Past Issues

December 10, 2012

7 Tips to Jump Start Your Job Search

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7 Tips to Jump Start Your Job Search

By Jessica Holbrook Hernandez, CEO of Great Resumes Fast

So you have this great, marketable resume that showcases your potential as an employee. You're ready to launch your job search and start using your new resume as vigorously as possible. But where do you start and what do you do?

Consider the following 7 tips to jump start your job search and make the most of your job search time.

1. Get Organized

I recommend utilizing online platforms to organize your job search, applications, networking contacts and targeted companies. This will help make it easier to see where you're making progress and will actually give insight to what you're doing in your job search instead of leaving you feeling like you're wasting your time applying to jobs online all day. You can use a site like Startwire, a completely free site for job seekers. You'll be able to get automatic job application updates, organize your job search and more.

2. Post Your Resume

Posting your resume to job boards is a passive way to search, but it is, nevertheless, a job search method you can utilize as I know recruiters and employers still search job boards for qualified candidates. If you want to post your resume to job boards I recommend using a resume posting service. For a nominal fee you can have your resume posted to an average of 80+ sites. If you're going to post it out there you might as well make sure that you're really out there and increase your chances of being found.

3. Contact Recruiters

I recommend contacting recruiters and providing them with a copy of your resume, finding out what positions they fill, and if they have any openings. Be selective in the agencies you work with though, and do your research to ensure the recruiters you contact and work with are actually filling the types of positions you're looking for.

Don't go to an accounting staffing agency looking for a customer service or IT position. If you're an executive, then work with executive headhunters and stay away from the regular employment agencies who fill professional-level roles. The idea is to make the most of your job search time--not waste it by going to places that aren't a great fit.

You can also utilize a recruiter distribution service that will send your resume and cover letter to a targeted list of recruiters who are looking for candidates like you. These distributions are normally sent to thousands of recruiters at one time and are based on your location, salary, and targeted position(s).

4. Target Employers

This is a great tactic I used when I was reentering the workforce after staying home with one of my children for a year; but anyone can use it, and it's quite effective. You can target employers by industry, location, or pretty much whatever interests you.

When I wanted to return to a recruiting position I looked up every staffing agency and recruitment firm within a 25-mile radius of my house (that's how far I was willing to commute), and I mailed them each a copy of my resume and cover letter. I sent out approximately 25 letters and received five or six callbacks for interviews. That's a pretty great response rate when you compare how many positions you have to apply to online to get a response.

It's much easier to sit at your desk and click a submit button and send your resume and cover letter in electronically than it is to take the time and effort to print out your resume and cover letter on professional resume paper, look up companies you're interested in, and to hand address and mail 25+ letters to prospective employers. But, it's worth the effort because the response rate is so much higher. It makes it worth the time you invest into doing it.

I recommend researching your target companies once you've identified the ones you want to contact. Find out what their needs are, the names of any decision makers or hiring managers, and if they have any available openings. You can also target and contact companies on the Internet; it doesn't have to be done just by snail mail. You can make connections on LinkedIn, find out who to reach out to, conduct research on their website, and much more.

5. Create a Web Resume

Seems like nowadays everyone is being "looked up" on the Internet. As career experts we advise you to do your research about the employers you want to work for, but you also need to be aware that employers are researching you. They're going to Google your name to see exactly what's out in cyberspace. Why not direct what these hiring managers are going to see about you?

Aside from having a LinkedIn profile, I recommend a web resume. These are great for keyword searches that hiring managers will input into search bars online but they also help to manage exactly what someone who is researching you online will find out about you. How great would it be if the first thing that pops up under your name is your LinkedIn profile and your web resume?

6. Create a Personal/Professional Website

I would even go so far as to suggest purchasing your name (e.g. and creating a professional website about yourself, your experience, accomplishments, professional passions, pursuits, talents, and abilities. This is another great way to not only be discovered but also provide potential employers with an avenue to find out more about you. And like a web resume it directs exactly what people who are researching you online will find out about you.

7. Create a Professional Blog

The blog is right up the same alley as the professional website. But the great advantage to a blog is that it provides you with a method of sharing your expertise, talent, passion, and abilities with the whole world. When you start sharing your expertise with others and your excitement and passion for what you do professionally you start getting attention. The advantages to a blog are many.

Yet again, it provides prospective employers with more information about you, while also showcasing your expertise within your industry, it controls what those researching you on the Internet find out about you, and it's a great way to create buzz about you--the job seeker! You can post your blogs to LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and many other social networking and professional networking sites. You can include a link on your business card to your blog and you can make your blog searchable on the Internet so that others with similar interests (and those looking to hire thought leaders) can find you.

A job search can be as diversified and creative as you make it. It doesn't have to be just about responding to ads on the Internet or in the newspaper. You can be as proactive and in control of your search as you would like. The benefit of diversifying your job search is it gives you many different avenues to be discovered and to discover that great job you've been looking for--all without putting all your eggs into one basket.

Jessica Holbrook Hernandez, CEO of Great Resumes Fast is an expert resume writer, career and personal branding strategist, author, and presenter.

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