You’ve just invested in a professional resume, but even the very best resume in the world isn’t going to help you if you don’t know how to use it. More often than not, job seekers will either post their resume to boards or submit to advertised openings and leave it at that. Sure, this seems like a reasonable strategy on the surface, but they are far too passive to maximize results.
First, keep in mind that in a job market where employers are not looking for people, they aren’t going to be searching Internet posting boards to find people they don’t need. Second, when you rely primarily on submitting to advertised positions, you end up competing against hundreds, even thousands of candidates…and, sadly, the chances that your resume was even read beyond a quick software scan are slim…All you will receive is an automated “no thank you” reply. Complicating this, employers just don’t want to advertise jobs because they are inundated with responses and simply do not have the time or resources to invest….as a result, a lot of potential jobs out there are never advertised.
What does work, particularly in such a challenging job market? A lot of research and an aggressive approach. A few tips for optimizing the use of your resume and landing interviews and jobs:
1) This is the Internet age
You have resources at your fingertips. Research companies in your area, try to develop contact names with those companies, and send them your resume. Can’t determine a contact name? Send an unsolicited resume anyway. What’s the worst that can happen – they say they aren’t interested?
2) Think outside the box
Instead of reviewing advertised postings to find a job that “matches your qualifications” – use those postings as a rich source of information. What companies seem to have several job postings listed? Chances are if they are hiring for multiple positions, they have other positions that aren’t advertised. What industries seem to be exhibiting a hiring trend? Take that information and then research companies in your own area within the same industry and get your resume in front of them.
3) Follow up
When submitting your resume online, follow up and send a FAX or Certified Mail hard copy to stand out amongst the flood of resumes.
4) Network, network, network
If an employer tells you they’ve already filled a position or that you don’t quite meet the qualifications, ask them if they know of anyone who is hiring who might be interested or encourage them to feel free to pass your resume along to their peers. If you have a good relationship with a former employer, ask for leads. Tell your friends, tell your family, tell anyone who will listen that you are actively seeking work and would appreciate any leads or referrals they can give.
5) Get Career Coaching
Sound like a lot of work? Maybe…but this is your career, and job-seeking needs to be treated like a full-time job if you want results. To achieve success, you need to create opportunities for yourself! Hiring a career coach can point you in the right direction and uncover missed opportunities.