Forget fancy, focus on the fundamentals in your job search


If you’ve ever conducted a job search, no doubt you’ve encountered plenty of information that looked or sounded super slick. There’s a ton of advice on the topic and each day more and more experts pop up to share their version of the latest and greatest way to find a job. It all sounds fantastic, fun and fancy until you realize much of it is just a bunch of fluff.

When interacting with job seekers, I almost always spot the ones who have a tendency to go to extremes. On one side, you have the people who meander their way around, never really giving their job search their full attention or taking it as seriously as they say they do. At the other end of the spectrum are the people who latch on to every single piece of advice as if doing so will magically produce multiple dream job offers. Unfortunately, neither type of job seeker really makes the right kind of progress.

Even if you are an exceptional performer in your field, that doesn’t mean you are an expert in preparing an effective campaign related to pursuing a new opportunity. Sometimes, it makes sense to outsource things beyond your ability to someone with more specialized knowledge. It’s far less painful to seek legitimate help than to embarrass yourself through trial and error or getting caught up in habits that hurt your image.

The people who do “get it” usually skip the shiny shenanigans and buckle down for the old-fashioned basics. Here are few job search concepts that I try to help people keep in mind regardless of their career level.

Tip 1: Take the process seriously and allocate proper time, effort, energy and financial resource investments accordingly

There are no short-cuts, nor should you short-change yourself by expecting something for nothing. Getting the basics right from the start will make the job search process much more tolerable and productive. For example, despite countless catchy articles proclaiming the “death of the resume” they are still the most widely accepted and expected tool to convey information to prospective employers. Having a relevant, concisely written, error-free, achievement-focused resume is crucial to communicate one’s professional credibility and credentials.

Tip 2: Research, assess and understand your target audience and adapt your strategy, approach and customized communications (online, on paper & in person) to create the best possible impression

The most obvious sign of a person who naively follows rudimentary job search advice is that their resume, LinkedIn profile, business bio or verbal introduction looks, reads and sounds like everyone else’s. Stale, cliché phrases and repetitive, redundant vocabulary is evident from the first syllable and generously deposited throughout their career marketing communications, making the recipient feel as if they’ve seen the same message over and over. That’s because they probably have already viewed plenty of professional positioning statements describing a results-oriented, team-player with a successful track-record of expertise as a seasoned professional with 17+ years experience as an experienced, expert superstar professional. Trust me, unless you are trying to convey blah, bland and boring, your content needs to compelling and pertinent to get and keep someone’s attention.

Tip 3: Scrutinize each and every available source of information, search technique and piece of advice to ensure it makes sense for your unique situation versus following generic practices that might cause more harm than good

When I have more in depth conversations with people, they often share with me what they’ve been doing, what ideas they’ve tried and what they think is or isn’t working. Right away, it is evident when someone has been steered down the wrong path for their specific needs. They often react to my guidance and clarification with “wow, I hadn’t thought of that” or “that is a great idea and it makes perfect sense” or “thanks for letting me know how that might work against me, I won’t let that happen again.”

If you or someone you know is struggling in your job search, think about whether making some changes might help. Many job search service providers offer no cost, no pressure, no obligation initial consultations to prospective clients and those researching various support options. Put those external resources to use and learn how to decode the right blend of intelligent job search methodology for your unique circumstances.

Article by Kelly Blokdijk ~ As a Talent Optimization Coach & Consultant with TalentTalks, Kelly thrives on “Creating a Voice for Talent” by partnering with business professionals and job seekers to build competitive career marketing strategies, customized communication materials and compelling personal branding campaigns to create a lasting positive impression. TalentTalks consults with the business community on innovative, leading-edge human resource and organization development initiatives to enhance talent management, talent acquisition, corporate communications and employee engagement programs. TalentTalks routinely posts employment market and job search related content on Facebook and Twitter – fans and followers welcome!

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