When it comes to looking for a job, figuring out where to start is always the hardest part. Despite living in a digital world, many of us don’t know how to fully take advantage of the information at our fingertips. Job hunting needs to go beyond simply posting your resume on a job board or applying to openings online. These things are a small piece of a much larger picture.
Are you cutting yourself short and missing out on other opportunities?
You could be a new grad, someone looking to make a career change, or someone looking to further your career. You could be looking for a better employer, stronger career progression, or to improve your work-life balance. Or you could be generally looking for work after a layoff. Whatever your situation may be, the key to being a good job seeker is to be prepared BEFORE you need to start looking. This will help you get traction, build relationships, and hopefully land you better options to choose from when the time is right. After all, you don’t want to make a snap decision in a desperate situation.
Stay relevant and involved. Here are things you should be doing continuously to ensure you’re in a good place when it’s time to start looking:
Talent Brand Research
With the access of information via technology, candidates have the ability to research companies in depth. Rather than only looking for job openings, also look into the companies in your target area and/or industries. Check out their career page, watch videos, read their BIZZpage on VentureFizz & Glassdoor reviews, follow them on social media, and network with their employees on LinkedIn.
Good companies are recognizing the influence of their employer brand and are taking steps to push out content to attract great talent. Doing your research here will not only help you see relevant job opportunities, but also help identify which company culture and benefits are a fit for you. This is an important step to ensuring overall happiness with your choice.
Identify Key Contacts and Communicate
Most people have felt the emptiness of the resume black hole. You know the feeling - when you submit an application that’s never to be heard from again. The issue is that recruiters are inundated with resumes every day and it takes time to sort through them, on top of other responsibilities like screening candidates, administrative work, and so on. Getting in front of the right person at the right time can make this process go much faster.
Do some research on who the recruiter is that’s hiring for the role and get in front of them. LinkedIn is a great place to research that. Sometimes the recruiter is even listed on their LinkedIn job postings. Don’t be afraid to ask for an introduction from a mutual connection or just to reach out directly. Also, see if the company you’re interested in has an events page. Perhaps they have an open house or career fair you can attend. Getting that face-to-face interaction can help you stand apart.
Create Your Personal Brand (Blogging & Portfolio)
Let’s face it – resumes are a necessary evil. It’s tough to list all of your accomplishments and experience on a one or two page document and make it sound exciting. Resumes are a great summary, but they don’t give a recruiter a full view into who you are and what you’ve done. This is where blogging and portfolios come into play.
Depending on your line of work, you can create an online blog through sites like WordPress, a tech repository through GitHub, or a portfolio on BeHance (just to name a few examples). This is where you can let your knowledge, experience, and skills shine. On your resume you might say you did XYZ but it’s much more impactful to actually show it through these different mediums. You can extend your reach by sharing on social media and networking with people on these sites. Sometimes that can give you a great lead to a new role.
With job seeking, sometimes it’s all about who you know. Take advantage of your established network of friendships, classmates, teachers, and colleagues. They may have an opportunity in which they can vouch for you. After all, employers LOVE employee referrals.
However, if you don’t have a strong enough network or if you need to connect with people from specific industries/companies, then you need to put yourself out there. I personally found networking through industry-specific discussions and chats on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to be super helpful. Not only did I learn a lot, but I was able to connect with some great people who were willing to help.
There are also some great in-person opportunities, too, which either are free or low cost. Check out the networking calendar on VentureFizz, Meetup.com or your local Young Professionals chapter for opportunity. Also see if there are career fairs or industry-specific events in your local area. Make sure you get out there, get talking, share your business cards, and make a good impression!
Finding a great company and career takes more than hitting the apply button. To find the right place for you, do your research, start networking, and put yourself out there. It takes some effort to build momentum but the results are worth it!