The reason so many people are still unemployed has very little to do with their resumes. Yet, more than any thing else, this document is being re-worked and critiqued. STOP IT ALREADY! Job search is about knowing the right people and having them know you. The resume is secondary. It is back-up documentation.
These are the top 10 things for an unemployed job seeker to obsess over:
1) Exploring options for work beyond a 60 mile radius.
I hear job seekers talk about the fact that can’t relocate their families more than any other objection. Ludicrous. No one says you have to move your family. No one even said you had to relocate yourself. In today’s world, more and more jobs can be done virtually. You will never know what the options are unless you pursue them. The one, most obvious choice, is to expand your search territory. See what happens!
2) Use a proactive approach
Don’t wait for a company to post a job, identify potential employers and pursue them. Leave no stone unturned. Create a list of at least 50 employers that are likely to need someone who does what you do. Now you can follow these employers on LinkedIn, Twitter, in the news and see what they are up to.
3) Lazer Focus
Be extremely clear on what problems you are great at solving (and enjoy). You can not, nor should not, be all things to all companies! Know what you are good at and sell it!
4) Sell Yourself
No, not in a slimy way, but in a convincing way. When you introduce yourself, use language that everyone can understand and make it interesting.
5) Stop saying you are looking for a job
When you confess that you are looking for a job, you sound desperate. This makes most people want to run and hide. Even if they did have a job, they probably wouldn’t offer it to you. You are seeking information! Really, you NEED to learn about other companies and perhaps industries to see what they are doing and how they work.
6) Have more conversations
Because most external hiring comes through referrals, spend more time meeting people and less time applying for jobs online. Your chances of landing a job because you know someone inside the hiring company are many times greater!
7) Really research your industry and occupation
Know what technology is being required. Know what the challenges are. Know the direction your occupation is headed in as well as your industry. Your goal is to be a walking encyclopedia on the topics facing your field.
8 ) Understand and use LinkedIn
You don’t need to take a class for crying out loud. Read a book, watch a video, start a “new users” group so you fully understand the best practices. This tool will be around for awhile and you’ll want to use it once your employed too!
9) Be positive
Complaining, bad mouthing, lack of self esteem all work against a candidate. Fix this. I know how hard it is to be out of work, but you can and must control your attitude!
10) Be a giver not a taker
An overriding principle of networking and strong interpersonal communication is to be a good listener. Are you developing your listening skills? Are you making conversations more about the other person? Are you volunteering? What else can you do to help others?
Now, having said all this, I know that having a strong, accomplishment based resume is always a good thing. The resume must be customized for every job you apply to. It must uniquely convey your strengths. It should be error-proof and truthful. Yes, you have to have a good one, but do these other 10 things first!
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.