If you’re on the hunt for a new position, you know how important a job search toolkit is to your success. Key components include updated documents (resume, cover letters, etc.), a polished online profile and an extensive professional network. These pieces work together to give you the best shot at landing your next role. However, you shouldn’t wait until you’re actively seeking a job to update your job search toolkit.
As you move through your career, your responsibilities and goals evolve over time. Your toolkit should reflect those changes as they happen. Maintaining an up-to-date toolkit ensures that when the time comes, you’ll have everything you need to move forward.
To set yourself up for success, schedule quarterly check-ins to review the components of your job search toolkit. Start by updating the following five components:
You’ve read all the blogs out there telling you that recruiters take about 6 seconds to scan a resume before tossing it in the yes or no pile. Your resume is a critical document and it must stand out. With all the content written about resumes, the truth is, not much has changed. Other than trading in an objective statement for a profile summary, resumes have continued to follow the same format over the years. Active verbs should start your bullet points and quantifiable results of your work should always be included. There’s no need to recreate the wheel, you just have to make the wheel your own. LiveCareer.com’s resume builder allows you to do just that. They have 27 gorgeous templates to choose from and they even offer suggested bullet points based on your job title. While the bullets may not be an exact fit, they can be an amazing source of inspiration from which to model the ones you create.
LinkedIn has become the number one place to network with other professionals. It’s also a trusted resource for recruiters. Your profile is just as important as your resume. But if you think you can just copy the content from your resume, think again. While your resume is more responsibility and results focused, your LinkedIn profile has to clearly communicate your value proposition. You could spend hours reading all there is online about creating a compelling LinkedIn profile. Pretty daunting right? Don’t worry we have good news for you. Our friends at Zety.com have put together the most comprehensive guide to optimizing your Linkedin profile you could ask for. All the information comes directly from the people at LinkedIn so you know you can trust all the information inside.
There’s no way around it. Your networking skills have to be sharp. In today’s fast-paced world, about 80% of jobs are filled through networking. Often times the job opening isn’t even posted online. Networking, while sometimes viewed as a means to an end, is actually something that you should be doing all the time. There are three tiers of networking you should become well-versed in: accidental networking, active networking when you’re trying to network your way past the job posting and general networking for information and building your contacts. Click on the links to find out how to perfect your approach to all three!
Cover letters are not going away. Whatever form it takes, whether as a formal communication or as part of an introductory email to a potential employer, it’s critical to get it right. Abandon the standard “To whom it may concern” and really aim to grab the reader’s attention. Your cover letter should tell a story. It should explain why you’re excited about the position as well as the company. Additionally, it should illustrate what your value proposition is. If you can infuse some humor in there, you’ve hit the jackpot. For instance, if you’re submitting yourself to an ad agency, maybe you open with what you love about a commercial or with a story of the first time you realized how powerful ads were and how you became obsessed with them as a child. Think of it this way, if you were the reader, would that letter stand out to you? Take a look here for some inspiration.
Thank You Notes:
Just like your cover letter, these aren’t going anywhere either. While they may seem to be more of a formality, they can still be very impactful. This is your opportunity to remind an interviewer of the connection you made during your time together, so don’t waste it! Make sure your thank you notes aren’t keeping you from getting the job you want!