Searching for a job in 2010? Be glad, says editor Scott Steinberg. “Courtesy of the Web, social networks and online services, all the tools you need to find full- and part-time work, or start a promising new career, are right there at your fingertips,” he says. As a supplement to our online job hunting guide and rundown of vital career building strategies, we asked him to compile a list of ten job hunting tips that every serious professional should know. Following are his essential strategies for boosting your career or landing the job of your dreams:
1. Customize Your Resume
“One size fits nobody – you should always custom-tailor your resume to each different employer and position,” Steinberg insists. He also suggests looking for keywords (common terms recruiters might enter into computerized searches, such as “sales associate” or “senior engineer”) in job descriptions. Once identified, he says, work both these phrases and common alternatives into the document, and early on within it at that. Still, however you adjust it, your CV should also read naturally and be brief and to the point (think two pages max), while an individualized cover letter is imperative as well.
2. Focus Your Job Search
While large job search engines like Monster and CareerBuilder.com can be effective, you’re often better off using more targeted services focused on specific industries, salary ranges or regions, Steinberg says. Also worth noting, he claims: “It pays to concentrate on the 5-15 companies you’d most prefer to work for rather than employing a shotgun approach.” He recommends signing up for email newsletters, participating in online company forums or attempting to contact current employees for informational interviews, among other strategies. The thinking being that you won’t just do a better job by emphasizing quality over quantity – you’ll also maximize chances of being noticed.
3. Invest in Continuing Education
Best practices and technology standards change rapidly, according to Steinberg, making it imperative that you always stay abreast of the latest developments, whether currently employed on no. “Keeping your skills up-to-date and polished makes you more valuable to your employer, and shows an aptitude and willingness to change,” he says. This sort of flexibility is going to be even more important going forward, Steinberg claims, as a flooded marketplace comes under further pressure from an onslaught of new, newly unemployed and/or international workers also vying for a limited pool of positions.
4. Leverage Social Networks
Using social networks such as LinkedIn, Plaxo and Facebook, it pays to create a professional looking profile and source recommendations from friends and colleagues. Afterwards, says Steinberg, it’s important to actively set about connecting with peers, potential mentors and prospective employers and let them know you’re searching for work, especially since they’re literally all just a click away. “With upwards of eight in ten job opportunities going unadvertised these days, you really are who you know,” he asserts.
5. Control Your Online Image
As mentioned, leveraging social networks (and personal blogs and web pages) to build an attractive portfolio and connect with other professionals is imperative for job seekers in 2010. But just as vital, Steinberg says, is keeping your online image clean, which means avoiding posting controversial or inflammatory statements and pictures from office parties or your wilder days in college. “Human resources managers aren’t stupid – they know how to use search engines,” he explains. “As such, the image you project across the board, and I mean throughout the entire Internet, should be strictly business.”