I am not a big fan of New Year’s Resolutions, especially since I am so good at breaking them. However, I do recognize that now is a great time to set up my strategies and plans, which usually involves creating a robust and proactive checklist to kick things off. Job seekers can use this same strategy to make the most of the upcoming busy hiring season.
- Update your resume
While this seems to go without saying, you need to review your resume. But when you give it the once-over, look at more than if your experience is current. To pass the rigorous and ever-present screening procedures that HR uses, make sure to use relevant key words, achievements, educational highlights, and work responsibilities for the job you want, not just the job you already have.
Things to consider:
- Are the right key words in place and are they easy to find?
- Does my resume format look old, dated, or bland?
- Am I including achievements or quantifiable metrics in my work history?
- Am I describing aspects of my career that the hiring manager would find valuable?
- Review your LinkedIn profile
Every year, LinkedIn rolls out changes for the website in January. In 2017, the push has been in tools for recruiters. Because the site is pushing their value for recruiters, this means that your profile better be 100% complete to even be taken seriously.
Things to consider:
- Is my profile written in first person? Is it personable and attractive?
- Am I using high value key words throughout the entire profile?
- Are all of the relevant sections complete?
- Have I filled my Skills with more valuable key words?
- Does my profile read well in all platforms, including online, on mobile devices, and as a PDF download?
- Does my profile picture convey that I am a trustworthy professional?
- Review your LinkedIn strategies
Now that the profile looks great, do you really know how to maximize the site? For example, getting involved in Groups adds to your network while giving you an avenue to build your reputation among your peers and look for hidden jobs. In particular, LinkedIn has a new setting within the “Jobs” tab. You can now let recruiters know that you are looking without blatantly announcing it within your profile – a great trick if you are in a confidential job search. Just check out the “Preferences” tab within the “Jobs” section.
Other strategies to consider:
- Am I involved in the right kinds of Groups, such as industry-specific, locally-based, or alumni Groups?
- Have I updated your Jobs Preferences?
- Have I reviewed your Privacy settings – and do I know what they mean?
- Am I actively reaching out to other LinkedIn members AND customizing your greeting message?
- Am I Following your top choice Company’s pages?
- Have I created any Job Alerts and am I checking them regularly?
- Set up or review settings on job boards and employment websites
Yes, plenty of employers are still posting their jobs on public websites like Indeed.com, Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com, Idealist.com and many other specialty sites. It can be very helpful and really streamline your job search process to have accounts on several different sites. However, there are steps to can take to make this more effective and not be subjected to massive amounts of spam jobs or even scams.
Steps to make the most of job boards:
- Do NOT post your resume publicly. Only post it privately – this way, only jobs you actually apply to will receive your resume and it will greatly reduce the amount of spam jobs.
- Set up job search agents to deliver on different days. For example, Indeed on Monday, CareerBuilder Tuesday, Monster on Wednesday and so on. This make the most of your time.
- Review your profile settings. This goes out with every application, so make sure that old profile is in line with your current goals.
- Be sure to upload your resume as Word or PDF. Indeed in particular is notorious for parsing your resume into their application format, even if you use Word. Employers prefer to see the Word or PDF document over Indeed’s format.
- Always send a custom cover letter with your application and resume.
- Track down the hiring managers and get your resume in hands – don’t leave your fate in HR’s hands!
- Get ready for the flood of jobs
January, February, and March are the biggest hiring months of the year. However, things usually start ramping up until the second week of January. After all, the employers just got back from vacation and it takes a few days to get jobs posted. Use this time wisely and get all of your tools in order to make the most of this upcoming hiring season.
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