In a climate like the one we are in, it’s easy to feel like we will never find the job we want, or that ‘no one is hiring’. However, you can increase your chances of landing multiple interviews if you can tap into the “hidden” job market, or, the one that hasn’t been advertising. Contacting the companies/contacts directly makes a much more powerful impact then random online resume posting.
How do you do this? Have a plan! This may take a little longer, but it’s the best way to control your job search, land quality interviews and increase your pay scale. 1) Get your online presence together. Chances are, if you are going to be Googling companies, they will Google you. Create a Google profile or a LinkedIn profile and put your brand out there for the employer to see. Show your stuff. 2) Make a list of your target information— industry choice, job position, company listings, etc. 3) Do a Google search on your industry and job titles.There may be quite a few, but you can weed through what you like and don’t like. You can also do a local business search with the same requirements and see what you come up with. 4) Send your resume directly to the hiring person.This is usually the person who is 2-4 levels above where you see yourself within the company. Make sure your cover letter is short and concise.
If this method makes you squirm a little, remember that you will see significantly higher results than you would normally. It’s also good to move beyond your comfort zone. Clients who’ve used it report more interviews, shorter interview cycles and less competition. This also works much better than blindly submitting your resume to lots of job search engines and reduces your anxiety of not knowing if the person who you want to see it really saw it or not.
In the end, it will give you greater job search confidence and renewed excitement about the job search process. Try it and see. Then let me know how it went.
Many of you know that I was at the Detroit “Good Morning America / Women for Hire” job fair the other day. There were about 25 résumé evaluators and approximately 5000 job seekers. They literally were lined up outside the doors at 3:30 am. Talk about motivated people. Wow. What a busy, productive and fulfilling day.
It was televised (GMA and local ABC news crew) and there were camera people everywhere. Sort made us feel like movie stars except the cameras really weren’t on us, and we didn’t get paid. But still.
I was really impressed by the amount of professionalism, ambition and previous success that most of the folks had. There were just a few people that could have used a few pointers. So in case you think you might be one of those people, here they are:
1- DRESS AS IF YOU ARE AT AN INTERVIEW. Appropriate dress is really a MUST at a job fair. I know you already know this, but I thought I’d mention it again. You know the saying, “First Impressions are a Must”, well they really are. I saw some people that looked gorgeous and really ‘wow’ed’ me. THAT is how you have to look. Not saying you have to go spend a fortune on new clothes. You can put together a new outfit from what you have. Wash your hair, do your nails, trim your nose/ear hair, you know… the usual. And if you have dread-locks, tuck them into your suit.
2- HAVE A RÉSUMÉ PREPARED. (and if at all possible, have it professionally done). Yes, I saw many, many résumés and only about 5% of them were impressive. Remember, lead with your accomplishments, not your job description duties. The Microsoft Word résumé template was used in about 80% of the cases (yuck) I saw at the job fair. Remember, that is a template that doesn’t allow much give, so you may be cutting some significant info out because it won’t fit into the “template”. DON’T USE IT.
3- PACK BUSINESS OR NETWORKING CARDS-A great idea is to bring along your business or networking cards. Business cards work well because they have your name, address and phone number on them. If they have a previous company name on them, better rethink handing them out. You can always make some inexpensive cards on your own home printer for just this occasion. Another idea is networking cards. Networking cards are business card sized cards that hold significant career information along with your contact information. 2 or 3 of your top accomplishments really stand out on networking cards.
4- BRING A SMALL BAG, TOTE OR BRIEFCASE. You will be bombarded with giveaways (pens, company trinkets, business cards, candy, brochures, etc.). It will be easier to carry everything and your résumé portfolio.
5- GET A BUSINESS CARD FROM EVERYONE YOU SPOKE WITH. You might want to follow up with something you talked about. Even better, after you’ve talked with them, write down some key things you spoke about on the back of the card so you will have it to reference when you call, or if they call you!
6- KNOW THE COMPANIES. Find out what companies will be there and get to know a little about them. Nothing impresses companies more then when you display the knowledge you have about them. Show off a little bit. Impress them!
7- GET INTO A GOOD MOOD. I had a few folks come sit down with me who were shaking and scared to death and I wasn’t even the hiring person! People can tell if you are nervous, distracted, moody, having a bad day, etc. That isn’t the best first impression to offer. Instead try to relax, smile, speak slowly and clearly (vs. rushing through what you want to say), and remember, the HR person knows you are nervous and understands. So try to relax and enjoy yourself. Fake it if you have to.
Job Fairs don’t have to be a bad/scary/nerve wracking thing. Remember, it’s just another avenue to try out in the midst of your job search You get to meet new people, learn a few things about different companies, and have free coffee.