Photo: Steve Snodgrass via Flickr
It’s a situation facing many people: even though you have experience, you’re still struggling to get a job, let alone a single interview.Even though the economy is improving and there are increased job openings, gone are the days when simply submitting your cover letter and resume will result in HR knocking on your door for an interview.
Job seekers need to be a lot more proactive and strategic with who and how they network to ensure they stay top-of-mind to not only hiring managers, but also to people within their own personal networks who can lend a job-filled hand.
Below are five reasons why you’re probably not getting noticed along with suggestions on how to not only improve your chances, but also connect you to the job you actually want.
1. You hang out on job boards all day
Job boards are basically black holes that generate in thousands of resumes, but rarely result in an actual response. While job boards can be a solid start to find out what kinds of jobs are out there and what companies are hiring, rather than spend the time online copying and pasting your resume, check to see if anyone within your personal network works at the company you’re interested in or if they know someone that works at that company. Being referred in to a company or even directly to HR is a more valuable introduction and can provide the company’s hiring manager much more context around your skills and work ethic than any job board could.
2. You burned your bridges
Severing ties with past colleagues and even the company as a whole robs you of the opportunity to be introduced to additional people, job opportunities or even the chance of being rehired. That said, not all is lost. Check to see if your company has a private alumni network or a group on LinkedIn that you could join. In fact, many companies understand that rehired employees are often higher quality talent and are known to stay with the company longer. Rehires have a significant advantage over other experienced hires since the company is already familiar with you and you are well versed in the core values of the business. Staying connected and engaged with your past companies keeps you “within the family” and can push you to the top of the list should you decide you would like to return or if HR has an open position relevant to your skill set.
3. You’re being anti-social
Social networks, like LinkedIn and Facebook, are filled with recruiters and headhunters who spend their days looking for candidates. Taking your job hunt to these channels can lead to more job opportunities, as people increasingly share information about open positions or can refer you to contacts that you ID within their network. Additionally, people within your personal network – whether they’re from past jobs, college or your running group – are likely spending more and more time on social networks. Put some meaning behind your social networking by staying connected to people within your network and reaching out to new connections, it will keep your name top-of-mind and will increase the potential for being referred or sought after.
4. You have never looked in the Web mirror
It’s a no brainer that you should probably clean up your Facebook photos before you even think about sending out your resume. However, it’s not uncommon that hiring managers will Google the name of any candidate whose resume catches their eye to not only double-check for consistency, but also to get a more thorough “snapshot” of how you would fit within the organisation, professionally and personally. While the resume will always be a key element that hiring managers will review, your search returns, online presence and activity are also a key reflection of the type of employee you will be. There is a huge opportunity to position yourself as an expert in your field through your online profiles. Posting thoughtful and consistent updates along with sharpening up all of your personal descriptions will ensure hiring managers can see a comprehensive summary of your experience and skills and get a good idea of how your expertise will complement the company.
5. You haven’t asked
Chances are your network is a lot larger than you think it is and the majority of your connections have an open job within their company. Even if your network is a small number, asking your contacts about a specific job opening within their company or asking for an introduction to someone within their network can significantly increase your chances to be referred for a position. Additionally, more companies are also shifting their recruiting strategies to encourage employee referrals and are rewarding employees who refer hired talent, so it’s to their benefit as well to help you out. The world really does operate by the mantra “six degrees to Kevin Bacon” – asking people within your network if they can refer you when relevant job positions open up or to introduce you to their contacts can produce successful results.
Other things could be hurting your chances too, like these 10 job search mistakes most people make >>
This article has been prepared for Business Insider and printed with permission from Lewis Global Communications.
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