1. Cover Letter
You MUST have one. It must be professionally written and reinforce your experience and value proposition to the hiring company. It needs to be to the point and precise. In today’s market your cover letter is what will either get your resume additional consideration or the fast track to the “Do Not Call” list. The cover letter is you being able to speak to the potential employer and tell them why they should hire you versus your competition. Not having a cover letter or a less than perfect cover letter will put you at a distinct disadvantage in today’s job market.
Is you resume up to date, is it correctly and consistently formatted, does it have key points? Most of all is the spelling correct and the punctuation? Are you reviewing your own resume? If so, have a friend or family member conduct a “Resume Stress Test” for errors and areas for improvement. Ideally, have a professional resume writer create for you a resume from your career experience. With the vast amount of resumes being submitted for open positions, yours has to be outstanding! Get professional help from a resume writer. Recruiters will only give about 10 seconds to scan your resume; do your key points stand out, does it call attention to the main points of what you can do for the company? Does it have the proper structure to keep the attention of the recruiter?
The first step as in anything is to be prepared, just like preparing for an exam. Also, consider the following questions to focus your preparation; What jobs are you looking for? Do you know where to search and find the job that you want? Once you decided the direction you are going, have you studied the companies that lead in that industry? Don�t do just a Google search; you need to be well prepared and ready. For example, if it’s a retail company, visit a few of their stores, observe the customers, and even strike up a few conversations. Talk to existing employees–ask them what it’s like working there. Become familiar with the history of the company. Who started it? Where? Who runs it now? Be creative, and do whatever you believe the other candidates don’t have the guts to do.
Companies tend nowadays to rely heavily on employee referrals. Make a list of all of your friends, relatives, and acquaintances. Call each one and ask them if they know of any openings that they could recommend you for. Be prepared to send them an expertly prepared resume. Do not be too humble, tell them what you are looking for, but let them know that you’re flexible and that if they have any suggestions, you’re open to them. A referral name can often open the door and allow you to step in and get a job before it is advertised.
5. Prepare for the Interview
You need to be ready to give solid answers to interviewer questions when asked. Candidates should begin interview preparation well before an interview is scheduled just take a list of 20 common interview questions and start preparing responses. Then practice with a friend you as the candidate and them as the interviewer. Record your mock interview and improve your responses. Don’t wait to start this preparation! Job seekers can complete interview preparation within 2-weeks for those 20 basic interview questions. Now with interview preparation complete, candidates should be confident and be able to control an interview. Continue with general interview preparation until a real interview is scheduled then just focus preparation on the specific job opportunity and company.
Follow these five steps and you’ll accelerate your job search. You’ll quickly find work even in the worst economy in the last 25 years.