Job Hunting… The term itself can make you feel like you’re in the Hunger Games. Sounds scary, doesn’t it?
This process, like many others, is like a pineapple: On the outside, it looks like it can kill you but it’s actually pretty sweet once you eat it.
Although it takes some effort, and you might be wishing to go drinking a mojito with your friends instead, its outcome can be very fruitful and might signify your next big step in your career.
The process of finding your Holy Grail can be optimized, and being methodical can take you a long way.
The following steps will help you boost your efficiency, and eventually turning the Hunger Games into the beginning of a great journey.
1. Be very specific!! And no, precision will not make you miss your dream job. It will actually help you find it.
Use Job Boards, such as:
Fill in your search precisely: Why? The strategy of aiming wide in fear of missing an offer is not relevant.
Unless you work in an ultra-specialized sector, you will be overwhelmed by email/app notifications about job positions you don’t care about every day, and most of them will be far from your target.
At first, you will go through all the offers, but as time goes on you will not even really pay attention to them because of the amount of information. Too much information kills information.
The risk: The job position of your dreams can be hidden among all the useless job positions that you will no longer even read, leading to potentially missing out on a relevant offer.
In my own experience:
I was looking for “Human Resources” in my search criteria. I had targeted broadly and I was receiving so many notifications that in the end I was not even reading them.
Notifications are a great tool, if you use it wisely.
2. Contact directly people from companies dedicated to recruiting in your field of expertise
I invite you to target firms that have consultants dedicated to your profession, the offers they will send you will be more accurate and they will be more knowledgeable about how to support you.
Example: You are a jurist.
Search “legal recruitment firm”. Our friend Google will refer you the relevant firms. One of the results, for instance, was Taylor Root.
Send your CV to the websites of the firms in question, but that is not enough.
In addition, I invite you to make use of our dear friend LinkedIn to contact the firm’s recruiters directly.
In the search bar, enter the name of the firm: Taylor Root.
A list of consultants will appear. Filter by your location and send a message or connect to the recruiter.
To add a contact, click on “Connect” and write a short message. Example:
“Hello Mrs. X (important to individualize), I would like to add you to my network. Thank you, I wish you a very nice day.
A Way Searcher.”
Once the invitation has been accepted, you can proceed to a longer (in due measure), explanatory direct message. This leads us to step 3.
3. What message should be sent to recruiters?
Recruiters receive a lot of messages regularly, so you need to stand out by being concise and precise.
Here is the message I would send :
“Hello / Madam, Mr. X,
I noticed that you are specialized in the recruitment of legal profiles (to be adapted obviously to your profession;)
I am a Jurist with more than 5 years of experience, and I am looking for a position in tax law (be specific). I am available immediately (or specify your notice).
I would love to hear from you regarding potential positions that could fit my professional profile. I am enclosing my resume for your revision.
I remain at your disposal for any further information and I thank you in advance for the attention provided to my profile information.
A Way Searcher
Do not insist too heavily on a recruiter, they may not answer to you. Sending a message casually shows your motivation, but following-up every day makes you look like that annoying cousin we all try to avoid in family meetings!!
Recruitment is like love: Run away from me, I follow you. Follow me, I run away from you!!
4. Upload your CV on Job Boards and keep it up-to-date
Don’t forget to upload your CV on Job Boards. Indeed, Monster, Career Builders must be your best friends!
When you Google something, you rarely go beyond page 2, right?
Well, recruiters are the same, they rarely (not to say never) review all the pages of CV banks (= Job Boards from the perspective of the recruiter). They stop after the first 5 pages most often, which already allows them to skim a decent number of CVs.
In addition, the further your CV is from the first page, the later it was last posted/updated.
What can the recruiter say to themselves? That you may not be looking for a job anymore and that you simply forgot to remove your CV.
They prioritize recent applications (until about one month old).
If your resume is on page 10, your chance to be contacted is as likely as me winning an Emmy for my performance in the shower!!
How do I have my CV on page 1 or 2? Update it regularly; or remove it and re-upload it at least once a week. That way, your CV will be at the front of the queue and your chance of being contacted will increase.
We mentioned LinkedIn in steps 2 and 3, but this powerful tool deserves a closer look.
To optimize your job search, LinkedIn is essential.
5. LinkedIn – Make it your best friend
So you’re already in touch with recruiters that are relevant in your industry, you have optimized your presence in Job Boards.
What’s next? You guessed it, it’s time to take advantage of the most relevant professional tool, LinkedIn. Here’s how:
How to properly search for offers on LinkedIn?
1. In LinkedIn’s upper menu, click on “Jobs”.
2. A search bar will appear. Type the position and location you’re interested in and hit “search”. Example: Human Resources in New York.
3. Lots of positions will appear, you must filter them according to your criteria.
- Date Posted: Filters positions according to the relative date in which they were published. My suggestion – Choose “Past week”.
- LinkedIn Features: Filters special characteristics of the position, like whether Easy Apply is possible. My suggestion – Don’t filter.
- Company: Filters specific firms. My suggestion – Filter if you are interested in a specific company.
