There are three critical elements of a successful job search. If you neglect even one, or fail to do you best on any of them, you will severely restrict your job search success.

Key Number 1 – Look beyond the Job Search Engines

While job search engines and job search websites are important, they are much less important than most job seekers think. One key contributor to this is the fact that only 10% to 15% of available jobs (at any one point in time) are estimated to be posted on one of these sites. A key contributing fact is simply cost. Most companies cannot afford to publish all of their jobs on these job search websites.

You can find a job online, but you’ve got to be willing to work a little harder and use a few different techniques. Most companies of any size today do have a career website and it’s usually a part of their main company website. You’ll find that most of their jobs are listed there because they use what is called an applicant tracking system, often referred to as an ATS. This system is linked to their website and as soon as they create a new job, the system will automatically appear on their career website.

Since it’s not practical to search all of these individually, you should use a website like Indeed.com or SimplyHired.com which collects jobs from not only individual company websites, but also from most recognized job boards.

Key Number 2 – Create a Compelling Resume

You must work extra hard to be sure that your resume is as good as it can be. The resume is your marketing message and it should be written more like a marketing document vs. a dry, chronological professional work history. Typically, your resume gets about 10 – 30 seconds of attention before the reader makes a preliminary yes or no decision. Most resumes get eliminated at this early step in the process.

In order for a resume to stimulate interest, it must make a connection with the message that’s “playing inside the head” of the reader. The reader is almost certainly mentally reviewing the key elements of the job posting and/or job description as they scan your resume. They are looking for certain words, phrases, ideas and concepts in your resume that match this mental image in their mind. One of the best resume tips is to create your resume using these same words, phrases, ideas and concepts. A word of caution however, is that our resume content must be 100% honest and factual. Never, ever be untruthful when creating your resume.

This often means that you will need more than one version of your resume. For particularly attractive jobs, you should seriously consider tailoring a resume for that one job opportunity.

A great resume has two basic, early objectives. First, it should cause the reader to desire to schedule an interview with you. Secondly, it will often become the default interview guide, and this presents an opportunity to help the interviewer focus on your strengths.

Key Number 3 – Ace the Interview

Now that you’ve been invited to participate in the interview and selection process, you’ve got to be at the top of your game. That means that in today’s job market, you need to be ready to do well in three types of interviews, or perhaps some combination of these interview styles.

The three styles are: 1) traditional 2) behavioral and/or 3) case interview. Each of these three interview styles deserves its own detailed training which goes well beyond the scope of this article. I’ve written about this subject on my blog and will soon have an interactive, computer based interview training module available on my blog.

Part of doing well in the interview is preparation. Preparing for the interview involves researching the company, learning all you can about the areas of the company that will utilize your expertise and last, and certainly not least, is knowing how best to respond to the three types of interviews that you’ll be exposed to.

One important tip on interviewing, is knowing how much or little information to provide in your answers. Giving too much and you run the risk of rambling and giving too little will likely convey to the interviewer that your knowledge is shallow and not comprehensive. I recommend using the STAR technique when forming your answers.

In the word STAR, the S and T stand for situation and task and the A stands for the action you took and the R stands for the results you obtained. You should be able to give a STAR answer in about one to 3 minutes and no more.

In summary, you must prepare in each of these three key areas. That will take purposeful work and effort. It will also often mean going outside your natural comfort zone. One of the biggest mistakes when it comes to a successful job hunting campaign, is to not limit yourself to your own personal preferences and experiences. Be open to try new approaches and avail yourself of training in each of these areas, and that sometimes means a modest monetary investment in your most important asset – you.

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