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Are You a Prepared Job Seeker?

There's a million people providing 100 million advice and tips on your job search. Most of them are great and helpful, but as a job seeker, it can get pretty overwhelming facing so many options and possibilities. This article summarizes most of what you need to know in your job search in 2020. We actually believe the details in the header image above alone are enough, but we wanted to elaborate on those tips and provide links to additional resources.

1. Honest Assessment

This is between you and yourself. If you have 3 years of experience in one industry but are trying to become a CEO in another industry, that's up to you. But if you'd like to set more realistic goals, and have a more productive and successful job search, you should plan to only take smaller steps.

2. Elevator Pitch

Prepare two polished versions of your elevator pitch – one in writing for your resume and application, and one you can repeat over the phone or in person. The point is to not repeat the exact same pitch to the recruiter or hiring manager who had already read your resume.

3. Articulate Your Experience and Career Preferences

Clearly summarize the key points of your career experiences and paint a clear picture of what you’re looking for in your next role and next employer. Many people tend to say they're "open to anything" and for any company and industry. While it's OK to keep your options open, you must have some preferences, right? Keep in mind how the hiring manager might react if your preferences are far off from the position you're interviewing for.

4. Great Resume and Cover Leter

Having a great resume and cover letter handy will make you feel confident about your chances. And even more so if that resume was tailored to the job you're applying for. While there isn't one way to format a resume, and it doesn't need to be perfect, it's good to get some trained eyes proofread it.

5. Complete and Unique LinkedIn Profile

With almost every recruiter using LinkedIn to source for candidates, having a complete and somewhat different/memorable profile will increase your chances of getting contacted by a recruiter.

6. List Your Targets

Before you begin searching for work, you have to narrow down your options to increase your success rate and make better use of your time. Make the following lists and use these lists to guide your searches:

  • List of job titles you're interested in taking on

  • List of industries

  • List of companies

  • List of job boards where you expect to see these job listings

  • List of recruiters and recruiting firms that might have these opportunities

  • List of people you already know that might be able to connect you with key decision makers

7. Mock Interviews

It would be a bummer to work your way through the application process only to be nervous and unprepared at the interview. Research interview questions and practice answering them out loud as if you were facing the interviewer. Get help from your friends, or a service to make the practice seem more real.

8. Video Interviews

We're not sure how long this pandemic is going to last, but if you're hoping to land a job anytime soon, you must get yourself set up to do video interviews. And even after the pandemic passes, my guess is, many companies will continue to request candidates to do video interviews, rather than on site.

9. Mentors and Support Group

Many of you are looking for work for the first time in years, and I'm sure you've noticed a lot has changed since you were last in the market. One positive change I've noticed is now there's a lot of amazing people out there offering their assistance and support to job seekers. Find yourself at least three people that you could call on at any point during the job search process to ask for help and support.

10. Continue to Network and Get Your Name Out There

Another change I've noticed over the past 5-10 years or so is the emphasis on building a strong professional network. As things stand, the most qualified candidate with the strongest relevant work experience may not be the most visible or accessible candidate to the hiring manager. Sometimes, it takes an unexpected matchmaker to bring up your name at the right time to the right person.

Another reason to continue to network is because you want to have these connections in place when you need them. And given that many jobs these days don't come with long term security, you might need your connections sooner than you think. Having an existing network of potential referrers will allow you instant access to more opportunities.

Here are some ways to stay connected with and expand your network:

  • Be active on LinkedIn by connecting and engaging with the right people and content

  • Attend webinars and online workshops

  • Attend networking events (once things are back to normal)

  • Stay in touch with a handful of recruiters in your industry

11. Other Things to Keep in Mind

And finally, a small list of things to keep in mind as you search for your next job:

  • have references ready, and let them know when to expect a call and from whom

  • appropriate interview outfit - even for video interviews

  • professional voicemail greeting

  • appropriate email address

  • clean up (or hide) your social media accounts. Assume recruiters and hiring managers will look for you on social media, and that they will be influenced by what they find

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