Job security is a myth but too often people fail to plan for a potential time in transition. If the pink slip arrived tomorrow, would you be prepared? Would you know how and where to look to secure your next appointment as expeditiously as possible?
An effective career transition plan involves a well written resume, online recruitment strategy and an aggressive daily job search. Let’s review each of these three areas:
Resume trends change. It is highly likely the same resume used to land your most recent role would now be considered an outdated document and a hindrance to your job search. A 2014 resume must address 4 key areas: personal brand, scannability, keywords, and STAR stories.
Personal brand is a statement marketing you as a product to hiring individuals. It is a representation of your character and identity and is unique to you. Your personal brand should be consistently portrayed in all your career management activities, both in person, online and in writing.
Scannability refers to the ability of computer software to accurately read and interpret (parse) your resume. The majority of mid to large size companies and online job board platforms use a form of Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) to pre-screen resumes. Design features such as headers, footers, underlines, shading, and graphics inhibit the scanning process and should be avoided.
Keywords are programmed into the ATS application and are used as the pass / fail criteria for each resume. Keywords are often the hard skills acquired through education and experience however they can also be the soft skills deemed necessary for the role. Review the job posting and company website to pinpoint the required keywords and incorporate those words throughout your resume and cover letter.
STAR stories are the quantifiable career achievements used to market your experience. A future employer isn’t interested in reading about your job responsibilities and duties.
Social media recruitment is on the rise. I’ve seen studies showing anywhere from a low of 75% to a high of >90% of recruiters now incorporate social media into the recruitment process. While LinkedIn is the #1 social media site to utilize as your online resume, Twitter and Facebook are also used to pre-screen candidates. Every one of my client resumes now includes the URL to their LinkedIn profile and increasingly, I’m also adding Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Skype addresses to the contact section.
An aggressive but highly effective job search strategy involves 12 hours of job search per day, 5 days per week. Breaking this down, your daily job search would involve a minimum of 3 in-person coffee meetings and 4+ hours of online engagement. Only 9% of jobs are advertised in Canada; the balance of jobs is found through networking. Connect with and follow target companies, employees at those companies and other career influencers. Look for jobs on all the sites – LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Set job alerts, join discussion boards, start a blog, create a videoBIO, design a Your Personal Brand Name website….basically, seize every opportunity online and in-person to promote your skills and expertise.
If the pink slip arrived tomorrow, mourn your loss and then move forward with a plan of action. This is an excellent time to reinvent and revitalize your career as you explore new and exciting opportunities.