order to more quickly reach your destination. Pay mindful attention to every detail in your search, no matter how small a detail it may seem to be.
This step is only one of many in a journey that may last a few weeks or a few months. With every interaction and conversation, you’ll learn more about the field you’re aiming towards, and the companies that impress you.
There’s a lot more to do between now and the “Interview and Offer Dance.” Remember to value every exchange as another opportunity to glean powerful information to enhance your resumé, showcase your skills, and learn the language of your ideal field. When you do, you will be that much closer to your dream job happy dance.
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