The irony of job search advice: There’s so much out there you don’t have to spend more than four seconds Googling before you land on some nugget of wisdom or another. Yet, at the same time, there’s SO much available (some inevitably contradicts other advice you’ll find) that it can easily overwhelm you. This is, in fact, very likely the exact opposite outcome you were hoping for when you started looking for clever job finding advice. So let’s do this: Let’s boil things down to a short list of sound, timeless job searching tips that’ll help you fine-tune your strategy so that you get through the process with ease (or at least cut down on some of the unnecessary time and frustration).
When you apply for a job through an online application process, it’s very likely that your resume will first be screened by an applicant tracking system and then (assuming you make this first cut) a human might look at you. The first set of human eyes that review your resume are often those of a lower level HR person or recruiter, who may or may not understand all of the nuances of the job you’re applying for.
So, it’s to your advantage to make things as simple and as easy as possible for both the computer and the human to quickly connect their “Here’s what we need” to your “Here’s what I have to offer.”
Spend some time … take a close look at the job description. Do some research. Find anything the net has to offer in terms of information about the municipality and or the position. Make sure you mirror the words and phrases in the job description – but, of course, only if it is true. Showcase your strengths particularly in the areas that seem to be really important for this job. Make sure, wherever possible, that who you are and what you are capable of doing match up with what they need... again only if it is the truth!
Want your job search to go on and on and on…? Well, then continue to rely on the results of only submitting online applications. Or if you would rather get this puppy moving, don’t stop with just submitting an online application. Find, meet and ingratiate yourself to people working at the municipality you are interested in. Why not see if you can grab a coffee with some would-be coworkers? Approach someone in HR and ask a few questions. Get on the radar of the very people who might influence you getting an interview.
By getting to know (even casually) the people on the inside of the municipalities like Carleton Place, where you want to work, you will automatically set yourself apart. Decision makers most often interview people who come recommended or by way of a personal referral before they start sorting through a stack of resumes.
Yes, your new resume is lovely. Your LinkedIn profile, breathtaking. However, if they don’t strongly indicate that you are a direct match for a particular role that you want, don’t be afraid to modify wording, switch around key terms, and swap bullet points in and out. Your resume is NOT cast in stone, nor is your LinkedIn profile. Treat them as living, breathing documents throughout your job search (and career).
If you’re a passive rather than active job seeker, remember to turn off your activity broadcasts (within privacy and settings) when you make edits to your LinkedIn profile. If your current boss or colleagues are connected to you on LinkedIn, they may get suspicious about all the frequent changes.
Don’t get me wrong—it is imperative that you present yourself as polished, articulate, and professional throughout your job search. However, many people translate this into: MUST -BE -BORING.
Wrong, wrong, wrong. Realize that few people get hired because they had perfect white space on their cover letters, had all of the “correct” answers to interview questions down pat or used incredibly safe, PC phrases throughout their resumes. All of this correctness is going to make you look staged and non-genuine. Instead, give yourself permission to be both polished and endearing. Memorable, likable candidates are almost always the ones who go the distance.
Considering that more than 90% of recruiters use LinkedIn as their primary search tool, this is not an understatement. If you’re a professional and in the municipal sector (or want to be) , not only do you need to be on LinkedIn and registered on Logojo, you need to be using both to your full advantage. If you don’t believe me? Think about it this way: If tomorrow morning, a recruiter logs onto LinkedIn or Logojo who is looking for someone from your geographical location with your expertise and you’re not there? Guess who they’re going to find and contact? Yes, someone whose name and contact information shows up on the search list and it is definitely not going to be “YOU”!
If you don’t harness the power of any other social media tool for job search, figure there are two that are really IMPORTANT LinkedIn and Logojo … Logojo because it is THE specialty site for municipal government and LinkedIn because of its shear popularity and universal use. They are (by far) the best resources available today for municipal career and job search networking, for finding people working at municipalities of interest, and for positioning yourself to be found by a recruiter who has the job you are looking for.
I once placed a candidate into an engineering role with a municipality in western Canada. He was competing head-to-head with another engineer, who had similar talents and wanted the job just as badly. My candidate sent a well-thought-out thanks you that didn’t appear like a form letter to each person with whom he’d interviewed … and he did it within about two hours of leaving their offices. The second candidate sent nothing.
Guess why my candidate got the job offer? Yep, the thoughtful, non-robotic thank you notes. They sealed the deal for him, especially considering the other front-runner sent nothing.
Consider crafting, original, genuine thank you notes (one for each interviewer) the moment you get back to a computer, following the interview. Good timing with a personal touch, will make an impact.
And finally, remember that people care much more about what you can do for them than what you what you hope to get from the deal. Sure they will care a whole lot once you have the job and are proving your worth. But during the interview, you’ve got to make it clear why it makes great business sense to hire you.
Now, get out there and show your job search who the boss is!