Recently an old college friend sent me a note asking me for some first steps to get back into the job market. Here are some of the steps I recommended. What would you add?
1) Update LinkedIn with as much concrete data as you can along with a status update – Looking for opportunities in Portland Metro Area. Add numbers, values, information that shows the impact you had in your previous jobs. # of people taught, $$ saved, percentages, etc. Folks are looking for information on the impact you had in addition to the skills you have. There are a lot of great articles/websites dedicated to how to write your LinkedIn profile. Read them and apply what you’ve learned.
2) Grow your LinkedIn network. Link with everyone you know. It doesn’t matter if you know them in a business sense or not. Link with parents of friends of your children. Link with teachers, professors, neighbors, friends of your parents, etc. Everyone you know is potentially linked to someone who has a job waiting for you.
2) Ask for LinkedIn recommendations! The resume is becoming more and more obsolete. People are using the internet and references and on-line presence to screen potential candidates. Google yourself. Do you like what you see? Make sure nothing you want private is out there. Hide yourself in Facebook from everyone but your friends. Make yourself unsearchable. And what does show up, make sure you like it.
3) Contact folks in your field that you do know. Approach them in a positive way. Remember: No negativity (I am broke, poor, disillusioned, etc.). Use language such as “I am looking for a new opportunity to showcase my xyz skills.” Follow leads they give you. Again, your approach should be all positive. If at all positive pitch what you can do for them. Maybe you can intern with them for a short period while searching? Be creative.
4) Look at the open jobs section of LinkedIn. Is there a listing that fits your skills where someone you know works? Can you get your name in the running by leveraging your network? I once helped a friend who saw that I knew a vice president at a company with an open position. I was able to make sure his resume made it to the top of the stack and he got called for a phone interview. He eventually landed the job! Another person asked me to to do the same for her husband – get his resume noticed. He made it to the final round of interviews for the position.
5) Update your resume. HOWEVER, make sure it’s current in format and content. So many things are cliche or outdated now. No one includes “I know how to use Word, PowerPoint, Excel” because those things are obvious. No one puts “references available upon request either”. There are lots of articles on-line with tips on how to make your resume relevant and up to date. There are also wonderful resume coaches that can help you. Adjust accordingly.
6) Find a technical temp agency in your area. Just like they have them for secretaries and administrative personnel, they have agencies for technical and accounting professionals. If there is more than one, sign up with them all. It’s about landing that first position. Oftentimes companies screen potential full-time employees by hiring temps.
7) Find a local Executive Search Firm (aka head hunter). See if they will take you on as a client and pitch you to companies.
8) Be positive! Tell folks what you love to do. The more people you tell, the more likely something that matches your skills and passions will surface and come back to you.
This was the list I gave her to get started. What would you add?