Five Secrets to Accelerating Your Job Search

Posted on April 4, 2011

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Having coached many people through a job loss and rehire transition, my research shows that key attitudes and actions that make a big difference. I call them secrets because most job seekers ignore these. Stand out by learning and doing what works.

Secret #1: Shift From the “My Experience” to the “Employer Solution Mindset”

As a hiring manager, I remember reading stacks of resumes. Their title, experiences, and related information formed a message. But was it the message that got them noticed?

The first shift is thinking like an employer. Make it clear to them how your experience solves a problem they care about. Don’t make them translate your experience to the benefit they’re looking for.

Compare a career objective statement of “A detail-oriented accountant seeks a position with a top company” to more employer solution language such as “A proven problem-solving accountant seeks to partner with a growing company to help them manage growth.” If you want to partner with a small and growing company, this will get noticed especially if your experience supports this statement.

Secret #2: Use Their Words

Many years ago I toured a technical staffing services group that got 30% more hires than any comparable company. Why? They made sure the resume they sent over to the hiring client used the words the client was looking for. So can you.

How? Simply review the job posting and make a note of the key words and phrases they use. They might list things like “team-oriented problem solver.” Would this stand out on your resume? Not only does this help your resume come to the top of stack in a computer search, but it will help the hiring manager like you more.

I also use a phrase from the job posting in my cover letter. Use phrasing like “the wording in your job posting that mentioned ‘strong analytical skills’ resonates strongly with my 20-year experience as a management consultant.”

Secret #3: Network Till It Hurts

It’s no secret that most jobs don’t get posted. Why? First, they want to trust those they already know (their employees) to refer people like them. It’s easier and often results in a good hire in less time for them. But if you haven’t let your social know that you are looking, they won’t know to reach out to you. It’s that simple.

Secret #4: Know Yourself

When I’m coaching people through a work transition, I like to ask them about the times when they really shined in the workplace, volunteer opportunity, or elsewhere. I like to write these down as they speak. Then we talk through the kind of job opportunities where they can bring their passion, talents, and gifts to the workplace. And surprisingly, it often changes their job search emphasis.

For example, Grant was a good project manager. He had all the credentials and by all accounts, was good at it. Initially he thought he was looking for project manger opportunities. But in reviewing his “shining” moments, he realized he shined the brightest when facilitating meetings with senior leaders. He loved partnering with the people who were driving real results in companies. And he enjoyed speaking to groups. He had a passion for the skills of professional project management. Realizing this, shifted his focus from just any project management gig to teaching project management at a local junior college. He knew this wouldn’t pay all the bills so he augmented his income by project quality management coaching for local companies. His job satisfaction rose as did his income. He ended up making twice what he got as a project manager.

Becoming aware of your “shining” moments influences your resume, helps you become a more powerful networker, shine brighter in interviews, and your natural passion will be contagious to those making hiring decisions.

Secret #5: Create Daily Momentum

Good salespeople know the importance of feeding their sales pipeline while keeping a clear head about successes and failures. They know that if they keep connecting with potential prospects, follow up with those who have expressed interest, prepare thoroughly for interviews, they eventually land the sale.

Right now, identify the actions that you will do daily to create positive momentum in your job search. For John, this meant applying for a minimum of three jobs a day, completing all follow ups, making at least one networking gesture, and preparing all he could for any upcoming face-to-face opportunity. And it worked. He found a job in half the time of those who had been laid off at the same time with comparable skills.

Quinn Price is an executive coach and expert on managing change. Learn more about how to accelerate your job search at market yourself.

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