The pandemic has had many Canadians seriously thinking about their job prospects. While some sectors (ex: retail, travel, entertainment) are experiencing serious problems, other (ex: IT, Sales, Health) are experiencing an unprecedented boom.
Whether you are changing industries, adopting to work from home (the new normal) or striving for a promotion, the following 7 step approach to job hunting will all but guarantee you a job (and a nice one at that)!
1) Identify your target market
Since you are a product to be “sold” on the labour market (does not sound pretty but the sooner you adapt this approach, the faster you will find a good paying job), you need to make sure that you target the labour market effectively. If you are trying to apply with the same portfolio to multiple positions that require a different skill set (even if you have them all), you are setting yourself for failure from the start.
Thus, identity your target market first and draw up a plan of attack.
2) Employ professional services to help you with your portfolio – invest in yourself!
Find a service provider who will craft the following for you: a) Professional Branded Resume b) Strategic Cover Letter c) Thank you Letter d) Follow-up Letter e) properly optimized LinkedIn account. It is not easy to find a good service provider. Make sure to check for 1) writers’ credentials – ensure that the company does not outsource your resume overseas or to students. 2) check samples 3) check public reviews on Google.
3) Start applying strategically
Ideally, you need to edit your resume and cover letter for every specific position that you apply for. In reality however it is simply too much work. Work smarter! Find about 20 positions that you like and apply to about 15 of them using your new portfolio.
Now for the 5 positions that you really like or think that you stand a good chance of securing an interview, it is not a bad idea to modify a few aspects of your new portfolio to make sure that the documents seem to be targeted towards the position. Ask your service provider for helpful tips on how to do it on your own without resorting to paying the provider again. I am sure they will provide such tips for free.
TIP: Always remember to keep the style and presentation aspect of your new portfolio always intact. In most cases presentation is much more important than content (believe it or not).
4) Apply unconventionally
An unconventional, but a very effective way of applying, is conducting research on the company of interest, finding a person responsible for the hiring process, and sending that person an email. You might get rejections, but in some cases your resume will get to an actual decision maker (bypassing the entire HR funnel system), which is a very good thing.
5) Network on LinkedIn
Liaise with other professionals on LinkedIn. I cannot stress this enough. Your resume service provider should provide you with an optimized LinkedIn profile and the proper tools for navigating LinkedIn. To put it in perspective, 40% of my clients use LinkedIn as their main tool for job search.
Follow up! Make sure you send in follow up email after applying for jobs and thank you letters following interviews. These are small but great steps towards promoting your mini personal brand and ensuring that employers and HR are always aware of your candidacy, and of your professionalism.
7) Get Interview Coaching (if you feel you need a boost in this area)
If you feel that you need interview coaching, make sure you contact your service provider about interview coaching. Remember, that most interviews are not technical in nature, but rather situational and behavioural. Employers are interested in the type of a person that you are and how you will fit in their organization.
Remember that you are applying to a job, which will see another 200 applicants with similar education and hard skills. What will make you stand out is your soft skills and they type of a person you are. Just like you are looking for an employer with a healthy and rewarding work culture, so the employer is looking for a positive contributor to their work culture and a return on their investment in you.