It’s not exactly a news flash, but the strategies for a successful job hunt have changed considerably over the past several years—and possibly forever.
Like it or not, getting in front of the right audience for your search has become the equivalent of running a PR campaign, complete with brand development, market research, and message delivery.
If you’ve been striking out while trying to get noticed, it’s possible that your expertise is still a secret in the business world.
You’ll get better results by boosting your promotional efforts with these methods:
1- Be noticed online.
For every job hunter that’s decided to really leverage LinkedIn, there must be at least a dozen others who don’t get the reasons behind forming new connections or keyword-loading their profiles.
Building an online presence is one of the most valuable (and cheapest!) ways to put yourself in front of others seeking your expertise—and LinkedIn is one of the simplest, most effective ways to create online credibility.
Make it easy for employers to learn about you by filling your LinkedIn profile with every skill, job title, and competency possible. Take care to ensure that this data is consistent with the knowledge expected in the job you’re pursuing, and remove irrelevant skills that can confuse companies viewing your profile.
Add a professional photo, get (and give) recommendations, and take the time to provide expertise in the LinkedIn Answers forum in your subject area. Accept all connections—even those that seem foreign to you—as this can put you several degrees closer to your desired employers.
If you share a common name with others, or want even more exposure, place your profile on business search engines like Zoominfo
2 – Be noticed by target employers.
Stop waiting for great companies to post an online job ad. If they do, you’ll have to compete with even more job seekers in order to get some traction in your search.
Many job openings are simply the result of companies that test the market. In other cases, employers can have such a long hiring cycle that your query can go unnoticed for some time.
Instead, put together a focused mailing to a group of select companies every week. Use business information engines or LinkedIn to identify likely targets for your skills, then find company insiders using these same methods.
After finishing this detective work, send your resume and cover letter in a 9×12 envelope marked “confidential” directly to your newly found contact. Be sure to follow up your query with a call during the next week.
3 – Be noticed in your circle.
Tap into an already established network by reaching out to old friends and colleagues, not just to let them know about your job search but to find out what is happening in their lives, too.
You might realize that there’s been significant activity in your industry or city, just by querying others for updates on their career status.
Preserve this inner circle as much as possible! Maintain contact through LinkedIn and other social networking sites, join others for coffee and to catch up, and generally keep in touch with others that already know about the quality of your work.
In addition, ensure that your career marketing materials (resume, cover letter, biography, reference dossier) are polished and ready for others to distribute to their networks.
4 – Be noticed in your field.
There’s never been a better time to show commitment to your field than right now. You can join trade and professional associations (sometimes in just a day or two) that will connect you with employers seeking your skills, professionals who share your expertise, and more opportunities for exposure.
Not only will these groups look great on your resume and LinkedIn profiles/groups, they will also offer the opportunity to network with others in your field. Many members will also be actively employed in your target companies, and therefore a great source of connections to boot.
Find new groups that share your passion by googling your industry with the word “association” behind it. Then, contact these organizations to ask if they’ll allow you to attend a trial meeting or enroll for a short, free membership.
Don’t forget to volunteer for board positions. These duties not only demonstrate leadership to potential employers, but may also increase your visibility, especially if board memberships are posted online.