Whether you just graduated from college or you’ve been employed but need to change positions, you can do a few things to make the job hunting process easier. The right position probably won’t fall into your lap, but you can help attract it to you.
You might be happy to learn that it does not have anything to do with how many high-ranking jobs you have held, nor your years worked. It does have to do with your planning and preparation. Take the following three steps to jumpstart your job hunt.
Create a focused, targeted job search
Rather than going it alone, marshal all the resources possible to assist you in your search. Start by registering at your state’s employment center. Find a support group for career change or job hunting. You’ll have others to bounce ideas off of, as well as, get and give encouragement. Check with your university for alumni placement. Your goal is to build a network of support for your job hunt. Do not ignore online groups like those on LinkedIn which can also help you find opportunities.
Once you have lined up your potential assistant groups, you need to home in on what you really want to do. Sharpen your focus on what you want to achieve as a new position. Rather than search for a wide variety of listings or advertising yourself as one who can “do anything,” determine exactly what career you want to develop. Choose one to three jobs you would enjoy in which you already have the skill set or experience, preferably both. For example, you might choose to search only for administrative assistant or personal assistant positions. You may also add social media assistant to that list. Next, you would identify between ten and fifty firms with which you would like to apply. The specificity of your search contributes to its success. Your potential employers will look at your applications, resume and cover letter with an impressed eye to your well-developed job search.
Develop your resume
Create a concise but informative resume using a simple format that uses standard fonts, spacing and colors. Choose a sans serif font. Use a good mix of white space and text. Organize it in an intuitive manner. Even if your career is in design or graphics, resist the urge to use strange formatting. Instead, create an infographic that illustrates your top skills and fits into the scheme of your resume.
- Use active verbs throughout. Do not keyword stuff but do use accurate keyword terms to communicate your skills.
- Cut the items that do not contribute to your most recent five to ten years of work. Also, eliminate the items that really belong on the cover letter like the objective. Part of building your resumeis removing the unneeded.
- Lose your graduation year unless you are a recent graduate. Otherwise, it functions as a way for the potential employer to calculate your age.
- Remove the list of soft skills. Discuss this in the interview instead.
- Remove the phrase “References available upon request.” It is obvious and unnecessary.
- Provide only your email address and telephone number on your resume. The hiring manager may see an address and nix you because it reflects a potentially long commute.
Provide your social media accounts, especially your LinkedIn. If you do not already have a LinkedIn, open an account. They are free and provide a convenient way to connect with other professionals, your college or university and they gear the entire site to professional communication and career only.
Do not ignore your cover letter
Author an amazing basic cover letter that you can tweak for each position. As with the resume, use a standard format. Use the same font as for your resume.
Your cover letter amounts to an advertisement for yourself. Pull in your reader with perfect grammar, punctuation and punchy, active verbs. Sell yourself and your skill set.
- Keep it brief. It needs about 200 to 300 words. Highlight your key skills and tie them to the position available.
- Avoid sharing too much personal information. Also, avoid saying anything negative about your former employers. This reflects poorly on you, not on them.
This article was originally published on YourCoffeeBreak.