Networked Recruiter’s Insider Tips on How to Take Control of Your Job Search
Posted By: Jacob Conway

You have been emailing your resume to managers and applying to online career sites for weeks, but still no interviews or response.  What next?

Take control of your job search today. These tips have been given to thousands of candidates from executives to someone fresh out of college; following these suggestions can take substantial effort but the results are excellent.  I could create an entire article on each point below from my 10 years of recruiting experience, but 99% of your job search is identifying what you want out of your career and then making cold calls to managers while executing on your plan. Write a comment if you have other ideas that could help.

Ask God to reveal what His plan is for your life and how you can honor Him with your career.  Once you understand your gifts and act on it; the other parts of the search will come together as understanding your purpose enables results. 

10 Second Rule
When submitting your resume to an open position, always think of the 10 second rule.  If you cannot convince the hiring authority you are a perfect fit within 10 seconds, you have not made it obvious enough that you should be hired or interviewed.  Be specific and direct; check out my resume on LinkedIn as an example.

Numbers and What’s Your Angle?
Remember you are just a piece of paper to the person reviewing your resume; so how are you going to stand out?  I normally will have 100+ resumes per position and 2-6 of those candidates will be a 95-100% fit for the job.  If you are one of the 94 candidates that are not an ideal fit; you need to find the angle on why you should be hired.  There is not enough time to call each candidate so you normally have less than 10 seconds to spark my attention from the resume as I will call the top 5-6 candidates from each position.  Don't accept being put into the resume black hole; make some phone calls and get a yes or no answer.

Put Yourself In The Manager's Shoes
Before applying, always think of this question first, “If a manager can only hire 1 person and he/she does not have time to train anyone to learn the job; why would he/she hire you?”  Remember when applying for a job to look at the bonus skills as that is what the manager really wants to see from a candidate not just the minimum requirements.  When applying, I like to see a quick bulleted summary from the candidate telling me why they are a perfect fit as you should make it easy for the manager to pick up the phone and call you.  

Think ShamWow
ShamWow or any infomercial item uses the same formula to sell product.  Why, because it works.  Why else would you pay 400% more for a ShamWow than a Wal-Mart shamie? Understand this formula and use it to your advantage when writing your resume.

Post On All Job Boards
Make sure you have your resume listed on Dice, Monster, Hotjobs, LinkedIn, Career Builder, and other industry websites.  Money is tight but most companies have access to 1 or 2 of these sites.  Refresh daily so your resume is listed on the first page of a recruiters key word search. 

Use Save Agents On Job Aggregators like Indeed and SimplyHired
Set up a save agent using specific key words on Indeed and SimplyHired.  These sites act as job aggregators listing all of the jobs from big websites and make searching easier.  You will receive a notice for every job under your category.  For example, you might want to be emailed every time a job opens in Portland, Oregon with the key words “Accounting, Public and SEC reporting.”

LinkedIn- Cold Call Heaven
Everyone should be using LinkedIn and it is free.  Create a profile and start calling some managers/vp/execs via LinkedIn.  This is even more important if you are not a 100% match for the position as you need to connect with the hiring authorities to pitch them on your angle we spoke of earlier.   

Don’t Be Lazy- Make It Easy For Others To Help You
Know what you want, make it easy for others to help you.  If you are not attending industry networking events and other trade groups for the exact job you are looking for, you are not searching hard enough.  There are also free online trainings, courses, and other ways to build up your experience without paying any money.  Volunteer at a company a few hours a week to get experience so it is on your resume.  3 months ago I spoke to a candidate that said he has been searching for the last 10 years for a Linux programming job.  When I asked him what he is doing right now to prepare for this career, he admitted never even taking the time to install Linux (it is free) at home or completing any online training to learn it… Don’t be like that guy as needless to say we did not hire him.  If you want it, figure out a way to make it happen.

What Is The Next Big Technology or Skill
When switching into a new career or just staying ahead in your current one; understand what is going to be hot in the market within 6 months.  Make it easy on yourself and get experience/training in something no one has.  Most recruiters have lots of open positions they cannot fill as the candidates applying do not have the skills needed to be hired.  Find a need and fill it.

Key Words Are Your Friend
Make your resume very key word rich to increase the probability of being noticed from advanced Boolean recruiter searches.  Do some searches online on this topic as this is critical to understand. 

Be An Expert- Start a Blog
Become an expert, start a blog on focused on your desired career.  Start to interview thought leaders in that area and write about it.  Show others you are well connected and a person that is making things happen.  (see the tip below for a good idea)

Add Value To Others
Adding value is not easy, it is 100% hard work.  The best idea I have ever seen was from a recent grad trying to find a software programming job.  He basically took all of my tips rolled into one amazing project.  He called managers and recruiters interviewing them on what technical skills they expected to see from recent grads in the software industry.   He asked for permission to post his interview with the manager on the blog and then sent them a summary of the results at the end of his project.  Not only did he get inside information on what the managers were looking for, he also effectively interviewed with the decision makers and provided them with market intelligence from their competitors.  Brilliant.

Don’t Assume HR Knows What They Are Doing
Remember that HR/Recruiting does not always know the technology and why your background would be a perfect fit.  Find your angle, be specific, be direct, follow-up, and ensure you are working hard enough to encounter some massive wipe-outs along the way as it is going to make a good story when you are hired.

Education (somewhat) Matters, But Is Your School's Brand Worth the Cost?
Have you heard of IIT in India?  It accepts less than 2% of its applicants (approximately 5,500 admissions out of 300,000 applicants) and is one of the top technology programs in the world.  For 2011, Dartmouth College was ranked higher than Duke, USC, and UCLA.  Do your homework first and figure out the opportunity cost for starting or continuing your education.  How strong is the alumni group if you move across the country?  If a company has a set pay scale, a B.S. in computer science from a community college pays the same as a private school.  Before you pay for an undergrad or advanced degree, make sure the brand is worth the extra cost as I assure you that in most jobs your education does not matter; it is your experience, drive, and personality that lands the position.

Manage Your Perception
Just because you can do or say something, it does not mean you should do it.  Most interviews are won/lost in the chat-chat before or after the interview takes place.  If you are not sure if you should wear a suit to an interview, find out before you go.  It is never okay to wear a windbreaker no matter what the job is.

Random Important Tips:

  • Internships are critical; no matter what your age.
  • Understand how outsourcing affects your desired position; find your angle.
  • Know your market value if you are asked in the interview what your desired salary expectations are or what you are worth in today’s market. 
  • Leaving a job every 1-2 years will help you increase your pay quickly, but you will have troubles in the future as employers will question your ability to commit.
  • Build relationships; add value and just do not ask for favors. The emotional bank account is a great tool.
  • Take a job that fits into your career plan; not just the highest pay.
  • Make friends with recruiters, they make money by placing you with a client and are expert negotiators on your behalf.
  • Don’t waste your time writing a cover letter (read Put Yourself in the Managers Shoes).
  • Some jobs only can hire permanent residents or US citizens, make sure you have your visa status listed on your resume if fit into these categories.  Recruiters assume visa status all of the time; don’t risk being overlooked. 

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