While some job seekers approach a job search like a mass marketing campaign, it’s often an ineffective and demotivating process. After all, how can you brand yourself and portray your education, skills and experience in a way that matches every job and appeals to every recruiter and hiring manager out there? Can it be done well, without looking like you lack passion and focus?
Applying to a large number of positions might help you feel productive and accomplished early in the job search process, but if you are not a good fit, it will only lead to more rejections and instances of your resume going into the infamous application black hole. Has that helped you get any closer finding your ideal opportunity? If you did happen to apply to your dream job, in what was essentially an act of throwing a plate of spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks, is your resume going to stand out from the competition?
A targeted job search requires more preparation up-front, but it ensures that even general aspects are effective. Narrowing the scope of a job search allows individuals to concentrate on their end goals and focus their efforts on what will help them succeed. Essentially, less wasted efforts and more focus on relevancy.
Create a Plan
If you haven’t already, take time to reflect. Look back on your previous jobs and determine what you liked and disliked. Make sure to document your accomplishments and note your strengths and weaknesses as well. Evaluate your options and decide what you would like to do moving forward.
Once you know what you want to do, establish a plan to attain your goals. When doing so, set realistic, measurable objectives and establish a timeline. Track your progress to ensure you stay on target and achieve job search success.
Align Your Online Image to Your Desired Job
Building and maintaining a professional online image is becoming essential to an efficient job search. Update your LinkedIn profile to reflect the type of role you are aspiring to attain. Keep in mind that while your profile should reflect your resume, it is not simply a digital copy. Use it as a starting point and build outward.
While LinkedIn is important, it is not everything. Ensure your overall online presence supports your job search and overall career development efforts. Google yourself and do your best to remove (or at the very least, bury) unwanted content. Keep non-professional profiles clean and check your settings to ensure your private details are not public information. Use these platforms to highlight what’s important to you. From personal pastimes to professional interests and pet-projects, the details can help you connect with interviewers, indicate how you align with company values and increase the likelihood that your next job is a perfect fit.
Be Active Online
Whether you are currently looking for a new job or just trying to grow your career, take advantage of social media and other resources to network and share knowledge. Regular activity will help to ensure that you stay informed of hot topics and potential job openings and increase the odds that you are top of mind when opportunities become available. It will also reinforce your professional image when researched by recruiters and hiring managers.
Help those in your network as well. Your efforts to support other professionals could enable you to build your own network, expand your skills and increase your confidence. It could also improve or reinforce your professional reputation. Then, when the time comes, it could increase the likelihood that your contacts will do a favor for you.