DerrJones Recruiting Solutions

Job Search Tips

Stay ahead of your competition with these job search tips.

Most of us are painfully aware that good jobs are hard to come by in today's economy. With unemployment skyrocketing and companies using downsizing as their primary expense reduction strategy, this trend is likely to be with us for a while.

If you find yourself among the ranks of the unemployed, how do you increase your chances of landing successfully? Blasting your resume to hundreds of recruiters and replying to internet ads is not the answer. While these strategies have a place in your search, a more targeted approach, as we suggest with these job search tips, is likely to yield better results.

Getting Started

Job Search Tips

First, take a hard look at your background. Isolate what you're really good at. Consider both the industry you work in and your most recent job function. Assess the size of the companies you've worked for most recently. Use these thoughts to help set your focus on the kinds of jobs you should apply for.

While you may think your skills are transferrable to multiple industries and functions, you will have a better chance of landing interviews and offers if you stick to what you know. Likewise, if you've been working for small to mid-size companies, your background will more readily transfer to a similar sized company.

With a candidate rich market, employers do not have to look far for new talent. Why would they take a chance on someone who's almost a fit, when they can hire someone who has the exact skill set they're looking for?

While these may not be the job search tips you want to hear, it's important to understand the reality of the job market.

Finding Opportunities: The Best Job Search Tips

Develop a list of target companies that you would like to work for. Use your local Business Journal Book of Lists (available in most libraries), your local chamber of commerce, local chapters of professional and trade associations. If you're willing to move, you can tap into these resources for other parts of the country.

Once you've built your list, check out the career section on the corporate websites for the companies you've identified. See what areas within the company are hiring. Don't apply via the website! Check out the management team bios. Did anyone attend your alma mater?

Review job postings for the company on the internet. Again, don't apply through these sites. Take note of jobs that you are interested in.

Network Your Way In

Company websites and internet job boards are a good source of information, but not necessarily a good place to apply for opportunities. Your resume will be buried among hundreds of others, and may or may not be seen by an actual person.

You want to find the hiring manager and send your resume directly to that person. How do you do this?

There is no one answer to this question. Networking your way in will take persistence, some creativity and some courage. You'll need to make some phone calls, send some emails. Here are some of our best job search tips for how to get started:

  • Do you know someone who works for your target company? If so, use this contact to track down the information you're looking for.
  • Use social networking sites. Particularly Linked In. Linked In is very useful for finding people. If the position you're interested in reports to the VP Sales, chances are, you'll be able to get a name.
  • Call the company and ask for someone in the department the job is located in. If you're applying for an accounting position, ask for Accounts Receivable or Accounts Payable and then talk to the person who answers! Find out who the hiring manager is. Then you can send a resume directly to that person.
  • Use your professional association's online directory to find people who are in your target oganization. Use your membership connection to start a conversation.

Keys to Success

Job Search Tips

Your best shot at landing quickly is to apply for positions that you are truly qualified for. That might sound like an obvious suggestion. My recruitment experience, however, would suggest that people have trouble figuring this out.

When the position calls for 5-7 years of experience, and you have 25 years of experience, chances are you are not going to make the cut. If the company wants someone with financial services experience, and you've never worked for a bank, a mortgage company, an investment firm or an insurance company, chances are you won't make the cut. If the company wants 10 years of management experience, and you have 2, chances are you won't make the cut. Finally, if the company wants an MBA, and you didn't go to graduate school, chances are you won't make the cut.

In a competitive market, employers don't have much incentive to be flexible. The more targeted your job search, in terms of matching your background to the employers requirements, the more likely you are to succeed. Follow these job search tips and land more interviews. Guaranteed!

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