Every game has a break in the action, the slack moments when little goes on.
Job searches are no different; there will be periods of downtime, with no forward movement toward the next phase of your career.
Stuck in neutral? Here are three main job search areas to focus on NOW.
Work on them immediately, and you will soon see results:
- Get LinkedIn:
No account on LinkedIn? Get one! Profile not complete? Fill it out! LinkedIn is the largest professional networking site, with more than 175 million members in over 200 countries.
There is no excuse not to be on the LinkedIn; recruiters, executives, hiring managers and human resources professionals all have profiles on the site—so should you.
There are two words to know about job searches on LinkedIn—Connections and Groups. Connections are the people in your existing web; friends, coworkers and references. Groups are specialized collections of like-minded people, or those in an industry; things like alumni and professional organizations.
Start off by adding connections, it will broaden your network; follow-up by joining as many groups as possible. Expand your reach by focusing on the industries (or companies) that are part of your job search.
- Ask for Feedback:
Contact past co-workers, friends and family; ask them for insight about jobs or new opportunities. Word of mouth is one of the most successful job search tools at your disposal; the larger your network, the more effective that informal network will be.
Have your resume and cover letter reviewed by no less than three people—at least one of which should be in the industry. Check them for readability and appropriate content. The resume is your calling card; make sure it puts you in the best possible light.
Employers that had turned you down are also excellent sources for feedback. Be sincere and respectful, using the opportunity to develop. Who knows? Maintaining a professional attitude, especially in adversity, may cause employers to give you a second look.
- Practice, practice, practice:
First impressions count; having an introduction down solid is key to a dynamite first impression. Stand in front of a mirror, role play with friends or family to hone your skills.
Have a strong “elevator pitch.” Often the job seeker only has a minute or two to make their point. The pitch is a summary of who you are, your capabilities and goals—all in the span of an elevator ride. If you write the pitch down, it should total no more than about 2-3 sentences.
Usually, the opportunity to provide an elevator pitch comes at a moment’s notice. That is why it is particularly crucial to practice your pitch repetitively; drill it into your brain, so it exits your mouth when you want it; easily, fluidly and clearly.
Interviews are much like an audition, for the performance of your life. Practice your presentation, the interviewing skills before the “big show.” Get together with friends, family or career professionals and work out the kinks in your conversation with employers.
Practice means anticipating the situation, to avoid the pitfalls of performance anxiety. It also shows employers that you can handle yourself under the interview spotlight; making it clear you can handle the stresses of the workplace.