The Job Search process really contains both a process or procedure piece along with your soft skills. Unfortunately, for many Job Seekers, they excel at one piece of this puzzle but fail to master both ends. This is usually because one area is much more natural than the other and therefore easier to succeed in. By examining closely both sides the hope is that you will be able to unlock each in order to provide yourself a competitive advantage.
— Your Processes or Procedures:
This includes the core building blocks of your search and therefore we will tackle this side first. This portion is considered that area in which structure, routine, procedures, etc. will allow you to succeed.
Know What You Want – Enter into your active job search having already evaluated your skills and the current labor market. This will allow you to accurately slot where you fit in and allows you to focus your search. You should have already decided what aspects of your next position that you must have. Also decide what you would like to avoid both in a position and a company. Already have an idea on the compensation for what you are searching for and what the labor market is at that level.
Study Your Prospective Employer – Know as much as possible about the organizations you are targeting. Speak to people within the companies and search for available information on the Internet. This knowledge will not only allow you to ask intelligent questions during the process, but also help you in evaluating whether this is the right spot for you.
Create Cover Letter and Resume Templates – While each document should be customized, it makes sense to create templates that allow you to quickly complete professional documents.
Eliminate Mistakes – You should not only spell check but also read through every correspondence you send. Ask a friend or family member to read your Cover Letter and Resume to make sure it is done accurately.
Develop a Sourcing Routine – Develop a list of your favorite sourcing methods. Create a checklist that allows you to quickly search these methods for positions of interest. Do this at a set time…daily, weekly, whatever fits your schedule and search. If searching on the Internet, sign-up for the e-mail summary or alert that will give you a heads up on positions of interest.
Practice – Develop yourself so that you are confident yet still natural during your phone screen or interview. Anticipate what may be asked and come prepared with your answers. Create questions that will answer the inquiries you have while impressing the interviewer with your interest level. Use your friends and family as a sounding board.
— Your Soft Skills:
In this area, the “art” refers to actions that are more qualitative and less quantitative. In other words, it is more of the “soft skills” of the job search and less reliant on structure and routine. I, like others, however, would argue that the more structure, routine, and practice around your “soft skills” the better someone can be at this area, especially for those that find it unnatural.
Be Engaged – Interviewers want to see and hear from individuals who are truly interested in the position they are recruiting for at this time. For example, make eye contact, speak with passion, lean forward when listening, and show enthusiasm. For the naturally extroverted, this may be an easy task but for others, this can be hard work.
Network – Determine who are the people that can give you the best leads for the position you are seeking. Reach out to those individuals to build a relationship that will hopefully reap dividends for you.
Customize – Add the personal touch to your Cover Letter and Resume to make each submission special. Add a reference to where you saw the opening into your Cover Letter. In the body of the Cover Letter, tie your skills to the advertisement. Update the Resume to emphasize the skills you have that best fit the position.
Stay Friendly – You will meet and speak to a lot of people during your job search, from receptionist to Hiring Managers. Each person may play an important part in you landing the position desired. They may also assist you at some point with your networking. Always be pleasant, respectful, and thankful to those you come in contact with.
Listen Closely – This would apply to both your ears and your eyes. Process both verbal and non-verbal instructions and clues. They may direct you to the next step in the process or provide you with some insight in what the interviewer is thinking.
Maintain Confidence – The job search process can be challenging with many occasions where aspects do not go as you had planned or hoped. A key is to stay positive and confident so the end result will be positive.
I think most anybody would acknowledge that to succeed in both of these areas takes diligence and effort. The reward for the savvy Job Seeker is an advantage over a person who lags in one of these areas.
As always, best of luck in your job search.
The following has been prepared for the general information of WNYJobs readers. It is not meant to provide advice with respect to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.
WNY Human Resources Professional
Feel free to contact Joe Stein regarding questions or comments at: