Tuesday, June 30, 2015


It’s been a buyer’s employment market since 2008.  For every job posted there are sometimes hundreds of applicants. For that reason, modern job seekers as sellers, need to be increasingly savvy in their job searches.

Here are five MUST DO TIPS for the modern job seeker to increase chances of closing the deal:


Before you start looking for a job, use the internet to learn about which industries are in growth mode and which are hiring.  Determine what types of jobs companies are posting and which qualifications they seek.  Then decide whether you need to obtain a certification or take a course or re-word your resume to fit the job needs. If you are looking for a job that gives preference to certifications, consider whether you should get certified. But, you might find you don’t want it enough.

For example, a financial analyst who had also been working as a project manager decided to look for a new job. He soon realized that if he wanted to find a job as a project manager in a large financial institution, he would need a PMP certification. He remained at his job and studied for the certification. Then, with the PMP certification on his resume, he pursued suitable positions with a new level of confidence. 

In another instance, a headhunter/recruitment professional looking for a change decided he could position himself in different roles. He could study for months to sit for a PHR/SPHR certification and position himself as a human resources/talent acquisition professional. Or, he could position himself as a “sales professional.” After thoroughly researching different positions and investigating the PHR/SPHR certification requirements, he decided that, although there appeared to be more opportunities in HR-related positions, he wasn’t interested enough in studying for the PHR/SPHR exam, and his talents were stronger in sales. That decision made it even more important for him to build and rely upon a robust referral network to make connections in sales.

 Once you have a direction, you must develop a brief, cogent elevator speech and practice it before you reach out to build your referral network.  If you speak with people before you have clarity, you may sound uncertain and lacking in confidence or direction. You only get one shot to make an impression. How do you build a job hunting network? Make a chart listing your friends, relatives, and people you’ve dealt with in business. Determine which ones you trust to keep your job search confidential, to give you honest advice, and to make appropriate introductions. If you are an experienced professional, that list should be between 50 and 250 people. Email or call them one-by-one and ask them for their help. Make notes about the date and content of the conversation and establish a time that you will follow up. Ask key individuals to review and comment on your resume. Ask them to introduce you to others. Follow up on every lead you are given and go on every informational or courtesy interview you are offered. You will find some people will help you more than others. Follow up with the people who sincerely reach out to you.


Study the qualifications listed in each job posting.  Does your resume show that your skills meet those requirements? If not, rework your resume to let the readers know right away that your skills are “on all fours” with the applicant they seek.  If you are an experienced professional, you likely will add a brief summary at the top with core competencies mirroring the job requirements just below the summary.  Present results, achievements, or impacts of your work to SHOW prospective employers how you will be able to solve their problems. And, to make it to the top of the pile, your resume must look clean, organized, and be error-free.  Ask people you respect to read and comment on your resume.

Make your profile attractive to recruiters. Once you have completed your resume, align your LinkedIn profile with your resume.  But your profile should be less detailed and less formal than your resume. Companies and headhunters search for candidates on LinkedIn. Your photo should be sharp and professional-looking. Ensure you have the right keywords in the headline, job title, and summary. Change the title at the top near your name. The title does not need to be your current job title. Instead, it might be something more general like:  Pharmaceutical Sales Professional; Senior Accountant | CPA; Chief Marketing Officer; Electrical Engineer; or Project Management Professional.
The best way to find a job through networking is through social media. Then take the time to add connections. You need at least 250 connections to increase your chances to find either a job or a lead to a job. Connect with alumni to increase your connections. One of them may work in your industry or a company that interests you. Click on CONTACTS and scroll down to SCHOOLS. There you can find all LinkedIn members who went to your school.
Use LinkedIn to search for jobs. As a first step, click on the JOBS tab on the home page and search for jobs. You can follow companies on LinkedIn to follow company information and job postings. Next, join industry groups that seem to be a good match for your skills and career objectives. LinkedIn will send you regular emails suggestion jobs that might interest you. Read through those emails.


There is no substitute for preparation. At a minimum, you should know as much about the company as you can. Prepare questions to ask about the company and the interviewers. This will show you have done your homework. Know why you would add value. Determine the challenges of the company or the industry and practice talking about how you would be the answer to their problems. This may answer the “WHY SHOULD WE HIRE YOU?” And you also need to prepare the answer to “WHY ARE YOU INTERESTED IN OUR COMPANY?” (See our blog post, Five Simple Interview Tips.) Search the internet for information about behavioral interviews; find sample questions for the type of job you seek; and practice answering the questions.

Randi S. Lewis, Esq., CEIP | Resume Boutique LLC | 410.602.2500
Professional Resume Writer - LinkedIn Profile Writer - Strategic Interview Coach
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