Your Job Search Tool Box

Your Job Search Tool Box

You find yourself in job search, either by your own choice or through necessity. If you are like most people that reach out to me when this happens, your obsession is with getting your resume’ updated. And, while that certainly is one of the steps you want and need to take, there are actually several others that are part of the process that many searchers overlook. A fully prepared job search has a number of items in their “job search tool box”. In fact there are nine different items that one should have as part of their kit. Those items, with no particular order of importance, are:

Marketing Plan
Personal Business Cards
Correspondence Letters (Cover Letter and Thank You Letter Formats)
Verbal Pitch
LinkedIn Profile (Marketing You and Your Abilities)
Available References
Target Companies
Positive Attitude

How familiar are you with all of these items? Are they all in your current job search tool box, and are they readily available to you if you need them? A brief comment on each:

Resume’– A good resume’ is one which makes it clear from the start who you are, the skills you possess and those things you have accomplished in your career that align to the job requirements. A resume’ is not a static document. It is one you can easily adapt with accomplishments you add and others you withdraw depending on the particular needs of the job for which you are applying.

Marketing Plan – A marketing plan while briefly summarizing who you have been, is very much pointed toward the future. It indicates the high level skills you bring, the type and names of companies where you seek to work and the geographic locations on which you are focusing. It is a one page document that you can share with others, that gives them an excellent snapshot as to the direction on which you are focused.

Personal Business Cards – Do you have business cards? Are they from the company from which you just left? Those are no longer of value to you. Are you someone who has not had business cards before? If you want to leave a way for those you meet to remember and be in contact with you, a card allows for that to happen in an easy and professional manner.

Correspondence Letters – When applying for a job, your resume’ is often accompanied by a brief letter introducing yourself. Even when there is not a direct job opening, nothing stops you from contacting companies introducing yourself and what you may be able to do for them. Once you have met with individuals and had conversations with them, a personally written thank you note as to what made the meeting special, will allow you to stand out from others pursuing employment with their company.

Verbal Pitch – While paper documents are important to you, you must first introduce yourself and establish a relationship with many you meet. Your ability to do so concisely in a 30 to 60 second introduction indicating who you are, what you do and more so, what makes you passionate about why you do it, helps to establish a bond that moves a relationship forward.

LinkedIn Profile – There is no escaping it. LinkedIn is the Number One Social Media business tool in existence in today’s market. Many companies and recruiters are using it extensively to identify candidates for their openings. To not be a part of LinkedIn, to not have a picture on your LinkedIn profile, or to have a profile that just lists where you work but that does not describe you, puts you at a disadvantage against those with whom you are competing for openings.

Available References – While you will not need your references until job interviews lead to offers, having those references lined up ahead of time is crucial. Make sure they are people who think and speak highly of you. Make sure to keep in contact with them during your search, particularly when you expect they may get a call to speak about you. Above all, look to help them with as much info as possible about the position(s) for which you have interviewed, and what was most important to those companies.

Target Companies – Is your search involved with only going after openings that are published? Big mistake. Many companies do not publish all of their openings. Some rely on referrals from their employees. Others may know they have the need for someone, but have been overwhelmed to the point they have not defined exactly what type of person they need. And, there are smaller companies of which few have heard, but opportunities do exist. The only way to connect with as many firms as possible is to TARGET COMPANIES and NOT CHASE OPENINGS.

Positive Attitude – Job search is not easy. In fact, it is a full time job itself. There will be times when the lack of progress will get a searcher down. That is where it becomes important to have a support system of job search buddies, identify the positive steps you have made for the past week, and continue to present yourself in the best light possible. (NOTE: Even if you believe you would never present yourself negatively in public, once those thoughts get into your mind, they are hard to completely mask).

Like any good practitioner there are tools of the trade. Job search is no different. Make sure to develop and continue to hone your tools both when in search and throughout your career.