Looking for a new job? Relatively happy where you are but could be tempted? Well however actively looking you are, here’s how to find the hidden jobs you might never hear about and then create an application so good they’ve just got to interview you.
Tip 1: Write your own CV/resume
Don't go and pay $50 to have someone write one for you. It's a waste of money. How on earth can a complete stranger do a better job than you can of summarising your career to date?
Writing a cv is easy, you just need to know what recruiters are looking for. The key thing is not to be taken in by those who suggest you need to load your cv with lots of dynamic words: initiated, managed, started, etc etc and don't pack your cv with lots of management blurb and the latest buzz words. With the exception of possibly school leavers and graduates, 99% of what a good recruiter will look for in your cv is what type of work you've done and who you've done it for. You can pay someone to add in all the clever layout, design, graphics and buzz phrases you like but it will make absolutely no difference if you don't match the job requirements. So avoid jargon, cliches or trying too hard to impress and try to mimic the key word and phrases the employer has used in the job description, but above all, it's your career history so you should write it.
Oh and 1 more thing, when you list the companies you've worked for, please explain what they do. Ok, we've all heard of Walmart but don't assume the recruiter knows about every company.
Tip 2: Create an elevator pitch.......on video
If you want to stand out to an employer, send your cv containing a link to a video of you. Record a video of you outlining the core skills you have to offer, your 2 biggest achievements to date and the type of role you're most interested in. No more than 60 seconds, upload it to Youtube, get the link and then embed it onto your cv under this heading:
Watch my 1 minute pitch
A potential employer is more likely to interview you and not someone else if they can actually get a feel for who you are and how you come across.
Oh, and look smart when you do it !
Tip 3: Attach a proper covering letter
Whether asked to or not, always submit a covering letter.
Don't just put...
Enclosed is my cv for the role of xxx yyyy......
You need to really sell yourself. Outline exactly how your experience matches the key criteria set out in job description.
Tip 4: Make sure you're on Linkedin
Even for if you're not very senior, get a profile added to Linkedin and select the option that says you're open to hearing about career opportunities.
If you already have a Linkedin profile update it to say you're not working for xxxxx anymore and are actively pursuing a new role. You don't have to say the dreaded word....."unemployed' but you do have to make it clear that you're in the job market.
Ideally you want to try to build up your network of Linkedin contacts before you start needing to look for a new job, so every chance you get of connecting with someone you meet/contact make sure you connect with them to build up your personal network of contacts. Job hunting is and always has been as much about who you know rather than just what you know.
Tip 5: Send speculative cvs........lots of them........but not to HR
Go on to Linkedin, identify the companies nearby that you think could be interested in you. Then search Linkedin to find out who the head of the relevant department is and try to connect with them on Linkedin. Just make sure you alter the standard Linkedin connection message to let them know you're looking for a new job.
Whatever you do don't try to contact HR. They are invariably very busy doing something else and will just put your details 'on file'. In addition the HR team won't necessarily know all the roles coming up in the business in the next 6 months. The head of the department will.
If you can get an introduction to that person, so much the better so look out for any connections, even tenuous ones and try to get them to introduce you. A referral from someone is much more likely to get a response.
Oh and make sure you ask that they forward this on to anyone they know. They might not be hiring directly but they will probably know someone who is.
Tip 6: Spy on your target list of companies
Assuming you've drawn up a list of companies who might be interested in you, either sign up for job alerts or an RSS feed from them. If they don't have those facilities (many won't), use a service like http://watchthatpage.com . It allows you to add in urls of company career sites and as soon as a page changes (i.e. a new job is added), you'll get alerted. It's not perfect as there's no guarantee the job will be what you're interested in so you may wish to use this tool for only the companies you're very keen on working for.
Alternatively follow their company pages of Twitter. Bigger companies often have a separate account just for their jobs so follow those. Tweetdeck is a great way to follow numerous different Twitter feeds in one go.
Tip 7: Use a resume distribution tool
There are companies out there where you can upload your cv and they'll distribute it to lots of job boards for you so your details get stored into their cv databases ready for employers to search and contact you.
Here's a good example: www.resumerabbit.com
Tip 8: Use social media and become your own career PR agent
If you don't have one, get a Twitter account. Tell the world, via a tweet, that you're looking for a new job....."interested in #marketingmanager roles" or whatever target job title you have. Also make sure you say this as both a tweet but also in the summary section of your Twitter profile as it's more likely to be found.
Then do the same on any blogs you write, Facebook, Google+ etc etc. No need to be proud, just tell everyone you're looking for a new job.
Post a question on relevant groups on Linkedin........."What were the most effective channels you used to find your last job". This way you don't necessarily sound like you're begging for someone to interview you but a. you're letting people know you're in the market and b. you could well get some very useful feedback from others who have recently just gone through the exact same job hunting process.
Do the same on any websites in your industry. Usually they will have a blog post or a forums section for general discussions. Also make sure you ask the same question on www.quora.com or Yahoo answers.
Tip 9: Create a website all about you
If you have any technical skills buy a domain with your name on it then create a page with your name and target job title in the url:
Then post your cv to that domain and make sure you mention your target job title and all the key skills you've got several times so it's got a chance of being picked up by the search engines. If any recruiters search on Google for people with that job title they may well find you.
If you don't have any technical skills, any competent web developer could copy your cv and post it to your new career site in a matter of minutes.
Try a site like this to build your careers site: freehosting.com
Tip 10: Try a Google / Search engine search
Whichever search engine you use, type this in:
(careers or current vacancies) and "your preferred job title" and location
The search engine will then produce a list of companies recruiting the job title you list, in the approximate location you list. If that location or job title doesn't yield much, try a different mix.
Nick Leigh-Morgan is the MD and founder of iKrut, a free applicant tracking system. Nick has over 16 years experience in the recruiting industry, covering staffing firms, direct employers and now web based recruitment software. A graduate of Economics and Politics, Nick specializes in publishing articles on the future of recruitment and how to help people find a new job.
Visit Nick's website at www.ikrut.com