10 Lessons on Developing a Job Search Strategy
We often mention the concept of a job search strategy on our blog, because it really sums up all of the avenues you need to travel down in order to land a new position.
However, it has come to our attention that some of you are unaware of what an effective job search strategy really entails.
You cannot simply take your existing resume and cover letter, change around the information and fire it off to hundreds of companies and somehow believe that you are practicing an effective strategy. This is probably the worst strategy, second to not applying for any roles at all.
So what does it take to engage in an effective job search strategy? We’ve broken it down into 10 key points.
1 – Find the Right Positions
As we just mentioned – you should never fire your resume off to hundreds of positions and hope for the best. Job hunting is all about Quality over Quantity. Anyone can send off their resume, but only the people who really and truly want the role and know they are qualified for it, will take the time to customize their resume and cover letter to the posting to express their in-depth interest.
In order to successfully customize your resume and cover letter for the right position, you have to find the right role for you. Keep in mind that you are not looking for the role that you want the most; you are looking for the role that you are the most qualified for. Unfortunately job hunting is not about what you want; it is about what you can offer.
2 – Find the Right Industries
Once you’ve narrowed down the type of role that is right for you, it’s time to narrow down the right industries. Just because everyone says you’ll get a higher salary working for an oil and gas company, that doesn’t mean that you should only target that industry. Think first – do you have any understanding or knowledge of the oil and gas industry? If your answer is no, you will not be chosen for a role in this industry.
We recommend focusing on industries that you have previously worked within, or industries where you have contacts that can help you through the process. Your list of compatible industries does not have to be narrowed down to one or two; this is a list that will continue to grow as you gain more experience.
3 – Research the Company
Research is an incredibly important aspect of job searching. Most importantly, researching the companies you plan to apply for positions with. Your knowledge of the company and their needs will be a great asset for you in the interview process.
Taking the time to research the company’s background, read their annual report, and review their past media coverage is the best way to show the hiring manager that you are heavily interested in the role.
Tie that in with your qualifications which meet all necessary requirements, and the hiring manager will see that you are the perfect person for the job. Though you cannot express your knowledge of the company in the resume, you can definitely mention it in the cover letter. This is a great way to get your cover letter noticed.
4 – Identify Keywords
While you’re working on the cover letter, you should also incorporate keywords from the job posting into both the resume and cover letter. Keywords for any job posting are easily identifiable throughout the requirements and qualifications section of the posting.
You want to mimic the language and wording from the job posting in your own documents to show the hiring manager that you have taken the time to customize your cover letter and resume for this specific role. Integrating the right keywords will also help you pass any keyword scanning systems that the company may be using.
5 – Craft an Effective Value Statement
So you’ve got the right keywords in your resume, but that’s really only the first step of many. Now that you’ve thoroughly read the job posting, you need to determine why you are the perfect fit for this role. Take those reasons and craft them into an effective value statement.
The value statement will appear as the introduction to your resume, and should tell the hiring manager why you are qualified for the role. Then you should also throw in a highlight or achievement that will spark the hiring manager’s interest and intrigue them enough to read through the rest of your resume.
6 – Identify Professional Achievements
One of the biggest problems with most resumes is that they only focus on day-to-day tasks. Yes the hiring manager wants to know what you did in your last role so they can see what your qualifications are, but they also want you to wow them.
Anyone with a similar professional background to yours that is applying for this role will have completed similar daily tasks. It is up to you to include your achievements that show your ability to take initiative and go above and beyond, as this is the information that will set you apart from the rest of the applicants.
7 – Identify Process Improvements
Another piece of information that is probably missing from your resume is the process improvements that you initiated and implemented. Improving processes is something that many people do naturally in their workplace, but they never think to include it on their resume.
We all enter a role and decide to do things in a slightly different way because we can see the inefficiencies and the bottlenecks that need to be eliminated. These experiences are great highlights in a resume to show the hiring manager how you improved the company’s overall operations.
8 – Create an Effective Resume
Now that you’ve identified your keywords, created your value statement, outlined your achievements and process improvements – it’s time to put this information into a well formatted and professional resume. The content that you’ve prepared is great, but you still require a professional format.
It is as simple as adding bold underlines to each section in order to separate and better organize the information for the hiring manager. In certain industries, you can get creative with your format, colours, and design, but we recommend keeping it simple and professional to ensure that the document is aesthetically pleasing, and to allow the content to stand out.
9 – Complete a LinkedIn Profile
Next up – take all of that great content from your resume and add it into your LinkedIn profile. Think of this as your online resume, because many hiring managers will attempt to find you on LinkedIn after they’ve received your application.
A bare and unfinished profile may instigate the hiring manager to toss your resume aside, but a complete and informative profile will definitely impress them. This online resume space also allows other hiring managers and recruiters to view your career history and contact you for potential opportunities.
10 – Network with Recruiters
Congratulations, all of your job search documentation is complete. Now it’s time to network. It is easy to network with past employers and colleagues, but you should also take it to the next level and network with recruiters specifically within your field and industry.
Many recruiters specialize in certain fields and industries, so you want to pinpoint the ones who are generally hiring for positions like the one you will be applying for. Connecting with a recruiter and building a relationship will allow you access to these job postings and could easily lead to your next role.
If you follow these 10 steps and you’re still not getting called for interviews… then you’re doing something wrong. Get in touch with us and we’d be happy to help you get on the right track.