May 20, 2013

4 Things to Do Before You Even Start Looking

start hereJob seekers, you have an ever-increasing amount of information at your fingertips, dozens of job boards to search, big social data to wade through, and most of you don’t even know where to begin. Just diving in without a deliberate direction for a job search can really limit you. Jumping from site to site, and disorganized networking won’t get you too far.


Before the search begins, get that resume down.

First and foremost, check for any mistakes, grammatical errors, or lines that might not flow well. Read and reread for quality assurance. A strong resume should be in reverse chronological order of your last 3-5 positions.

Hiring managers wade through thousands of these, so focus on highlighting strengths in a short and sweet manner. Use bullet points and white space to make the resume easy to scan. Hiring managers take about 6 seconds to look for the basics of any resume, so lengthy paragraphs on strengths in 8 point font is a waste of everyone’s time.

Lastly, resumes should be tailored to the position that the you are applying for. When tailoring, consider what the posting is asking for and reflect that in the resume.

Figure out what you want and need in a new position.

With so many companies jumping on the employer branding band wagon, you now get the opportunity to see what a company is like before you even consider applying. Branded web sites, social media, video and employee testimonials are now mainstream. Take advantage of this bird’s eye view of their company culture and really consider what you want in a workplace.

You should also consider your needs in a salary. You should, for your worst case scenario, know what you can take at the lowest. You should also be keenly aware of your earning potential and base your negotiations off of that.

Flexible hours, location, childcare, telecommuting, device freedom, vacation time, are all things to consider. Knowing what you want before you start on this journey is vital. Walking into an interview humming and hawing will get you slapped (in the hiring manager’s mind anyway).

Get ready to be investigated.

Social media will be a huge part in your job search on both your end, and your hiring manager’s end. One in five employers use social sites to research job candidates, so clean it up. Before you contact anyone, make sure that your online presence is in line with what you want to portray. And please consider that maybe not everyone wants to hire the fun-loving bar hopper, in fact no one wants to.

For your current purposes, keep everything that is public, professional. A third of employers who scan social media profiles said they have found content that has caused them not to hire the candidate. What you think of as a harmless, funny photo can come off quite differently to someone who doesn’t know you.

Use your Network. Use your social media outlets, email and heck, maybe even the phone, to let people know that you are looking. Matt Youngquist, the president of Career Horizons says, “At least 70 percent, if not 80 percent, of jobs are not published, and yet most people — they are spending 70 or 80 percent of their time surfing the net versus getting out there, talking to employers, taking some chances [and] realizing that the vast majority of hiring is friends and acquaintances hiring other trusted friends and acquaintances.”

Read more in Job Search Advice

Maren Hogan is a seasoned marketer and community builder in the HR and Recruiting industry. She leads Red Branch Media, an agency offering marketing strategy and content development. A consistent advocate of next generation marketing techniques, Hogan has built successful online communities, deployed brand strategies in both the B2B and B2C sectors, and been a prolific contributor of thought leadership in the global recruitment and talent space. Hogan speaks and writes on all career and workforce related subjects. Her clients include Fortune 500 companies and SMBs around the globe. Red Branch Media was formed in 2006 as a simple consultancy. Today, the firm is a full-service B2B Marketing Agency that serves clients in the U.K., Africa, China, Israel, Europe and North America. Primarily focused on the Human Resources and Global Workforce vendors, Red Branch Media handles clients of all shapes and sizes.
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