“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
― Benjamin Franklin
There are two different steps in a job search: the preparation and the job search itself. The better you prepare your job searching the more effective and less frustrating the actual job search will become.
This week’s blog is about optimising the preparation-stage.
First of all, acknowledge that job searching costs time and can be frustrating. Job searching is a separate skill and any frustrations encountered during the job search doesn’t relate to how valuable you can be on the job. After tackling this, identify your top accomplishments, and identify the skills you used to achieve them. This is what organisations want to know most, and it convinces hiring managers that you possess the necessary skills and qualities for the job.Your resume, cover letter, and interview should focus on these specific results.
The next step is preparing an elevator pitch. It’s the two minutes speech that summarises who you are, what you do and why you are the perfect candidate for the job (use those accomplishments and skills that you just mentioned).
A good idea is to practise your elevator pitch with somebody that knows you well, so they can give feedback on it. After that it’s good to practise it on someone that doesn’t know you (that well) to see how your pitch comes across and whether you manage to get your point clear and understood.
If you know how to present yourself in an elevator pitch, it’s time to polish your resume or CV. This is your only chance to make a phenomenally great first impression towards your future employer. If you’re not sure about the state of your resume or CV, get a template or let it be edited by us. It is important to get it right!
Keep in mind that the basis of a resume or CV can be the same for all job applications, but it is tailored to characteristics or aspects specifically asked for in the job ad. Hiring managers know it immediately when your resume or CV is a “one size fits all”. Chances of getting through to the next round are equal to 0…
Make sure you are on top of the trends in your industry. What new trends, technologies, or jargon do you need to be aware of? What companies are up-and-coming? Which companies may be hiring? Are there any specific skills that you need to improve to be competitive in today’s job market? What issues are facing your industry at the moment?
This is not only important before you start your job search, but also prepares you already for any questions about these topics during your job interview. This is the level of initiative that the interviewer expects from their future employee.
The last important thing to do is network, network, network! Only about 15-20 percent of all available jobs are ever publicly advertised in any medium. The vast majority of job openings are part of the “hidden” or “closed” job market, so make a list of former co-workers, classmates, team mates, family members, your neighbours; basically everybody you know. Let this network of people know that you are looking for a job. Trying that elevator pitch on them is a great way of testing your pitch but also a short and clear way of letting everyone around you know who you are and what kind of job you are looking for.
You never know who in your network might know about an opening that you’d be perfect for, and your chances of being considered increase when you have someone connected to the company or job referring you
I’ll give you a week to optimise your job search before talking about optimising your actual job search next week.