Feature: If All You Hear Is Silence
If you’ve done everything you should, and nothing has happened. If you’ve conducted research on employers in your area, written an up-to-date resume, networked with colleagues and friends, and replied to the openings for which you’re qualified, and still all you hear is silence, then it’s time to reinforce your job search. Sure, it’s frustrating and dispiriting, but the situation can be improved if you take action. In fact, the one course you must avoid is simply to continue doing the same old things over and over again. If you’ve given the standard methods your best effort and they aren’t working, then you have to adopt a new approach. Think of it as a power bar for your job search.
This “pick-you-up” has just six steps. It’s important that you do them all. Don’t cherry pick the steps you like and ignore the rest. Do every one, even those that may push you a bit out of your comfort zone. That’s how this new approach works. It energizes your job search by sharpening strengths you already have but are not using effectively and adding new capabilities that will enhance your position in the job market. They’re all essential, however, if you want to hear something other than silence. The six steps follow.
Today’s job market is one of the most competitive in history. It’s not easy to capture a good position, let alone a great one, even if you’re doing everything right. Yes, you will hear stories about others who landed a dream position fifteen minutes after they started looking. Remember two things about them: they’re the exception to the rule and the next time around they may not (and probably won’t) be so lucky.
Don’t get overconfident.
To be truly competitive in this job market, you must be ahead of the state-of-the-art in your profession, craft or trade. How can you do that?
Modernize your networking.
Traditional face-to-face networking is still an important component of any job search, and you should continue to invest time and effort in both making connections and contacts that can position you for a successful search and improving the skill with which you do so. However, it’s now equally as important to stretch your networking into a new dimension-the Internet. Networking online enables you to expand the number of people who know you and thus may be able to assist in your job search.
Where and how do you do it? By joining the discussion forums that are available on sites operated by your professional association, your alumni organization and/or affinity group (e.g., sites for veterans, women in technology, African-Americans in finance). Limit your time investment to no more than 30 minutes a day, but do participate. The Golden Rule of Networking is the same online as it is in the real world: you have to give, in order to get. Share your knowledge and experience with others so they will be inclined to share theirs (and the jobs they know about) with you.
Stop using a generic resume.
Recruiters know your resume was written on a word processing system, so they are well aware of how easy it is to modify the document. That fact has radically changed their expectations. They are longer satisfied with a generic resume accompanied by a cover letter that relates the resume to their specific opening. Instead, they want the resume, itself, to be tailored to the position and the cover letter to highlight the key competitive differences that are described in the document and make you the candidate they should select.
Tailoring a resume to each opening for which you apply obviously takes time, so adopting this approach necessitates another change in your job search strategy. In essence, it forces you to abandon the scatter-shot method of application-applying for any opening where you are even partially qualified-and replace it with a more focused strategy in which you limit your efforts to those opportunities where you are truly competitive and most likely to be engaged by the work involved.
Start making better use of job boards.
There are more than 40,000 job boards currently in operation. No single one of these sites can bring you every employment opportunity for which you are qualified and in which you are potentially interested. For that reason, it’s important to use a range of these sites regularly. I suggest that you put at least five of them to work for your job search:
A word of caution is in order here. With so many options available to you, it’s important to be a discriminating consumer. Not all job boards have the same capabilities and, unfortunately, not all are operated in accordance with good business practices. How can you tell the difference?
Finding a great opportunity and winning the race to capture it is a tough challenge for anyone in today’s highly competitive job market. If you’re not having the success you want, it’s time to move to a new approach … and add some power to your job search campaign.
Thanks for reading,
P.S. Don’t keep WEDDLE’s to yourself. If you like our newsletter, please tell your friends and colleagues about it. They’ll appreciate your thinking of them. And, we will too!
Section Two: Site News You Can Use
GetHuman.com launched as a site for consumers who want to fight back against inhuman customer service. It offers a place for you to vent your frustrations with comments about dysfunctional telephone systems and discourteous sales persons, which the site will then compile into a best and worst list each month. While that may help you blow off a little steam, there’s another site feature that may be useful in your job search: the site provides the secret codes that enable you to get around a company’s automated telephone system and reach a human being inside the company. Although it’s designed to help consumers, it may also be an effective way for those in transition to reach a recruiter in a company’s Human Resource Department. Currently, the site lists the codes for almost 400 companies. For example, to reach an operator at a major bank (named on the site), all you have to do is call the company and enter 0#0#0#0#0#0#. Similarly, if you’d like to talk to a human at a leading consumer electronics company (also named on the site), just press 111## on your touch tone phone.
MilitaryConnection.com announced its launch as an employment site for military personnel transitioning into the private sector. The site is the product of a company that has been handling print recruitment advertising in military base newspapers for six years. It offers an online directory of employers, a virtual job fair, military pay conversion calculators, and other resources. MilitaryConnections.com also provides the employers that are its clients with a discount that it then encourages them to donate to charity, including military-related charitable organizations which it lists on its site.
PeopleStaff, a staffing agency in Japan, introduced a new competitor for those seeking temporary or contract work. Targeting receptionist positions, the company will now provide a robotic worker called Hello Kitty Robo for just under $430/month-a lot less than what a human would traditionally accept for such work. The gadget can sense a visitor’s presence, greet them, and then hold a simple conversation with them. That sounds a lot like the kind of interviews most hiring mangers hold. Maybe they’re next on the robo-hit list.
The executive search firm Korn-Ferry International announced the results of its recent survey of recruiters. Among the findings was their assessment of the most effective forms of networking. According to the respondents, they are regular social interactions, membership in business/trade associations, and attendance at conferences and seminars, in that order. They also opined on how best to catch their (the recruiter’s) attention:
StartupJournal.com, a publication for entrepreneurs from The Wall Street Journal, announced a list of 25 high-performing franchises that do business in the United States. With over 2,500 franchise options now available, the list can be a helpful tool for those considering a move into this kind of business. It was developed in conjunction with the research firm FRANdata.. The top ten companies on the list are:
Section Three: Site Profiles
Site Insite … how well do you know the Web’s 40,000+ job boards?
1. If you’re a college-level basketball coach looking to take over a program that has nowhere to go but up, which of the following sites would be a winner in helping you find some great opportunities?
2. You’re a successful Advertising Manager with experience in the construction industry. Which of the following sites would help your promote your capabilities to prospective employers around the country?
3. Your current employer is downsizing, and you’ve decided to take its severance package. If you’re an experienced editor of technical and consumer documents, which of the following sites would dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s as you look for something new?
Site Spotlite … from the pages of WEDDLE’s 2005/6 Guides and Directories
Software Contractors’ Guild
Post full time jobs: No
Post part time, contract or consulting jobs: Yes – Contract, Consulting
Distribution of jobs: International
Number of jobs: 186
Salary levels of jobs: Hourly (not specified)
Offer a job agent: No
Resume database: Yes
How long are resumes stored: 365 days
Restrictions on who can post: If registered
Other services for job seekers: Career information
Member, International Association of Employment Web Sites: No
Answers to Site Insite
1. All but CoachingTalent.com, the site of an executive and personal coach.
2. Only TalentZoo.com; AdPeople.com is the site of an advertising agency in Denmark, PromoTalent.com is a trade show and exhibit staffing company, and AdvertisingGurus.com is a promotional products company.
3. All of them.