Get Your Job Search in High Gear

Now that the job market has flip-flopped to a buyer’s market, and one that is flooded with job seekers, it is time for you to pause and reboot your job search efforts. The following are three recommendations for your overall job search and six coaching tips about your resume.

My recommendations:

  1. Be humble. Admit that the job search process is hard and requires a lot of work. If I had the Men In Black neutralizer, I would “zap” out of your brain what you think you know and zap in some humility that forces you to admit, “I need to learn this.”
  2. Be realistic. Before you dive into your job search by unloading a firehose of information via your resume, ask yourself if you are ready to be the best candidate for the recipient (the hiring team or your network) or if you will just be average. In my experience as a job search coach, there is no middle ground – it is binary. And if you think you are better than average because you are including a cover letter, sorry, you’re not.
  3. Be methodical. Job searching is a system. It is a step-by-step, technical approach to translating your skills and experiences into a story that resonates with the hiring team. And it takes work – lots of it. At the simplest level, think of it in the context of “Ready, Aim, Get Hired.”
  • Get “Ready” by having a clear next-position goal and studying the requirements of that position on a deep level. When you are ready, you know your strengths in relation to that position and you understand what you will learn on the job.
  • Aim” is more measurable. It is a checklist of all the job search tools to make you shine on every level once you apply. This checklist is the work you need to complete. Examples include creating a new resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile, updated interview preparation, etc.
  • Get Hired” is the act of pursuing positions. Your primary goal is to get interviews, then ace those interviews. Finally, follow up and network, which are critical steps in that last mile.

Resume misinformation is rampant.

According to a Monster.com survey, “32% of Americans do not believe that a traditional resume adequately conveys their value to employers.” Almost half of Americans ages 55-65 agree.

My recommendations:

  1. Be current. There are thousands of resume templates, articles, and recommendations on the internet. Even some prominent resume-builders are delivering out-of-date concepts. Why? Because it is hard work keeping up with evolution in the marketplace. Technology and human bandwidth have changed the landscape, even from five years ago.
  2. Be smart. Due to the technology embedded into job boards, LinkedIn, and hiring companies’ software systems, your single master resume needs to resonate with real people and robots at the same time. You do not need to learn about complex algorithms, but you do need to ensure that your resume doesn’t put you on the fast-track to the “no” pile. It is important to understand resume dos and don’ts.
  3. Be fresh. Reboot your resume to speak to your new audience. Just because your last resume helped you get your last role, don’t assume it will work for the audience of your next role. Whether you are making a career change or progressing along your current career, you need to start with a blank page to redo your resume. How?
  4. Before you rewrite your resume, study the key requirements of your future role, and gather key words and phrases. Put yourself in the shoes of the recipient and tell your story in a way that paints you as the perfect square peg for their square hole.
  5. Be complete. Stop “resume-itis,” or believing your resume is the center of your job search universe or that it determines your fate. Yes, it needs to be well-written, easy-to-read, and focused on your skills, achievements, and results. However, other elements of your job search are equally, if not more, important. All the items in “Aim” above are mission critical.
  6. Be everywhere. Once you have a resume that you are proud of (and you are in job-seeking mode), copy and paste that resume into your LinkedIn profile. Recruiters, hiring managers and your network want to see the same content, not less. In addition to the resume content, add a great photo, headline, and summary, and be sure your contact information is visible and up to date.

Your quest is to have the maximum results in the shortest amount of time, right? Then, why not be a learner? Why not tell yourself, “I don’t know what I don’t know” and seek help? Invest as much as you need to learn the whole job search system, and it will become like riding a bike. I do not believe that job searching is a full-time job, but I do know that a detailed, step-by-step process will deliver results.

This article originally appeared here on Forbes.com.

See other relevant insights here:

1) How to Make Your LinkedIn Profile Shine

2) Robo-Resumes

3) Job Search Process and Organization

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