Spring Clean Your Job Search

Job HoppingThe birds are chirping. The flowers are blooming. The pollen is EVERYWHERE. You know what that means. It means it’s time to reevaluate what you’ve been doing with your job search and prune back the ineffective elements. Some things will need to be cut off completely and tossed into the career compost heap. You want to nurture the strategies and tactics that are effective and give them the most attention. Which of your job search strategies need to be purged? Let’s take a look.

Your resume. Do an audit of your resume. Do you have an objective section? Get rid of it. A hiring manager doesn’t care so much about your career objective. The business problems the hiring manager is trying to solve are more pressing. Do you have “responsible for” statements? Change them to achievement-oriented statements. What about the format of your resume? Are you using the “functional” format? Do you have different fonts, images, and graphics? Ditch it all. Stick with the simple reverse-chronological format or a hybrid format—it’s the easiest way for someone to understand your career trajectory. Focus on substance and highlighting your achievements, not on graphics and charts.

linkedinYour LinkedIn profile. Are you using your current title as your headline? Why? Does that define you? Of course not! You are much more than your current title. Also, many people fall into the trap of copying and pasting their resume into LinkedIn. Your LinkedIn should tell the story of your professional life. It should be personal, and should show some humanity. Be sure you have a professional-looking photo to go along with your profile. If you don’t have a photo, recruiters will not take you seriously. You don’t need to have a professional headshot, but you also shouldn’t use a photo of you having cocktails with your friends, by the pool, or with the giant fish you caught. Keep it simple.

Your networking activities. Is your networking limited to sending a mass email to everyone you know, asking for assistance with your job search? Cut that out. Focus instead on building face-to-face relationships with people across industries and functions. Shift your focus from “What can you do for me?” to “How can I help you?” Online networking, while great, does not replace actually getting out and meeting people in person.

Your relationship with the ATS.  The ATS. The applicant tracking system. The resume black hole. If you are spending more than 10% of your time submitting online applications via companies’ ATS systems, you are spinning your wheels. Redirect your efforts to things that produce real results, like working on your brand and developing your network.

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