Losing a job is stressful especially when you’ve been working for the same company for several years. Suddenly you’ve found yourself thrust into the role of a job seeker, and you aren’t sure where you should begin.
If you have recently lost a job, or you’re facing the possibility of losing your job in the near future, it’s vital for you to know what your next steps should be. You might be asking yourself:
- Are my cover letter and resume up to today’s standards?
- Is it possible to find a job online?
- What has changed since the last time I had to look for a job?
If any of those questions sound familiar, this article is for you.
While it is true that job search techniques have changed in recent years, the newest methods of finding a job give you more opportunities than you have probably encountered in the past. Today, job seekers have a variety of resources at their disposal, and knowing how to take advantage of all of them can help you kick-start your job search.
In this article, our attorneys will discuss seven crucial job search resources that will boost your efforts and help you establish your professional reputation. We will cover the best ways to use them to your advantage so you can find the right job quickly.
LinkedIn is a social media site that is dedicated to professionals. People use it in a variety of ways, including job searching and networking. LinkedIn can be a valuable resource for you in your search for a new job, but first, you must learn how to use it properly. As you get started, focus on two distinct areas: your LinkedIn profile and learning how to network.
Building an Excellent LinkedIn Profile
Creating an excellent LinkedIn Profile is all about appealing to recruiters or employers who are looking for professionals that meet their criteria. In order to grab their attention, your profile must not only include the right keywords, but it also has to describe your past successes in quantifiable terms.
First, you will create your headline or your job title. The headline is the text that a potential employer will see first. Most likely, they will find you through LinkedIn’s search feature, so it is important to include the right keywords. Make sure the words you use to speak to your expertise and highlight your experience. For example, you wouldn’t want to use the headline, Advertising Professional, because it is just too vague. Instead, you might choose to call yourself a Marketing Executive specializing in Direct Mail. These terms are keyword-rich, and they are the types of words a potential employer will use to search for new talent. Also, according to Forbes Contributor, Liz Ryan, “If your job search is out of the closet, go ahead and say so in your LinkedIn headline.” Including the type of position you are looking for – as well as what you plan to deliver for your new employer – is an excellent way to snag an interview.
Once you have grabbed a potential employer’s attention, he will look to your summary to determine if you are a good fit for the job. The right keywords will communicate your level of experience. However, it is important to provide proof of your accomplishments and success. Perhaps last year you were responsible for a 10% growth in profits for your company. Your summary should indicate that. Include any details about your professional career that will make you stand out from your competition. LinkedIn provides you with an ample amount of space to discuss your successes, so use this space to your advantage.
Keywords in your LinkedIn profile are important for search engines like Google, as well. LinkedIn profiles automatically rank highly in Google’s results, so when you use the proper keywords in your headline as well as in your summary, your chances of being found are even greater.
Networking on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is much more than just a place to post your online portfolio and resume. Networking opportunities are plentiful, and every LinkedIn member is encouraged to take full advantage of them.
LinkedIn offers a search feature that allows you to locate people you know through your email address. The system will also prompt you to add more connections on a regular basis. Connect with people you know, and let them know about your job search status. You may be surprised to find out that they know of an employer who is looking for your skills. Once you are connected to others, you can also search their connections, or ask them for recommendations.
LinkedIn groups offer you additional networking opportunities. According to Business Insider Career Expert, Matt Johnston, joining LinkedIn groups is one of the fastest ways to connect to other people in your industry. Once you are a member of a group, make sure to actively take part in discussions on a regular basis. Offer your insight, and try to help other professionals who are facing issues you have encountered in the past. The more visible and active you are in your groups, the more likely you are to be noticed by employers.
While you generally cannot send messages to people you are not connected to, LinkedIn does allow you to message people who are in your groups. That means if you talk with someone who could be a job lead or an employer, you are able to message that person to continue the conversation.
2. Your Cover Letter
Even though the majority of job searching is now done online, you should have an excellent cover letter ready to present to a potential employer, along with a stellar resume. It takes some work to write a cover letter that makes you stand out from your competition, but you will find that if you put in the effort, it will be worth it.
It was once believed that your salutation on a cover letter was insignificant. However, according to Lisa Vaas, Job Search Expert forTheLadders.com, your salutation is your chance to make a positive first impression on a recruiter or employer. When it comes to using the “Dear Sir or Madam” technique she cautions, “What this generic salutation says isn’t positive: Namely, that the author couldn’t be bothered to find out the hiring manager’s name.” Research the name of the person who will be reviewing your cover letter and your resume so that you can include it before you hit send or drop it in the mail.
As you write your letter, be sure to include the company’s name. If it becomes clear that your letter is more of a form letter, and not personalized, it may be discarded. Talk about why you want to work for that company, and clearly discuss what experience you are bringing to the table. In a sense, your cover letter should hit the high points of your resume. Adding bullet points will make your accomplishments stand out, and they are useful for drawing the reader’s eyes to the right places.
Your cover letter should be one page in length. Before you close, be sure to ask for an interview. This is the section many job seekers neglects because they fear they are being too forward. However, adding a call to action to your cover letter will give you the best chance of receiving a response. In addition, pinpoint a date when the reader can expect to hear from you for a follow-up call.
When you have finished your cover letter, proofread it several times. Correct any mistakes in grammar or punctuation. The best way to find errors is to read what you have written out loud to yourself. Once you are certain that your cover letter is perfect, you are ready to work on polishing your resume.
3. Your Resume – Revisited
Whether you are applying for jobs online, or you are meeting potential employers face-to-face, if you have been out of the job hunt for a while, your resume probably needs to be updated. However, this requires more than just adding your most recent job title and duties to the page. Today’s employers are looking for certain key elements in a resume, and if they are not there, they quickly go into the circular file. In fact, according to one recent study, you have about six seconds to make an impression on a potential recruiter.
Forget the Objective
If your old resume included an objective at the top of the page, replace this section with your Career Summary. Employers consider the objective section to be a waste of time, and they are much more interested in your professional achievements. Highlight your successes by using a bulleted list that includes quantified statistics. This list will not only demonstrate what you have accomplished, but it will also illustrate what you are capable of bringing into your new position.
Revamp Your Work History
Fortunately, there is no longer a need to include every job you have ever held on your resume. Instead, use this space to provide details on your last ten to fifteen years of employment. Include actionable terms that demonstrate the qualities you possess according to your Career Summary section. Your work history should outline your track record and how it complements your overall career goals.
Education and Training
This section is often overlooked by job seekers, but you probably have a great deal of information you can add to it. In addition to college or graduate degrees, indicate any additional training or certificates you have earned and when you earned them. The fact that you have sought to improve your level of training demonstrates your willingness to learn and grow in your professional life.
Most job search experts agree that it is not necessary for you to include a long list of references during the early stages of your job search. Reference lists can make a resume seem too long, so it is best to end with References Available Upon Request at the bottom of your resume. If an employer asks for references, you can be fairly certain that you are being seriously considered for a position, so have them on hand.
4. Social Media
Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter can be excellent resources for you as well. However, before you begin your job search, you may need to make a few changes to your profiles. You may also need to change the information you share or tweet to reflect a more professional image.
Professionalize Your Social Media Sites
More often than not, a potential employer will conduct his own research on you before he even contacts you for an interview. According to CareerRealism.com, you should professionalize your social media sites before you begin looking for a job. You can do this by:
- Removing unprofessional posts or information
- Untagging yourself in any questionable pictures
- Changing your privacy settings to allow employers to view only basic information
Look at your profiles through the eyes of a recruiter or employer. If you are confident that what you have included communicates a professional image, you are ready to learn to use social media to find a job.
Job Search with Social Media
Almost every company understands the need to have a solid social media presence. They use their social media sites to connect with their customers, but they also use them to inform people of open positions. If you primarily use social media for pleasure, it is easy to use it to find a job too. Begin by following or liking companies you are interested in working for. Comment on their posts, or retweet their tweets to indicate to them that you are paying attention to that particular business. When and if they post job openings, they will be familiar with you when you send them your cover letter and resume.
