Become a Job Search Expert

By Laura DeCarlo – CDI President

What have you done today to further your job search? Chances are that you are like 90% of the population, limiting your search to online job boards. Although this might seem like an excellent source of job leads, it can really be a black hole due to the amount of competition and resume submissions. 

Try some of these tactics to improve your search:

When you locate an ad for which you are qualified, be certain to target your resume and cover letter to the position. Do not send resumes with different objectives or generic letters. Because there is fierce competition for these advertised positions you have to target your sales pitch to get noticed. Better yet, do your homework to find the actual department manager or area director, and send him or her your resume as well. 

Develop and utilize a network. Be sure to ask everyone you know if they have ideas for your job search. Do not ask for a job, ask for a lead. You will be surprised who can provide you with valuable information.

Join professional associations and attend their meetings to make more contacts in your career field and stay on top of new trends. Also, take advantage of the research benefits of tools like LinkedIn.

Consider volunteering. This is not only a great way to get your foot in the door with a company, but also to build your network.

Join support groups and job clubs, both locally and virtually. This is a quick way to not only develop a network but to boost your confidence and focus and provide you with job leads and company information. Many groups are facilitated by professional career coaches and counselors and can provide you with training to increase your chances.

Read literature to keep up on trends and learn information on companies. Good ideas are trade publications, journals, business newspapers, and Google searches for information. The Internet is a great tool to find those “hidden jobs” because when companies win contracts or expand they typically need more employees. It will also provide you with valuable information for tailoring your cover letter.

Perform targeted direct mail and follow up. Simply launching a mass mail campaign should provide you with about a 1-3% response. This is costly and discouraging. Locate companies you are interested in, research them, find out the contact person, and send a targeted resume and cover letter to them. Keep detailed records and be prepared to follow-up on all your mailings. Do not get discouraged if you do not hear from companies. Statistics show that sales people have to make four calls to the same company before winning an appointment.

Talk to people who do what you want to do. Informational interviews will not only provide you with valuable information on how to get a job, but may provide you with contacts as well. Again, LinkedIn is a great resource for identifying targets.

Finally, send thank you notes to anyone and everyone who assists you with your job search. Real, hard copy cards in the mail, whenever possible. 

Join the elite 5% of individuals who take control of their job search. Do not get discouraged. Finding a job is a full-time job. Be prepared to make this your career, dedicating eight hours a day to your job search. You are now self-employed and the product you are marketing is you. Know your market, know your product, know your pitch, and get to work!

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