by Brian Prows
Our economy and job markets are changing quickly. Opportunities appear, then disappear. Companies downsize, go out of business, while new companies start. Never before is it so critical for job seekers to try new career and job strategies as part of a professional job search.
Replying to online job ads is generally ineffective unless you’re a rock star. Admit it, you’re competing against hundreds of other qualified applicants. But you can greatly improve getting a job you’ll love by clearly identifying company pains and how organizations will benefit by hiring you. The following “14 tips” will help you get interviews, offers and, hopefully, your dream job.
You’ll find links to documents and websites that will help you develop a strategic job plan.
- Seek people, groups, organizations, companies and industries. Finding a job or advancing your career requires searching online and communicating with numerous people who will help you achieve your goals.
- Keep a log of all contacts and information. Using Google docs is free and a great way to access all your job search information on a mobile phone or computer. If you prefer, use another automated tool or keep a hand-written log instead. Just make sure you keep track of all communications, dates, and contact information that’s easily accessible.
- Write down ten to twenty keywords and keyword phrases that reflect your strongest skills, knowledge, interests, experiences, desired industries, and other preferences. Don’t concern yourself with job titles, companies and locations. For example, if you’re interested in dogs, write down keyword phrases such as “work with dogs” or “train dogs.” If you’re intrigued by sales or marketing, consider “sell mountain bikes” or “health care marketing” (No parentheses).Explore careers, jobs, and opportunities without restricting yourself. If you’ve been a carpenter for ten years, that doesn’t mean you can’t use your skills in another profession or job. If you like working with your hands, for example, write down “work with hands.” You can also use single keywords as well: writing, bikes, parks, telecommunications, etc.
- Enter RELATED keywords or phrases on your initial search, separated by commas without spaces, into Google. Example: train dogs,dog training jobs,teach dog tricks,canine careers. Entering related keywords in one search may appear strange at first, but you’ll find interesting results by searching related keywords together rather than one at a time. Your search results will reveal new career information sources, types of jobs and companies to approach. Looking at the ads that appear in the search results may identify potential employers. Keep track of your search results and continue adding new keywords to your list. You’ll use these keywords in resumes, letters, and interviews later
- Click on News, Shopping, Videos and More in Google for additional search results and keyword ideas.
- Use social media to find and follow people, companies, jobs, and groups. Make sure your social profile contains the keywords you’ve previously chosen so you’re discoverable. This will increase the number of relevant followers. Explore Twitter, LinkedIn, FaceBook, company and industry sites you’ve identified in your Google searches, and search for relevant users, topics, websites and more. On LinkedIn, for example, look for companies, people, jobs, and groups. Ask questions, interact and develop relationships on group sites. Announce that you’re “exploring” careers. Share job and career information. Get referrals.
- Use keywords and hashtags for social media searches. On Twitter, for example, try “train dogs, “telecommunications jobs,” or #internetmarketing. Follow people and businesses that share your interests and tweet using your keyword phrases or hashtags. Provide useful content in your tweets and watch your followers grow.
- Review your keyword phrases frequently. As your list grows, continue identifying industries, companies, trends, products and services that match your interests, experiences, and skills.
- Identify 25-50 companies that appeal to you based on your Internet searches. Review their websites and online information. Disregard whether a company has job openings on its website. Companies are ALWAYS looking for talent, even during a recession. If you stand out by doing your homework, you’ll increase your chances of getting interviews and job offers.
- Write a Job Search PBFA. PBFA stands for pain, benefit, feature and advantage. After creating the model for sales and marketing campaigns years back, I successfully used the tool to improve lead generation, email, and outbound call center marketing results.
- Re-write your resume and social media profiles, incorporating keywords that identify your strongest accomplishments, skills, knowledge and problem-solving abilities. Base your resume on your job search PBFA. Tailor resumes for each company using keywords and your job search PBFA. If you’ve thoroughly researched a company, you’ll better know its needs and problems, making it easier for you to insert features, benefits, and advantages related to your background.
- Write a Generic PBFA Cover Letter. Tailor letters for each company using your PBFA by telling stories and giving examples describing how you helped other companies with similar problems or needs. First, explain why you’re interested in the company or field of work. Prove you’ve researched the company by using your keyword phrases and company information. Finally, explain how you can help solve company problems or solve a need.
- Write a call guide based on your job search PBFA. Before sending a resume or letter via email or snail mail, call hiring managers or others to verify who should receive your materials. Phrase your question like this: “Mary, who is the person at your company that’s responsible for improving product quality?” “John, I understand you’re the VP of Marketing. Who handles boosting market share?”Don’t assume that the person you reach is the hiring manager. In the case above, for example, the VP of Marketing may tell you that his Director of Marketing is responsible for increasing market share. Then approach the Director, not the VP.
- Remember that companies hire people just as they purchase products and services. The more you know about a targeted company, the more likely you’ll get job interviews and offers. Good luck!
Brian Prows consults with companies to improve content marketing strategies. Contact MobileBeyond to boost user engagement, lead generation, and mobile search optimization.