By Joel Onyshuk
Henry Ford once said, “Failure is only the opportunity to begin again, only this time more wisely.” And with all my job-hunting failures I now pass on to you what I hope to be informative and helpful ways to bolster the success of your job hunt and maximize your job offers when you get them.
Looking for a job is never going to be easy, but it also doesn’t have to be hard, either. We have to start with getting the right tools, resume, and strategy to finding that next job.
STEP ONE: GET THE RIGHT TOOLS
If you’ve never used the LinkedIn Job Search app or Glassdoor, I highly recommend you go download each of them right now. Go ahead, I’ll wait…
Using both these tools in tandem will save you time and enormous frustration. Using LinkedIn Job Search you can filter to find jobs that interest you, set alerts for when new jobs that interest you are posted, and even find out who you know who already works at the companies who are posting so you can maximize the effectiveness of your network (networking to be discussed later in this post). Though there are certainly other job search websites and apps out there, I’ve never found one as robust and helpful as LinkedIn Jobs. Start there and branch out as needed.
Then, once you know what jobs are out there, use Glassdoor to find out what the salary ranges are for that particular job title, or perhaps even what that specific company has been known to historically pay for the role you are interested in perusing. Glassdoor is a website and mobile app where current or former employees can post their experiences with working at any given company, what they were paid, what perks were offered, and how they’d rate the CEO or leader of the company, etc., all critical pieces to choosing the right job for you. Additionally, you can also upload a resume to Glassdoor as well and use the Glassdoor app to apply to jobs that might not show up on LinkedIn Job Search, which is an added bonus.
Once you find the job(s) that you like on LinkedIn Job Search, you can upload your resume or apply the hard way, or, if you get lucky, you can even use their “Easy Apply” option, as seen below…
The great thing about “Easy Apply” is that it will simply send the company your LinkedIn profile, complete with all your pertinent job history and experience as you’ve filled it out, as your “resume” which helps avoid any repetitious admin work to create or send in additional information. Why companies continue to ask you to fill out fields upon fields of job history details when you’ve already provided to them in a WORD doc or PDF of your resume is beyond me. Good grief, it’s almost 2018, people!
All that being said, you can one-click apply using that feature through the LinkedIn Jobs application after having vetted those opportunities on Glassdoor and apply to dozens of jobs within minutes. Please note, making your LinkedIn profile your digital resume first is critical, so do that first before applying to avoid making the mistake of sending an incomplete resume to a potential employer. Don’t forget to have a nice, professional profile picture, bullet-point details of your accomplishments at your last several jobs, and get some recommendations from former employers or important people in your life (probably not your mom or spouse…). Take a look at my profile if you’d like a good starting place for formatting and strategy. I don’t claim it’s perfect, but it’s part of what got me my current job, as is my use of LinkedIn Job Search and Glassdoor. So yes, this stuff works.
STEP TWO: GET THE RIGHT RESUME
There are myriads of resume formats to pick and choose from online, so I won’t provide you my own ideas because there are probably better out there. For some ideas of how to format yours, check out some formats here.
What I will provide you are a few key tips to ensuring your resume gets the attention of hiring managers or recruiters. Recruiters, feel free to weigh in on this, too, as I am not in your shoes every day, so correct me or add as you see fit in the comments below.
- Make sure your resume and LinkedIn profile match in experience and content. Having discrepancies or confusing differences will not help you when someone goes to cross-reference you between the two.
- Avoid unnecessary clutter and pointless information. Unless you are applying for a very technical role right out of school that requires you to show your GPA for college or post-graduate studies, it’s basically pointless to brag about your GPA. I’ve never seen anyone give a hoot about mine…ever. If you have a long job history, only mention that last several jobs in the last decade or so. Nobody cares about your entry level job right out of college if you’re 45 years old with good experience for the 15 years in the workforce. Alternatively, if you are right out of college, mentioning your leadership experience throughout your schooling, any competitive sports involvement, and volunteering might indeed be beneficial. So be wise with what you include. If you are confused as to whether or not to include it, send me a message on LinkedIn and I’ll do my best to help.
- Keep it all on one page and tell us what you accomplished, not your job description. This is already causing some of you anxiety, I know. But in keeping with #2 above, keep it simple. Listing your jobs and 3-5 bullet points about the value you brought your employer is not only sufficient, but it’s preferred by most resume-inundated recruiters and hiring managers. They should be able to skim and quickly identify your job history and what you bring to the table rapidly, without having to read paragraphs. Merely listing your job roles and corresponding responsibilities isn’t going to cut it. If your last few titles are “Sales Representative”, hiring manager or recruiters probably already know what you did every day. They want to know the meaty details of what you actually accomplished. What was your sales performance against your quota? How did you stack up against your peers? Did you win any awards? Let them know what you accomplished, not what was on the job description for the last jobs you had.
- Bonus Tip: If you haven’t updated your email address to be professional (probably “firstname.lastname@example.org” or something) and it still says “email@example.com” or “firstname.lastname@example.org”, you probably want to update that, too.
STEP THREE: GET THE RIGHT STRATEGY
Once you have the right tools and resume, it’s time to really get out there and show the world what you can do. Here’s what I recommend:
- Network, network, and network some more. Go to networking events like Network After Work and get your name out there, shake some hands, and collect business cards. Let your friends know you’re looking for a job and specifically ask those who may be of benefit to you to write you a recommendation for you on LinkedIn, refer you to the right people at their jobs if there are openings that make sense, or point you to connections they may have. Post on your social media networks and let your community and followers know you’re looking. You’ll find that many people are willing to assist if we are given specific instructions on how you’d like help, so just ask! You are far more likely to get a job when personally referred to the company. Additionally, be willing to reciprocate when the time is right and help us all out in return.
- Apply for jobs a little bit each day. Don’t give up after the first big onslaught of applications you turn in. Yes, you’ll find that after a period of time many of the jobs you previously applied for are still listed, but a few new ones should show up each day. Set up your filters and parameters on LinkedIn Job Search or any other tool you’re using and get notified when they post and apply immediately. The early bird gets the worm. Don’t be the 265th application they receive. Try to be one of the first as to not get lost in the pile. This also helps the stress go down. It gets disheartening applying for jobs for hours on end for several days, weeks, or months straight. But 15-30 minutes each day is doable for any of us. Be diligent and patient.
- Keep your goals in mind. Don’t focus on getting a new job just to get a job. Focus on what that job means to you. Is it a new house? Is it getting debt free? Is it affording that school you’ve wanted to send your kids to? What is it that motivates you, beyond merely getting that job? The job is a means to the end, so keep the end in mind.