Saturday, October 18, 2008

Job Search 911

Ladies and gentleman…hang on because this ride may be a little rough. We are in the midst of some tough economic times and the employment market has tightened considerably. Here is a quick brain dump of to-dos that you should consider if you are currently seeking a new opportunity.

  1. Customize every resume that you submit for posted job opportunities. Yes it will take some additional time, however in many cases your resume is winding up in a resume database. The resume must use the same words that are found in the job description and stress all of your relevant experience for that particular position. If you adopt this strategy, your chances of being called in for an interview increase substantially.
  2. Consider developing a version of your resume that de-emphasizes your industry experience but instead focuses on your core competencies and mastery. In today’s marketplace any candidate with a strong concentration of experience in financial services may be at a disadvantage. While it still makes sense to seek out opportunities in the financial services industry, prepare a copy of your resume that will appeal to opportunities in other industries.
  3. Speak about the solutions that you have developed in general terms – “Worked closely with business stakeholders to analyze, design, and develop business process training that incorporated best practices and enabling applications.” – as compared to – “Created Fixed Assets self-instructional modules to teach commercial bankers to identify client's financial vulnerabilities and market appropriate solutions.”
  4. Activate your “network of help.” This network of help will include former colleagues, managers, internal and external clients, friends, family, and the like. This is not the time to be shy. Let people know that you are seeking a new opportunity and check to see if they can help. Please do not forget that anyone that does help deserves to be re-paid in some manner.
  5. Develop a Hit List of companies to target. This list should include companies that:
    · are competitors to your previous employers
    · have products and services that you are familiar with
    · have been reporting positive financial results
    · have been awarded significant contracts and grants
    · are major employers in your geographic region
    · you admire and would be interested in working for
  6. Review the career pages from the web sites of the companies on your Hit List.
  7. Review the career pages from the professional society web sites. Be sure to check the national and local chapter web sites. These societies include:
    · American Society for Training & Development:
    · International Society for Performance Improvement:
    · Society for Human Resource Management:
    · Organization Development Network:
    · Society for Technical Communication:
    · Good Manufacturing Practices - Training and Education Association:
    · American Medical Writers Association:
    · IEEE Professional Communication Society:
    · Society of Insurance Trainers and Educators:
  8. Find someone that can help you manage and maintain a positive mood. This person can be a friend, business advisor, employment agency rep, or family member. The key here is to try and maintain a positive outlook during your job search. The cold hard truth is that your search may be difficult and make take longer than you desire. Maintaining a positive outlook will be critical in locating a new position. In my experience, job seekers that fall into moods of resignation, despair, and defeat find it exceedingly difficult to find new employment. During your job search obstacles will appear. Some resumes you send will result in an interview but more will not. Some companies will reply to your submission but most will not. The most effective person for this role will be able to recognize when your mood is slipping and will be able to offer coaching, support, and guidance. There are more methods that you can use to locate new opportunities than I can list. The key to maintaining a positive mood is to remain firmly grounded in the quality and caliber of the skills and experience that you can offer to a new employer AND to continually explore new avenues and methods that can help lead to your next opportunity. If you do not do this, someone else will.