Summer’s Winding Down: Time to Jump-Start Your Job Search

Photo (cc) by deanmeyersnet

You’re unemployed, underemployed or just want a change, but you slacked off on your search as the summer wore on. You would not be alone, if this is the case. It’s not the easiest time to job hunt.

But Labor Day is just around the corner. Which means people will soon be coming back to their desks, answering their email and, presumably, hiring.

Here are some ways to spring back into action and get the job you want.

1. Revise your resume

According to Money Talks News’ “12 Tips to Build a Resume That Will Get You Hired,” make sure your resume reflects specific skills and paybacks you brought to your last few jobs.

Numbers are very important. More than ever, employers want concrete measures of your contributions. Do your best to quantify what you did, whether that means how you helped increase profits, expand the customer base, increase efficiency or otherwise boost productivity.

There are many sites offering advice on updating your resume. Among the most useful are LinkedIn, Lifehacker.com and Update-Your-Resume.com.

Many recommend reconstruction either by skill or chronologically. If you have been out of the market for a long time, skill-based resumes are probably the way to go.

There are also numerous online services that offer to update your resume or proofread it for a fee. To me, these seem like a waste, unless you are in a morass. However, you should show your resume to someone, a friend or someone in your field of work, for feedback. They are likely to catch things that you have missed, such as typos or issues with your approach.

2. Post your resume

In “The Key to Getting Your Resume Noticed,” MTN’s Karla Bowsher offers tips for posting your resume online.

Most online resumes are read using applicant tracking systems (ATS). An ATS looks for keywords that make your resume stand out.

According to Forbes, to find the best keywords for the job you want:

“Analyze your resume against the job description. For each job requirement, write down whether you meet, partially meet or don’t meet that requirement.

Customize and keyword your resume. For every requirement you meet, you should explain you have that skill, experience or education. Use the same words in your resume used in the job posting when you describe your “proof” of how you meet a requirement, so you’ll increase a higher keyword ranking in the ATS.

Add a “Skills Summary” section near the top of your resume. This not only helps draw a recruiter or hiring manager’s eyes to your best qualities, it will also help your ATS keyword ranking.

Test your key-wording savvy. Take advantage of new tools for job seekers, such as Jobscan, which helps candidates analyze how well their resume matches a job posting.”

3. Network, network, network

Many people you might have wanted to meet or approach with your job-hunting goals were sunning or traveling over the summer. Well guess what? They’re back!

According to The Daily Recruiter, get started as soon as possible: Don’t wait until you’re desperate. “If you only appear on the scene when you need something, experienced networkers and businesspeople will be able to sense your desperation and expediency so will be less willing to network with you,” the site says.

Veteran Career Counseling Services also emphasizes the importance of networking. Companies would rather hire someone that a person within their organization knows than “someone right off the street that they are totally unfamiliar with,” they say.

You should also contact people individually and not en masse, according to U.S. News & World Report. Though it takes more work, people are more inclined to respond if you contact them individually.

U.S. News also recommends being specific as to what you are looking for and your chief qualifications, as too many people leave things open for interpretation. Don’t use statements like “Let me know if you hear of anything.”

These days, most people will turn to social media to do at least some of their networking. If you want to see what MTN suggests you shouldn’t do when taking this route, see “Using Social Networking to Land a Job? 4 Things Not to Do.

4. Communicate directly with the hiring manager

Very frequently, the jobs you see posted or hear about are put out there by a recruiter, not the person doing the hiring.

According to Careerealism, there are several ways to find the real deal. They include: Ask the receptionist at the company where the job is offered; ask to be directed to the HR department; and find a listing of senior management.

But social media had created less-obvious and more-sophisticated methods; and as counter-intuitive as it seems: Try to bypass recruiters.

Liz Ryan is founder of humanworkplace.com and writes for numerous publications, including the Huffington Post, Business Week, LinkedIn, the Harvard Business Review, the Denver Post and Forbes.com.

One of the ways Ryan recommends to bypass recruiters is by using LinkedIn (basic membership is free). This critical portal allows you to avoid “the Black Hole recruiting portal completely,” according to Ryan. Here is an annotated version of her methodology:

Navigate to the Advanced People Search page and find and click on “Advanced.” On the left side of the page put the name of the company you are searching for into your search and start trying job titles. For example:

“If you’re a Purchasing Agent, your hiring manager will be called Materials Manager, Purchasing Manager, Procurement Manager, Supply Chain Manager or Operations Manager. Try all those titles in subsequent searches, and then try the same titles with Director in the place of Manager, and try VP as well if you want to.”

You may end up finding the hiring manager and still be directed to first speak to the recruiter, whose job it is to narrow the field of applicants. Still, it’s worth a try, and at very least you may get credit for being resourceful.

If you have thoughts to share on rebooting a job search please post on our Facebook page.

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