Facebook offers many industry-related groups that you can join as well. This feature gives you the opportunity to personally connect with others in your field. Group members frequently share when there is a job opening, which can give you an excellent advantage over other applicants.
5. Leverage Freelance Platforms
As the Covid-19 pandemic redefined telecommuting & the gig economy, many businesses—both small and large organizations—have turned to freelance platforms to source out talents for various contract-based projects.
Upwork is one of the largest digital work marketplaces for talented, freelance professionals where top companies hire and both the client and talent are rated. This enables one to build a portfolio of outstanding work which presents social proof, encourages more work in the future, and better rate negotiations.
Sign up & create a unique profile on one of these freelance platforms that showcases your skills and experience. It should be tailored to grab attention and set yourself apart from the competition.
6. Your Online Portfolio
Although social media sites and LinkedIn offer you excellent opportunities to connect with employers, they are not a substitute for having an online portfolio. An online portfolio is an excellent resource for employers, according to Careers Expert, Heather Huhman, because it provides them with instant access to examples of your work. It also gives you more online visibility because in time, a Google search for your name will provide your portfolio as a top result.
While your resume is essential in your job search, an online portfolio can make you come alive in the eyes of a potential employer. Your portfolio showcases your skills and expertise in a unique way that sets you apart from your competition. It is also easy to add new items to your site, which allows you to demonstrate your career growth over time.
There are several sites that are excellent for building an online portfolio, including:
These sites contain the tools you need to get started on your online portfolio right away. Once you have your site completed, be sure to share the link with your connections on social media, and in your professional groups. This will give you a high number of visitors, and it will aid you as you build your professional brand.
7. Build Your Brand
The concept of building your own professional brand is similar to the way businesses build their brands. Your goal is to send a consistent message to potential employers across the board. While you might not want to post identical Facebook statuses and Tweets on a regular basis, the message behind them should be aligned perfectly with your career goals.
If you are not sure what your brand is, or what it should be, Barbara Reinhold, contributing writer for Monster.com recommends establishing the top five strengths or talents that support the “product” you are selling – which is yourself. Once you have established your strengths, create a personal professional statement that communicates who you are and what you have to offer. That statement might be one or two sentences, or it could be a paragraph in length. Either way, when you have it completed, you have started the process of creating your brand.
The statement you have written envelops who you are as a professional, and it is the message you should be sending to colleagues as well as to employers when you are looking for a job.
8. Networking Events
Using the Internet as a networking tool offers you a wealth of opportunities, and it is tempting to continue meeting new people virtually. However, at times there is no good substitute for networking in person. If you are a part of a local professional group on LinkedIn or Facebook, you might hear of events that are near you. Quite often these groups host their own events. However, you can also check other online sites that were created specifically for the purpose of announcing in-person networking events. These sites include:
Networking events are extremely valuable for you in your search for a new job because face-to-face meetings are often more profitable to your career. You can use them to meet new people within your field, but you can also use them to venture outside your area of expertise. Establishing relationships with the people you meet at these events can benefit you in your career now, or they can be useful to you many years from now. Either way, networking events allow you to showcase your knowledge and experience as an expert in your field.
Remember, once you have met people who could become valuable resources for you in your job search, follow up with them on a regular basis. This will not only improve your professional relationship, but it will allow them to keep you fresh in their minds in case a job opportunity comes up that would be perfect for you.
Many people are overwhelmed when they think about how drastically job search strategies have changed, even in the last decade. Fortunately, if you’re feeling the same way, there are plenty of resources available to you. There are many different types of services that have been created to help people with everything from building an excellent resume to managing their social media profiles and other online interactions. If you are unsure of where you should start, or you are nervous about whether or not you will do it right, websites such as these can be a valuable resource for you:
Not only will you spend less time marketing yourself and your skills, but you will also have the added advantage of working with an expert to make sure everything you present to potential employers is as professional and polished as possible.
Although you might be feeling discouraged after losing your job, with the new job seeking methods that are available to you, the time you spend looking for a new position could be very short. Spend some time understanding and mastering how to use each of them, and you will quickly become an employee who is sought after by many of the recruiters and employers within your industry.