Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What Job Seekers Need to Know... and Do

by Kelly Kilpatrick, guest contributor

Job hunting is a kind of job -- the job of finding the perfect job to suit your skills and temperament. You must go about it with a strategy that’s designed to work. While most of us are talented at doing what’s assigned to us, we often fall short when it comes to using our creativity and innate skills to find work we want as opposed to work we're forced to do in order to earn a livelihood.

With the economic downturn and the financial tangles snaking across the globe and having far-reaching consequences, finding a good job is not the piece of cake it was a year ago. If you’ve already laid the right job search foundation (you have a professional network in place, you have a strong resume, you're in the know about potential employers, and you're primed for job interviews), you're good to start job hunting. If you haven't laid that foundation, then get started with these tips:

1. Networking nets jobs. The more people you know and remain on good terms with, the more likely are your chances of landing a new job when you need one. The bigger your network of professional people, the more contacts you have inside the industry, and the more people you can ask for a job recommendation. Most employers tend to hire people who come highly recommended by existing valued employees. So pull out your contact list and call in those long-owed favors when it really matters the most. The more lines you throw out, the more fish you’re likely to reel in.

2. Resumes make the first impression. Your resume is what your prospective employer sees before he/she gets to meet the real deal. While embellishments are not in order, it’s advisable to make your resume reflect your achievements rather than simply job descriptions. The more recent your favorable exploits, the better they look on paper. Make sure your resume is e-friendly. It must be suited to the electronic format if you’re uploading to job sites where employers run keyword searches.

3. Research is extremely important. Know the kind of companies you’re targeting, know what kind of employees they’re looking for, and use the keywords they would be searching for in your resume. This technique grabs their attention, but what actually holds their attention is the substance of your resume, which is why I emphasize listing your achievements on your resume.

This post was contributed by Kelly Kilpatrick, who writes on the subject of criminal justice jobs. She invites your feedback.

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