Before we get too far into 2013, I want to briefly go over a few key points to fine tune and make sure your job search is focused and on track. Here are some areas to which you should pay particular attention.
Make sure your resume is up to date with your latest job information. Does it describe your responsibilities or your accomplishments? Hint: the right answer is it should describe your responsibilities in terms of accomplishments! Your resume should be a maximum of two pages and be comprised mostly of short, bulleted statements – not long narrative paragraphs. Most important of all, customize your resume for each and every job to which you apply. Use the requirements listed in each job posting to describe your experience and accomplishments.
Your Cover Letter
If you’ve read many of my previous posts, you know that I consider a good cover letter to be as important as a good resume. Keep it to one page and, just as in your resume, focus on your accomplishments as they relate to each specific job. And yes, this of course means that you customize your cover letter for each specific job.
The start of a new year is a good time to send your references a friendly hello message. Ask if it’s still okay to use them as a reference and make sure you have their correct and current contact and employment information. You don’t want a potential employer to be unable to reach one of your references.
If you haven’t already, join a professional or trade association. Additionally, you can sign up for Toastmasters and/or volunteer for your favorite cause. The point is to get out and meet people, both inside and outside of your industry. As you go about this, though, keep one important thing in mind: your goal is to meet people and have them get to know you first. Leveraging these contacts for job opportunities comes later. It can be a gigantic turn off to others if you pump them for job offers as soon as you meet them.
Your LinkedIn Profile
You do have one, don’t you? If not, get one right away. Three or four years ago I didn’t pay much attention to LinkedIn profiles but there’s no denying that they are increasingly being used by employers to research potential candidates. Make sure your profile contains all of your employment information, your job responsibilities and your accomplishments. Keep personal information (except for contact information, of course) to a minimum and if you choose to post a picture of yourself, make sure it shows you in a professional environment. No pictures of you posing on the ski slope or at the beach!
Your Time Spent Job Searching
Lastly, make sure you’re spending sufficient time on your job search. If you are currently unemployed, you should be spending a minimum of four to six hours a day on your job search. Treat it as your full time job until you get one.
I wish you all the best of luck with either finding or upgrading your job in 2013 and I’ll be here to help you along.