3 Job Search Game Changers

At the start of The Hunger Games, Katniss finds herself on a pedestal looking out upon a massive cornucopia filled with weapons and resources. All around her stand competitors with the same goal in mind. The countdown timer runs to zero, a noise signaling the start of the games sounds throughout the arena, and everyone runs towards the cornucopia. If you've read the book or seen the movie, you know what happens next: a bloodbath. Related: How Bright is Your Beacon? When you conduct a job search in the "usual" way, you are signing up for a fight like this. No edge, no advantage. This is what results in needlessly extended search times and accepting an offer not because it advances your career, but because you simply want it to be over.


Here Are 3 Tips That Will Transform Your Search:

1. The Reverse Engineered Resume

Most job seekers take one of two approaches to their resume: a sparse recounting of positions they’ve held, or a lengthy summarization of every aspect of their career. Neither one does you any favors. Your future employer is already telling you what to include within your resume in the job posting. The key to positioning yourself as a highly qualified candidate is to work backwards from the posting. Create a 4-5 line “Summary Statement” at the start of the resume that’s precisely targeted towards the job you want to land. For example, if the posting calls for a senior Media exec who has experience in developing specialized market strategies for new products, building and training high-performance teams, and maximizing existing models while developing alternate revenue opportunities, then these are the aspects you need to focus on here (assuming you have them, of course). Focus on what you do that delivers maximum VALUE and ROI for companies. Make a list of major responsibilities that are called out in job postings you’re interested in, and integrate them within a “Core Competencies” section at the start of the resume. For example, a media exec could have terms like Strategic Partnerships, Product Launch, and Brand Development within this section. Effective keyword integration will help your resume pass scanning by Applicant Tracking Systems. Expert tip: for greater keyword accuracy, run a search on LinkedIn for professionals who hold the position you're after and check out the "Skills" section of their profile. Allocate most of the space within your resume to positions that directly support your fit for a targeted position. Each job should describe the scope of your responsibilities and provide some bulleted accomplishments. Concrete metrics are crucial- the more you have, the more credible you seem. Non-relevant positions can be briefly summarized. If you’ve received a glowing recommendation that touches upon some of the qualities you need to communicate within the resume, include an excerpt! Ten words spoken on your behalf holds more weight than 100 words spoken by you.

2. The Preemptive Reference

Imagine this: a company you want to work for has just called you in for an interview. At this stage, they're probably reaching out to several other candidates, and are in the process of figuring out the structure of these interactions: how to gauge fit for the role, and so on. Now, what if the phone rings in the hiring manager's office and someone recommends you without being asked? This is way beyond providing a reference- this is a personal endorsement. And it carries enormous weight. If you have someone who is willing to step up in this way for you, it's time to use it. If they're somehow connected to the company, so much the better, but it's not necessary for this approach to be successful. Just be sure to pass it forward the next time you're asked to be a reference- preemptively recommend someone and help them land a great job that much sooner!

3. The 30-60-90 Day Plan

A company is looking for answers to the following when interviewing you:
  • Do you understand what the job entails?
  • Are you qualified for the job?
  • Will you perform the job effectively if given a chance?
When you create a 30-60-90 day plan and lead off with it during an interview, you immediately differentiate yourself by answering all three questions. It’s not just about doing some extra legwork to show initiative, but sending a message that you are committed to this role at this company, and are unafraid to get into the nitty-gritty to prove your worth. End result? An interview becomes a working meeting, and your prospective employer starts to look at you as a member of the team.

Here Are Some Tips For Developing A 30-60-90 Day Plan:

The Plan must be customized and geared towards a specific employer. Something generic won’t work and will probably backfire during an interview. Do your homework to identify the major strategic initiatives of the organization, and where they intersect with the job. Places to begin research: corporate website, Google, Twitter, company’s LinkedIn, and recent media coverage of the company. Expert tip: your local library can handle research requests on your behalf, sometimes in as little as 24 hours. Tap into this! Identify specific deliverables within your Plan and show how they align with the company's strategic objectives. You can include a scorecard in the form of a task list so your success can be measured (and ultimately proven). Bonus points for creating discrete themes for each Plan stage. This will bring an added level of clarity and impact to your presentation.

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About the author

Anish Majumdar, CEO of ResumeOrbit.com is an executive resume writer, LinkedIn expert, and interview coach. He has helped thousands of job seekers land 6 and 7-figure positions through strong career platforms and breakthrough search strategies. His articles have appeared in leading industry publications and some of the most influential career advice websites today. Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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