New Strategies for a New Job Market 2010By Donald J. Strankowski
Ascend Career and Life Strategies, LLC
Most conventional job search strategies are simply not effective anymore.
If you’re still perusing the online job boards and emailing resumes to every opening that looks somewhat appealing, you’re going to be in for a long search. There are some resolute rules of job searching that will never change. However, to gain employment in today’s ultra-competitive job market, one must implement new tactics and new strategies while also weaving in certain steadfast rules.
If the economy has changed and the job market has changed, you must change your thinking, strategies, and job search tactics in order to be successful. I’m not suggesting employing gimmicks; just a combination of new techniques that are woven in with certain steadfast rules for job searching success.
We are now in an era of specialization. Successful job seekers position themselves as a specialist in a particular occupation, trade, and industry. In baseball, you don’t ask your starting catcher to play centerfield twice a week and then play shortstop every Monday. Sure there are professional baseball players who can play multiple positions, but the very best players (and the highest paid) play the same position day in and day out—and do it well. It’s the same with you and I. We become better at certain things as we spend more time practicing them. So as you embark on your job search, remember that you are an “expert” at what you do.
Today, a professional who is a specialist in a particular area or trade will far often win the job over a jack-of-all-trades type candidate. The fact is that most of us do have experience and relevant skills in a number of different areas. However, if you want to increase your chances for success in today’s highly competitive job market, you must focus your skills and expertise in one or two occupational areas – the areas that most interest and excite you. All documents, communications, and positioning statements should be prepared with this in mind.
The job search mentality used to be one of carpet-bombing employers with your resume. Not anymore. The philosophy behind a winning approach is high quality, not high volume. You need to clearly understand each employer’s needs and then construct a strategy as to how you will address those needs; both on paper and in-person.
Here are five winning strategies that will help differentiate you from the job search masses as you embark on a new career in 2010:
- Contacting Companies of Interest: How do you locate positions that exist only in the minds of directors, vice presidents and company leaders? Seventy to eighty percent of all jobs are never advertised according to the U.S. Department of Labor. By assembling a target list of companies and then detailing a strategy for reaching and selling the hiring manager, mining the hidden job market can be a powerful job search technique. Employ a solid social media strategy using sites like Linked In and Twitter to reach out to and follow key company representatives and to network your way to informational and job interviews.
- The V-Letter: One such strategy to lessen your chances of ending up in the “discard stack” is called the V-Letter. This document is a short letter that compares your qualifications with the employer's requirements for the job. It uses the same concept as a cover letter with the only difference being that you are replacing the middle paragraph (the “body” of the cover letter) with a “skills table” drawing parallels to the company’s requirements and what you have to offer. It's brief and concise enough to catch the reader's eye with highly relevant material within those first crucial seconds.
- Customize Your Resume: It is absolutely imperative that your resume be customized for the specific position that you’re applying for. Do not allow the hiring manager to make the assumption that you will be a good fit for the position. Work in relevant keywords and buzzwords (provided you have them) taken directly from the job description to increase your chances. Make it crystal clear that you are a solid fit for the job. Customize your resume and sell them—on paper!
- The Job Businesses Plan: A Job Business Plan is a two to three page mini-business plan you present to the prospective employer during the interview or, in certain cases, before the interview phase. It is designed to show them that you took the time to assess their business needs, perhaps by speaking with an inside coach or the hiring manager, and have used your creativity and business intellect in designing a results-based action plan to offer solutions.
- The Brag Book: A Brag Book is a professional portfolio—usually a three-ring binder with page protectors—that details documented academic and professional achievements. By employing this strategy and presenting it during an interview, you are stating to Company X that you are someone who always does more than expected, are a high-achiever, and approaches your job in a very well organized and pragmatic manner.
For the job market in 2010, more than anything else, you need to distinguish yourself from the masses. Many published job openings on the Internet can receive hundreds (and in some cases thousands) of responses. The bigger question is are these posted openings still available or even legit? You need to package, bundle, and market yourself as the ideal fit for the position you’re applying for. You need to market yourself as a specialist at what you do. You need to pay special attention to details and show the prospective employer that you are not simply your average run-of-the-mill employee. You need to employ 2010 Rules like sending a customized resume and using social media to uncover the plethora of unadvertised jobs. There is simply too much competition right now to rely on antiquated job search methods and hope for the best.
Want some free samples? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a sample V-Letter, New Rules Resume, Job Business Plan, and Brag Book Checklist.
Donald J. Strankowski Jr. is founder and president of Ascend Career and Life Strategies, a training and consulting firm for businesses, professionals, executives. He works out of Boulder, Colorado and can be contacted at 303-245-7049, via email at email@example.com, or on the web at www.AscendCareers.net
Just Published! Get Hired! 10 Simple Steps for Wining the Job You Desire—in Any Economy
by Donald J. Strankowski
Available at the Boulder Bookstore, Tattered Cover, and online at Amazon.com