Help! I Need a Job RIGHT NOW!
Relationships with recruiters are great for longer-term job-seeking. But we are kind of stuck with the jobs we have on our desk from our clients (the companies who pay us) and if they don't match up with your skill set, or aren't in your geography on the day you contact us, we are both kind of SOL.
We'd love to learn about your long-term career goals and keep you "on file" for when a job comes up that you'd be great for, but getting a job today? Not so much.
It's frustrating, I know. So I've put together some information for candidates who need a job RIGHT NOW and some simple things to do to help you get the ball rolling.
- Breathe. This is going to be a process. But it's going to be OK. I've got your back.
- Sit down and take stock of your skills and job experience. This is going to be a comprehensive list of things that you have already done at your prior jobs. It should include specific skills relevant to your field, but also general skills, like ability to work in a team environment, excellent written and oral communication skills, prioritization of duties, flexibility, positive attitude, timeliness, etc. Really go to town here. Put down everything you can think of that you feel you have done and done well. This is very important and will serve you in the next exercise.
- Create a resume template. This is a black and white document (no fancy graphics or pictures) that highlights your skills and abilities. The template will be the "bones" of your resume. It should include things that won't change, like your name, contact information, your past job titles, dates of employment, education and references. Don't fill in the bulleted points under each job you've had quite yet.
- Search intelligently. Take to the internet job boards. LinkedIn is a great place to look for jobs, and you're already here!
- Use the 75%-25% Rule. Apply to jobs where you have direct experience in at least 75% of the qualifications, and are willing to learn the 25% that you do not have direct experience in.
- Find jobs with lower engagement. This is less competition for you! LinkedIn job postings will tell you how many applicants a job has had. If you apply strategically to jobs with a smaller applicant pool, you'll have a better chance of getting the job!
- When and only when you've identified the job(s) you are going to apply for, you should begin to build out the job experience (bulleted) portion of your resume. This is because each job is different and has different requirements. Take the list you made earlier of your experience and abilities, match it up with the individual job posting, and build your resume specifically for the job to which you are applying.
- Yes, you have to do this for ALL THE JOBS YOU APPLY FOR. It's going to take time, but it's worth it, trust me.
- Sell yourself, but don't lie about your skills and experience. Just don't.
- Create your resumes and get them ready to send. Look at your resumes, then update your LinkedIn profile with the top skills of the jobs you applied for. This is the first place an internal recruiter will look upon receiving your application! Make a good first impression.
- Do your research: When you apply to a company, do some research about who they are, what they do, and what they care about. Look at some recent news articles about the company. Learn about their culture and mission. Educate yourself on who they are looking for and what problem they are looking to solve with the job opening.
- Craft either a cover letter or a simple LinkedIn connection message to the CEO or Hiring Manager of a smaller firm, or Talent Acquisition Manager of a Larger firm. Introduce yourself and tell them you're applying for their position. Then say something NICE ABOUT THE COMPANY. Not yourself. This is when you tell them that what they are doing is exciting to you and why. Or that their mission or culture speaks to your values.
- Submit the personalized resume to the job opening.
- Follow up. HR and Hiring Managers are busy. That's why they are hiring! Follow up 2 days later about your resume. Keep following up at regular intervals until you hear back.
- Finally, use your LinkedIn profile (the most marketable skills you have) and make a Master Resume. Upload your resume wherever you can. Indeed, Careerbuilder, Monster, ZipRecruiter, everywhere. Make it easy for companies to find you.
- Rinse and repeat.
- Stay honest with yourself. Take several hours a day and work at this process. If after a week or so you don't hear back from any job you applied for, take another hard look at the 75% 25% rule and reevaluate your search.
- Let us know how it goes! We hope this was helpful. Best of luck to you. You're an awesome human.