- Experience level: Filters according to the experience required.
Why? Because it is better to be 100% certain that the company receives your application.
How to have an impactful LinkedIn page?
Looking for a job without a good LinkedIn page is like eating a Mac and Cheese without cheese: crazy!
Your LinkedIn page is your showcase, it’s PRIMORDIAL!!
Here are my essentials:
Upload a professional photo
Linkedin is not Facebook. Photos taken in the restaurant, on the beach, with sunglasses… no no no no no!!
Photos on a plain background (white, black) in front, elegantly dressed, with a smile… yes yes yes yes!!
I insist a lot on that, because I’m on LinkedIn every day and I am always stunned by some pictures!
Do you think it is superficial to give so much importance to a photo? I get it, but at the same time the first impression is essential.
I remind you that recruitment is like love, the first impression is decisive.
So please follow my advice.
Complete all sections
Don’t leave blank any information! I’ll walk you through the essentials of the most relevant sections.
The title section
It’s just below your name and it should fit in 2 lines:
The summary section
It’s a text that precedes your experiences and allows you to introduce yourself in 5 – 10 lines.
We need to understand who you are and what you did, using relevant keywords related to your industry.
It’s like a teasing, the trailer of your profile!
This text is fundamental because it allows the recruiter to have context over your professional experience.
The experience section
You must briefly describe the company. That’ll help recruiters be familiar with the context in which you were performing your tasks.
The main tasks should be summarized in about 5 bullet points, which should not be more than 4 lines long each. Otherwise, it is too difficult for the recruiter to skim.
Start each bullet point with an action verb ( Managing, creating…).
Use quantitative data and be specific.
“I recruited many candidates” vs. “I recruited 30 candidates on the first half of 2019 and 45 on the second half of the year”.
Sounds sexier, doesn’t it?
Also, don’t forget to include your contact information!
Not necessarily your phone, but at least your email in order to be reached easily.
The recruiter must go fast, contacting you must not be like finding Nemo!
After applying this, your experience section should look something like this:
Tip: Once you have completed your profile, I recommend you using Resume Worded. It’s a tool that will automatically analyze your LinkedIn profile, give you a score and provide you with recommendations for further pimping your page.
If you have applied my advice, you should have a good score!! Otherwise, I might as well listen to depressive music and cry!!
Modify the URL
Modifying your URL gives recruiters the opportunity to find you more easily when searching your name. Plus, it gives your LinkedIn profile a cleaner look. Here again, it’s all about making it easier for the recruiter to find you! In order to do so, follow the steps below:
1. On your profile’s page, in the right pane, click on “Edit Public Profile & URL”. A new tab will open.
2. In the right pane of the new tab, in the “Edit URL” section, click on the edit icon.
3. Then, type your name and click save.
6. Be aware that spontaneous applications can be a source of frustration
At times, you might have targeted companies that interest you and sent unsolicited applications. Big firms usually offer this option.
Have you received any successful answers?… Hum, the conversion rate is often low. Why?
Because recruiters already have enough to do with the positions to be filled, which is their main focus. Thus, they might ignore spontaneous applications.
Your application is often stored in the company’s Human Resources Management Systems.
I’m not telling you not to try, but I want you to be aware that your chances of success are pretty low because sending a lot of applications without feedback can quickly become frustrating.
7. Have your CV ready to rock
Do you know how long, on average, does a recruiter spend skimming a resume? 6 seconds!! So, your CV must be made to attain two main goals: Attract the recruiters’ attention (so that they read longer than the average), and make them want to know more about yourself.
For that end, you should follow these guidelines:
1 page is the rule. 2 are acceptable if you have more than 15 years of experience.
You can be more or less creative depending on your sector and profession. The CV of a marketing manager will not be the same as that of a tax manager.
In any case, keep it simple and elegant. Avoid too many colors, have blank spaces between paragraphs and align your text. The idea is to always write short sentences! Your CV is a good teasing, you will get into details during the interview.
Please, stop pasting the company’s logos in your resume, it takes up space and makes it look like a collage!
Regarding a picture, you don’t necessarily have to include one. If you do, same advice as before: Front photo, elegant and smiling…!
Your CV must be catchy with essential elements :
- A title.
- Your contact and geographical mobility.
- Your education.
- Your professional experience with precise figures.
- Your skills: Technical, language… which are not your qualities!
- Your personal interests
- References (if any)
Let’s dive into more detail about these:
At the top of your CV, don’t forget to put a title:
Looking for a job as a… or Jurist in fiscality with 5 years of experience.
The title is often forgotten and yet essential, otherwise, it’s like forgetting the ball during a football match! (Okay, I’ll stop with my lame comparisons!)
Your contact and geographical mobility
Your contact details are essential for a recruiter to contact you in case you’re moving forward in the recruitment process. Here, you should include your phone number, email and LinkedIn profile.
In addition to that, it’s important to include your geographical mobility. That is, the places you’re willing to work in. If you’re location-flexible, state it. That will widen your range of options when recruiters find your CV in job boards or spontaneous applications.
