Why it makes sense to do more than just send out your resume and wait for your next opportunity!
By Sarah Werley
There are two types of job seekers in the employment world, and a year ago both were pretty successful. But today, as the job market shrinks and competition for a good position gets tough, only one of those types is going to continue to be successful.
Type A is the passive job seeker, who sends out a few resumes and may post their resume online. They then sit back and wait for the employers to come to them. Type B is the active job seeker with more than a resume ready to find employment. Active job seekers spend more time on their search, and often (especially in a tough employment market) are more successful. How can you avoid the passive tendencies that used to be sufficient and start an active job search that's sure to be a success?
- Become a news junkie. Read the newspaper and trade publications in your field on a regular basis. By staying on top of the latest news in your industry, you will have a pretty good idea of which companies are doing well and who is hiring (and firing, as the case may be). Knowing the business will also be key as you begin to interview with potential employers. If you can have an intelligent conversation about the latest trend in the industry and how it has affected the company, the hiring manager sitting across from you is going to be very impressed. Knowing the news not only means you are a better conversationalist in the interviewee seat, it also makes you a stronger, smarter professional on the job.
- Stay in the loop. When you're looking for a new position, one of the best places to go is out. That's right-it's not always best to sit at home printing out resumes and scanning the classifieds. Instead, head to the local bar where execs hang out for happy hour on Thursdays. Or attend a few meetings of your industry's local professional organization. Networking is probably the best thing you can be doing when looking for a new job, second only to interviewing! By getting your name out and meeting other people in the industry, you become a hot commodity. Not only do you have a great resume, you also have a great network within the industry. Plus the movers and shakers out there know you are looking and will have you in mind when a position opens at their company.
- Create online search agents. Using online job boards is an increasingly popular way to search for employment, but many job seekers don't take advantage of the other technologies available on the Net. Sure, you can post your resume on a bunch of sites and hope that the right employer is out there looking for someone like you. But what if the employers out there have the same idea and are just posting jobs and hoping a candidate like you is looking? You have the ability to create a "search agent" on most career centers, where you build a profile for the types of positions you would like to have. Then, on a regular basis, the site will email a list of new postings that fit your profile. Creating search agents only takes a few extra minutes on most sites, and can greatly increase your chances of finding that perfect job.
- Contact the companies that interest you. So maybe you don't see any job openings advertised for the companies that you really want to work for; that doesn't mean they aren't hiring! If you have a genuine interest in working for a certain company, don't be afraid to contact them for more information. Get in touch with their HR department to talk about the company, discuss the work environment and see if they have any open positions (which they may not be advertising). If they do, great-send your resume and start interviewing! If not, ask if you could send your resume anyway and have it on file with the company. This action shows genuine interest in the organization and not just the prospect of a job. The next time a position opens, that HR director is going to have your resume immediately available before they even have the chance to advertise the position.
- Getting active, getting jobs. If you're serious about your job search, it only makes sense to take an active role in the process. Sending out a few resumes often isn't enough anymore, especially as the job market becomes increasingly competitive. By making an effort to do more than the average, passive candidate, you'll have a much greater chance of finding and winning the job you really want. It only takes a little time and effort to go from passive job seeker to active job seeker, which often means going from job seeker to employee in no time at all.
By Sarah Werley, writing for CareerBank.com