Hot Tips and Cool Tricks to Drive your Job Search

Donald Straits, CEO and Dragon Slayer, Corporate Warriors

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Grab a cup of coffee or a nice cool drink, get settled in front of your computer, put your thinking cap on, and now let's go to work. Print out the following list of hot tips and cool tricks. Now as you read each one, think about how the tip or trick applies to your search situation. Type out your ideas so that you can organize them and put them to work for you. They may not all apply, but guaranteed, you will see opportunities to change your job search strategy.

Some of the ideas are out-of-the-box, innovative tips and tricks that break traditional rules. The other ideas may be very traditional, but are worth repeating. Many people are not using these basic, extraordinarily important, concepts. For example. Proofread. Proofread. Proofread. I look at dozens of resumes every day, and almost every resume has mistakes in grammar, punctuation or spelling. It is a death sentence for the job seeker.

1. Don't be trapped in the traditional one- or two-page resume "box." Make a powerful first impression with a comprehensive portfolio, including a two- to four-page resume, key accomplishment summaries (one page each) and statements of industry, company, or functional job insights. Integrate graphs, tables or charts throughout your resume or portfolio.

2. Avoid these common resume mistakes: weak demonstration of results, disorganized, run-on or wordy sentences, and too much irrelevant information such as long lists of coursework, certificates and personal family history. Most importantly, avoid the use of "half-sentences" that only tell what you did and do not define the results you achieved. Once again, avoid misspellings, typing errors and grammatical blunders that are far too commonplace.

3. When posting your resume on CareerBuilder.com, consider taking advantage of the "upgrade" so that your resume always appears near the top of the list. All postings appear in chronological order with the exception of the "upgrades" which get priority placement. Without the upgrade option, your resume will quickly appear down further on the list because of the huge volume of postings. It is worth the minor investment.

4. The primary reason why most job seekers fail in their job search is that they are too focused on themselves (job title, responsibilities, compensation, location, growth opportunity, and status). The job seekers who achieve success in their job search are focused on the needs of the organization to which they are applying and the needs of the people in that organization.

5. Don't be trapped by looking backward at your last position with regret or anger. Eyes forward with enthusiasm, energy and confidence for the new opportunities that lie in the future!

6. After you suffer a job loss, do not "retreat" or "escape" behind the doors of your house. The exact opposite should be the case. Seek out every opportunity to expand your network through new friends. Become active in professional organizations and community groups. Meet new people in social and athletic situations; engage those people in conversations on how you can help them and then they, in turn, will help you.

7. Get organized and committed. The biggest mistake most people make is finding excuses for not being active in their job search. Develop a daily working plan and stick to it!

8. Here is a tip that breaks the rules: Do not develop a 30-second "commercial" that tells people about yourself. Too often, that "commercial" sounds "scripted" and it rarely is suited for every situation. Rather, think more about the individual to whom you are speaking, what his/her needs are, and how you can help him/her, given your leadership and expertise. Example: If you are talking to an HR person, talk about team building, collaboration and being open to ideas. If you are interviewing with a sales manager, talk about your energy, drive, new products, sales opportunities and how everyone in the organization should be considered part of the sales team. If you are meeting with an analytical type of person (i.e. financial or technical manager), talk about the importance of systems, processes, details, organization and procedures. If you are meeting with a senior department head, talk about the importance of generating bottom line results.

9. Don't think so much about how to answer tough questions. If you are a talented, you will have the ability to think "on your feet" and answer those questions. More importantly, think about what kind of tough questions are important to ask. Asking penetrating questions demonstrates your expertise and job insights.

10. When responding to questions, tell great stories that illustrate the point you are trying to make. Answering a question with facts and figures touches the interviewer's mind. However, if you answer questions with a great story, you touch his/her heart. Once you touch someone's heart, you've got him/her "in your pocket."

11. When you define your career, think in terms of your leadership and contributions to the bottom line. Do not think in terms of job history, experience, or skill set.

12. When you prepare for an interview, go beyond the traditional company research. Develop a list of key insights into emerging trends, opportunities, issues, and challenges for the industry, company or position. Your insights or viewpoints will demonstrate your leadership and vision. Also do field research. Talk with employees, customers, vendors and write out the summaries of your research. The knowledge you gained will give you an edge over other job seekers.

13. When networking, instead of talking about yourself, ask questions that identify the needs of the people with whom you are talking. By understanding their agenda, you are more likely to come up with the right responses to their questions. It is commonly accepted that great conversationalists do the least amount of talking but ask the best questions.

14. If you are over 40, hit the books and become contemporary in state-of-the-art concepts for your industry or functional area. Many mature job seekers are passed over because they are not up-to-date. Also, regardless of your industry or position, become proficient in current computer technology and applications. If you don't heed both of the above suggestions, you will discover you will soon no longer be marketable

15. To secure a position, your ability to do the job is only a small piece of the total puzzle. Hiring managers are more interested in the following: initiative, willingness to accept responsibility, ability to grow within your job and the company, your ability to assume authority when required, your respect of authority, your level of expertise, your ability to manage and lead others, your ability to work in a team environment, a personality that demonstrates self-confidence, the courage to make tough decisions, compatibility with the corporate culture, and your demonstration of high energy and enthusiasm.

While the above cool tips and hot tricks only scratch the surface, they will help you rethink your search strategy and get you pointed in the right direction. We all know that today's job market is tough, so the message is persistence. Get focused, implement great strategies, and stay motivated. Hang in there. You are going to succeed.
 


Don Straits, CEO and Dragon Slayer, Corporate Warriors

Don is recognized as a nationwide authority on contemporary job search strategies and technologies for executives. His organization produces world-class online multi-media resume portfolios and provides out-of-the-box coaching for his/her clients. Don can be contacted at don@corporatewarriors.com or (916) 630-4545. Website: www.corporatewarriors.com.

© Copyright 2003 Don Straits. All rights reserved. This information is strictly for personal use. Any other use of this material is prohibited by law unless permission is otherwise granted in writing by the copyright holder.


Last Updated: 04/03/2008 - 2:08 PM


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