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How to get yourself to the top of the list on your next job search

Fri, 11/09/2012 - 4:26pm | by Helen Hoart

If it’s time find a new job, the age of the internet has made it a lot easier.  But that doesn’t mean you can just jump into your job search without laying the proper foundation.

First, even before you update your resume, do a self-audit.  Here’s where you will list all the plusses and minuses about yourself.  Don’t worry.  You don’t have to share it with anyone.  But it will give you a sense of the type of job and type of company where you will you succeed. Here are the type of questions to ask yourself.  

  • What unique skills and experiences do I have?
  • What do I value more than anything else? This applies to both your work-life and personal life. 
  • What do I love and what don’t I love about my current job, company, and the culture?
  • What’s my style?  Collaborative? Prefer working alone? Early bird? Night owl?   Ask six friends to give you ten words each that describe you.
  • What do I excel at but prefer not to do?
  • What really motivates me?

When you finish your self-audit, list your hiring “assets.”  These are your skills and capabilities.  The software programs you know or languages you speak.  

Accomplishments: The next step of your self-assessment is to detail your accomplishments.  If you’re just beginning your career, don’t be afraid to list school and volunteer accomplishments. Example: I organized a 5K charity race that raised $1,500. If you’ve been in your career for a while make sure can quantify your accomplishments.  Example:  I researched, identified and implemented a new employee reporting system that boosted employee compliance 37% and saved the company $23,000 annually.

Now it’s time to assess the type of company you want to be part of.  If you have a real entrepreneurial bent, you want to avoid companies that are heavily corporate and hierarchical.  Would you feel most comfortable in a small company? Or does a large company appeal to you more? Privately owned or a public company?

When your write your resume, remember companies are looking for results.  Make sure you include action words when describing your duties.  Quantify your results.  Seed you resume with your list of accomplishments.  And don’t forget to have a well-written, thoughtful LinkedIn profile. 

Remember to fill your resume with keywords that will allow your resume to bubble to the top when employers search resumes on online job sites or in their own corporate databases.

The Job Search:   Searching for jobs is much easier these days thanks to online job posting. There are several free ones but you might want to take advantage of some of the paid services. The paid services are working for you not the employer and have thousands of jobs available.  Some of the paid services offer a free trial so you can find out if they have the jobs that are right for you.  Also go to your contacts list and get the word out that you’re looking for a job. Prospective employers look favorably on candidates recommended by an employee.

When you’ve taken the time to lay the foundation for your job search and crafted a compelling, results driven resume, you will place yourself at the top of list when you interview for your next job.

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