Essentials of a successful job search
Having worked as a recruiter, outplacement consultant and career adviser for around 18 years I had the opportunity to help build a junior miner’s team which was ramping up for production. My job was to recruit 57 positions. As I had been providing career advice and job search coaching, I was interested in comparing various methods of job searching techniques inside a mining company. Last week I discussed some job search strategies to help overcome competition. This week I explain how to tailor your resume to dramatically increase your interview prospects plus several job search essentials that you need to know. I also sum up my overall learnings, therefore, will explain what that means for you and your job search.
Selection Criteria and Cover letters
Of the thousands of completed applications received few were tailored to the specific positions and even fewer had cover letters that matched the selection criteria. Receiving a written application is the first impression recruiters have of you as a potential employee or even colleague. That is why recruiters (usually) try to provide as much relevant information as possible. So if you send an application without addressing selection criteria, it is unlikely that your application will go any further. Although it can be difficult to tailor your resume to every single position, a cover letter is a great way to tailor your skills and qualities to the job and to explain how you fit the selection criteria. If you don’t feel that you have enough information for the application I suggest that you contact the recruiter for further information. If they are hesitant about providing more information you might want to reconsider them as an employer.
What sort of resume do you have? Is it full of nice but irrelevant information? Is it difficult to read? Does it have a complete summary of your work history over the last 10 years with gaps explained? There is a lot of information about resume writing out there. Some of it can be confusing or contradictory. To make matters worse, there are recruiters out there that have their own idea of what a resume should look like. Whilst what is important can vary from industry to industry, most industries require similar information. Make sure you are familiar with what is required for your industry. Better still, get your resume reviewed by a professional. When you consider the difference a well-written resume (and application) can make to the success of your job search success, it is well worth investing a few hundred dollars in getting a well-crafted resume.
My time with the mining company demonstrated to me that although companies can vary in the work they do or the services that they provide, the skills required for job searching are transferable – as are a lot of skills you may have. Here are the points that you should take home about applying for jobs;
Professional connections and Networking
Build your professional network and Develop your networking skills. These skills are invaluable not just for getting a job but for many parts of your life. Networking can be learnt and should be your top priority. If you need help learning these skills obtain help. You will be glad you did.
Your resume is often the first impression recruiters and hiring managers have of you. You don’t get a 2nd chance at a first impression. Invest in a good resume writer.
Cover letters and selection criteria
Tailor your cover letter to each position you apply for. Make sure you answer each selection criteria carefully. If you find that it is taking up too much of your time applying for jobs, chances are that you are applying for too many jobs. With greater care and research your chances of getting that next job increase dramatically.
You will need to research the companies that you are interested in. You are far better off taking a bit more time to get a job with a company that fits you rather than find any job and try to fit in. You are better off spending extra time researching companies so that you can develop your skill set with a company that appreciates and values you as an employee. Remember that poor quality companies have poor staff retention and higher staff turnover than good companies so don’t waste your time with companies that you know would not interest you in the long run.