8 Questions to Answer Before Launching Your Fall Job Search

Were you one of the job seekers who suspended their job search for the summer and are now about to resume your quest – along with 70% of your competition? While employers continue to hire during the summer months, a fall job search is filled with activity as more candidates compete for fewer jobs.

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Employer recruitment campaigns, career fairs, and in-person and online networking provide numerous opportunities to uncover your next career challenge, but you need to prepare for success.

  1. What messages do your current resume and online profiles portray? Do they relay the same message or conflicting messages? Do the messages reflect your current career progression and achievements or are they outdated and irrelevant? Your resume is absolutely out of date if it still starts with an “Objective” statement. I often discover another source of confusion when I review client profiles on LinkedIn and find employer names, job titles and/or dates of employment differ from what’s on their resume.
  1. Have you defined your personal brand? A personal brand conveys to the reader what is so special about YOU! What is your personal brand? Is it still relevant or does it require some polishing before you begin promoting it to hiring influencers?
  1. How strong is your network? Only 9% of jobs are advertised in Canada; the majority of jobs are found through networking, both in-person and online. Do you have a networking speech ready to go? Are you scheduling coffee meetings each day with potential career influencers? How many connections do you have on LinkedIn? A look at your social media activity can quickly tell me if you’re conducting an active job search or lazing on the couch waiting for the phone to ring.
  1. What does your cover letter look like? Are you customizing it to each employer or conducting a mass direct mail campaign? I always coach my clients to research and uncover the name of a hiring influencer and address the cover letter appropriately. Review the LinkedIn profile of the person who posted the job you’re applying to. Conduct due diligence prior to the interview and learn not only about the company but also the potential interviewer.
  1. Where are the jobs? The advent of social media has vastly changed the hiring process with fewer and fewer companies using the traditional “post and pray” strategy. Companies are increasingly reinventing their hiring practices to incorporate online/digital recruitment strategies, embracing social media to post job openings as well as to find and pre-screen potential hires. In addition to company websites and job boards, explore job openings on LinkedIn, Facebook and yes, even Twitter.
  1. Is your resume scannable? Why does that matter? Almost all resumes submitted online or sent via email will initially be read by Applicant Tracking System (ATS) software. A 2014 resume needs to be ATS friendly, meaning no underlines, no graphics, no text boxes, and no headers or footers. While nice to look at, these features may inhibit the ability of the scanning software to read your resume.
  1. Are you dressed properly for an interview? No matter whether the interview is conducted in-person, by telephone or via Skype video, dress for success. Believe it or not, you do act differently when you’re hiding behind the telephone in your jammies versus being dressed in business attire.
  1. What first impression do you make? On the day of your interview,steer clear of wearing loud or bright clothing, give a solid handshake, look the interviewer in the eye, smile, and avoid fidgeting.

Going the extra mile in a fall job search will help you stand out from the competition and reduce the amount of time it takes to secure your next challenge.

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