Job hunting is HARD work.
If you’re unemployed, looking for work is itself a full-time job. If you’re employed, but looking for your next career move, it’s a part-time job.
Regardless of which bucket you fall into, there are many challenges ahead. 80% of jobs are never posted online and there will always be someone more experienced or cheaper to hire than you.
But here’s the good news. Most job seekers are in the exact same boat as you! And there are proven strategies to accelerate your search for a rewarding career.
Here are three things successful job hunters do differently.
Find a professional champion
Whatever your field you’ll soon discover everybody knows everybody else. Use this to your advantage. Check your LinkedIn account and other social networks for connections to hiring managers or people inside their organization. Ask the contacts you find to send a short note about their experience working with you.
As an employer, I welcome calls and emails from colleagues I know and trust on behalf of people who want to work for me. I’ve organized that kind of outreach when I’ve applied for jobs and it often helped me get an interview.
Recognize that what your network says matters
Many employers don’t rely just on the recommendations you provide. Current and former coworkers and classmates, the people you meet in professional associations, and even friends and neighbors are all potential references.
Make networking a regular part of your career and keep your contacts informed on what you’re doing professionally. Be active on social media, particularly LinkedIn, share news about your field and your accomplishments and stay in touch with former bosses and officemates.
Keeping your relationships strong enable you to navigate the hidden job market (all those jobs that aren’t posted online).
As a candidate for jobs, I’ve had employers make cold calls to mutual acquaintances and past colleagues and supervisors. As an employer, I’ve done the same.
Manage your personal brand
We all have a personal brand. It’s made up of all the impressions we make in person and online and it especially matters when job hunting.
Treat everybody in your workplace and at professional events with the same respect you expect to receive. The people you meet, including this year’s intern, may one day review your resume or sit on an interview panel for a job you want.
It’s the rare employer today who doesn’t Google a job candidate. Here’s a simple old-school rule I follow before putting something on the Internet: I don’t post anything online I don’t want to see on the front page of newspaper.
Not sure how to boost your brand? Career counselor Dawn Rasmussen has four terrific tips for personal branding.
- Your photo(s). You can upload a photo that can float to any online site. No matter what, you need to make sure that your visual image stays within a certain parameter of professionalism and is consistent throughout all social media sites.
- Brand messaging. Tools can help raise your personal search engine ranking by allowing you an opportunity to proactively create a professional presence. If you are struggling with burying some not-so-great content that you cannot erase from the Internet, your best shot is to build more positive mentions over it.
- Build a control center. Creating a central hub for your social media outlets further consolidates and streamlines your brand messaging online into a single portal which aggregates your social media feed into one location.
- Cross-check against your official credentials. What you say online should match what you submit officially as an application for a job. You should always be truthful, and never trump up job titles or inflate your background.