3 New Year’s Resolutions to Improve Your Job Search
January is here and so is the annual wave of new hiring as budgets reset, requisition forms are approved, and job postings begin appearing on Indeed.com. Here are three “New Year’s Resolutions” to improve your job search.
1. Include a Cover Letter With Each Resume and Job Application
Taking the time to include a customized cover letter with your resume is a critical part of the job application process. Companies often receive hundreds of resumes for each job posting, many of which are unqualified or hastily sent. By carefully reviewing the job description to which you are applying, pulling out points that are aligned with your skills, and creating a custom “elevator” pitch, you’ll land more interviews. Cover letters are the easiest and most effective method to stand out from piles of generic resumes that employers receive.
While preparing a custom cover letter for each application is time consuming, it’s also more effective than “shot gunning” resumes across the entire state of Florida. The effort you dedicate to a including a cover letter with your resume communicates a genuine interest in the position that a generic resume will never convey.
100% of the clients who contact us with difficulty locating a position do not send cover letters.
Cover letters are a lot like frosting while resumes are a lot like cake. All kidding aside, the two go hand-in-hand. Unless an employer or a recruiter specifically mentions there’s no need to send a cover letter, take the time to prepare one.
2. Use LinkedIn to Locate Hiring Managers
LinkedIn is an integral part of your job search because virtually every employer will search for you on LinkedIn prior to an interview. Using LinkedIn is also a fantastic way to locate hiring managers and track the delivery rate of your resume. As a LinkedIn advocate, I highly recommend searching out contact from potential employers prior to sending in your job application.
While you may not always find an appropriate contact, LinkedIn is a source for locating contacts at companies to which you can send a personalized resume. You can also deliver post-interview thank you notes to a contacts on LinkedIn.
Use LinkedIn to locate contacts from potential employers prior to sending in your resume.
If you’re presently employed and enjoy your position, we recommend that you do not post a professional headshot along with extensive updates to your LinkedIn profile. Just make sure the information on your LinkedIn profile matches the information on your resume. No fudging allowed!
3. Follow-up After Sending a Job Application
Once you submit the perfect job application, the waiting game begins. However, that doesn’t mean that you simply hope an employer contact you. In many cases, employers will contact qualified candidates within 72 hours to schedule interviews. For many people, that’s fine.
If you’d like to strike up a conversation with an employer to sell yourself, follow-up is in order.
There is a difference between becoming a pest and conducting appropriate follow-up. First, set the expectation for a follow-up call within one-week of submitting your resume and cover letter. Wait three to four days for an incoming call. If you hear nothing, politely contact the company via phone or email and mention that you’d love the opportunity to schedule a meeting (interview) to discuss the open position. This is also the perfect time to mail or deliver a hard copy of your resume if possible.
Success varies depending on the company, number of applicants, your credentials, as well as the hiring manager’s workload. If you’re not a strong candidate, follow-up will not likely be fruitful. No amount of suave follow-up will qualify you for a VP-level position if you’re a recent graduate. When you are qualified and fit the bill, be polite and respectful of their processes and time when conducting follow-up. You never know when you’ll run into the same hiring manager in the future.