Covering the Job Search Bases

A couple of weeks ago, I was forwarded an article about things to do when the job search isn’t going well.

While the article offered some solid points (“Partner with a friend, another job seeker, a coach… somebody!”; “Read motivational books, articles, websites”), I think it left out a few important  points that I picked up during my year in the job search.

Make Minor, Then Major Renovations
There’s a rule that I adhere to when writing anything: If I think I’m done, walk away from it for a while. When I come back to it, I can guarantee you that I will make edits.

The same can be said about a resume. I’m constantly thinking up new (and hopefully better) ways to describe my skills and accomplishments. Plus once a quarter, I sit down and take a critical look at the document and make as many major changes as I can.

Keywords Really Are Key
Knowing the keywords that relate to your target job and making sure they’re in your LinkedIn profile and resume will help you show up higher in a search and allow the right people find you. My profile is by no means perfect, but with the help of LinkedIn coach Terry Sullivan I’ve made an effort to match it up to my general job title of “communications specialist.”

The word “communications” shows up 24 times and the phrase “communications specialist” is listed eight times. Other specialties are also listed such as “photography” (32 times), “graphics” (10 times), “social media” (20 times) and “web” (16 times both on its own and part of the word “website(s)”).

Additionally, where your keywords are listed in your profile can help you show up higher in search results as well. Although it was published before LinkedIn debuted its redesign a couple of years ago, LinkedIn expert David Lanners’ video and pdf of the varying search values in a LinkedIn profile is still very relevant.

Weekend Update
Early on in my search, a recruiter shared an interesting point with me: Updating your online profiles over the weekend puts you higher in the search results when recruiters get in the office on Monday.  When you think about it, this makes perfect sense. The results returned by search engines like Google show the most updated sites first.

Many people (myself included) make at the very least minor updates on Sunday and upload the resume or save the profile to various sites (LinkedIn, Indeed, Monster, CareerBuilder, etc.).

Get Out of the House
Keeping your online profiles updated is important. Networking in person is critical.

While it’s good to network with other job seekers, it’s also very important to network with people who are currently working. One of the best resources for finding all types of networking groups in the Dallas/Fort Worth area is CareerDFW.org.

Something else to consider is networking with groups or associations within your industry. In my search, networking events help by organizations such as the American Marketing Association (AMA) or the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) were great for a couple of reasons:

1. The networking events are sometimes fairly inexpensive.

2. I didn’t have to spend forever explaining to other attendees what my job entailed.

3. They sometimes had insight into the hiring status of companies in the industry.

4. Many of those attending events have been in the job search and sometimes can offer great insight on the process.

Additionally, some organizations will sometimes offer you a reduced rate or even extend your existing membership at no cost if you let them know you’re in the job search.

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