For instance, if you live in New York but you’re willing to work in California, a recruiter will not be afraid of contacting you because you’re explicitly location-flexible.
Indicate your education in descending chronological order. Meaning, the most recent diploma first.
Additionally, elements of your education worth highlighting should appear on your CV. These are awards, special mentions or groups you were part of.
Your professional experience with precise figures
For every job position you’re listing, you must highlight what you have achieved in 4 to 6 bullets points. Don’t forget action verbs and figures that demonstrate the results obtained (see LinkedIn section).
These are not your qualities, thus please stop mentioning your qualities on your resume!!
You know, those famous qualities people sometimes write on their CV like “ambitious, rigorous, determined, enthusiastic”. STOP!!
At worst it can give you a pretentious image, at best a form of indifference. For the recruiter, these are just words on paper.
Moreover, 90% of people use the same qualities, which shows 0% creativity!
Basic rule: Your qualities are palpable in the interview and above all must be demonstrated!
In the Skills section, you must mention hard skills and languages, the ones you really master.
For languages, for instance, avoid the “Beginner Cantonese”.
No, no, no! Knowing how to say Wok doesn’t make you a Cantonese speaker, not even a beginner!
I mean, it doesn’t add value unless you have a personal interest in Chinese culture, and you want to highlight that. I would suggest instead mentioning it in your areas of interest.
Your personal interests
Speaking about interests… These famous areas of interest where we mention “sports, cinema, travel, reading”.
The goal is to make your resume stand out from the rest, right?
- Sport… What sport? Competition?
- Travel… Which ones are the most significant?
- Reading… What types of books? Fantastic, thriller? Any favorite author?
- Music… Any favorite music/artists?
Highlight what makes you different. Even if it is an unknown sport you will arise the recruiter’s curiosity!
On the other hand, don’t make anything up, you must be able to answer the “what” and “why” of each element of your CV. Plus, it’s ethically incorrect.
Never forget this rule, which we will discuss more broadly in the chapter on interview preparation.
It shows you have nothing to hide, and therefore can reassure the recruiter. Put it on the end of your resume.
Your references should include basic contact information of the person you’re referring, such as name, position, email address, and phone number.
Tip: There are many CV templates online, so no excuses!
One last thing: Always send your CV in PDF and here you go you are ready to apply
8. Staying motivated during job hunting
Job search is a marathon, not a sprint: Act accordingly.
Don’t look at the offers 24 hours a day, you’ll be morally exhausted.
Have you ever seen marathon runners run as fast as Usain Bolt? Absolutely never.
You have to be mindful about the length of the race and distribute your efforts accordingly so that you don’t run out of energy halfway. You must understand that finding a job can take time. Here again, I talk about the experiences I have lived and seen.
When I was looking for my first job I was constantly looking at offers, applying to what suited my expectations.
I was anxious to miss the offer of my dreams, I felt guilty as soon as I was doing something else (except eating!!). I was getting sick.
Of course, it is important to check out the offers every day, to be proactive, but 3/4 hours a day is enough. You don’t need to be on job boards all day long!
Meditate, do sports, distract yourself with something unrelated to job hunting. You will be more productive.
And when it’s your offer, it’s your offer! Believe it and all the circumstances will work in your favor.
Just because you’re not looking and applying for positions all day doesn’t mean you’ll miss your dream job. Don’t worry.
Here are some guidelines in order to remain focused on motivated during this “marathon”.
Be productive by setting SMART objectives
Staying motivated might also be related to productivity. The feeling of not making progress can be really frustrating.
In order to boost productivity, you can set SMART objectives for yourself. That is, objectives that meet these 5 criteria:
Specific: Define the expected result.
Ex: I would like to be recruited in a consulting firm.
Measurable: Quantify my objectives.
Ex: I have to look at job offers two hours a day.
Achievable: Define realistic ways to achieve your results.
Ex: I will surf on job boards and LinkedIn every day.
Realistic: Consider your constraints.
Ex: Except on Sundays, when I enjoy with my family and friends.
Timed: Specify the timeline or a deadline for achieving objectives that are within your locus of control.
Setting yourself objectives that don’t depend entirely on yourself (like “finding a job”), are not SMART objectives. All the opposite, they will be a source for further frustration if they’re not met.
Example of how NOT to set a SMART objective: I want to find within 8 weeks’ maximum.
Example of how to set a SMART objective: I will attend to all relevant networking events that are no further than 4 km (2.5 miles) from home for a period of 2 months.
Target your job applications
I have already mentioned it, but target the offers to which you apply.
Negative answers are discouraging. So limit this risk by selecting the positions your apply for.
In order to be able to keep track of your applications in an organized manner, I advise you create a table with the following information:
- Date of application
- Name of the company for which you applied
- Job position name
- Recruiter’s name
- Job offer reference – This will help the recruiter find your position when you contact them to follow-up about your application’s status
- Follow-up due date
- Status – Feedback pending, feedback received, etc
Finally, write a list of your qualities and strengths and hang it on the wall!
That way, when you doubt or if you receive negative answers you will have a reminder that will help you remain confident 🙂