We all make decisions and plans based upon our own experiences, good or bad. If something worked in the past, it’s only natural to assume it will work again. Life is change, though, and before embarking on a critical activity, it’s always best to revisit your assumptions—what worked well before may not anymore.
This is especially true in the job search arena, where the rise of the internet and its own constantly changing resources has rendered many conventional job hunting techniques obsolete. Here five job hunting techniques you may have used in the past that are outdated.
1. Mass-Mailing Your Resume
This is a proven waste of time and resources. Resumes that aren’t tailored for and targeted to a specific job are considered and treated as junk mail. This also includes emailed resumes, which are often treated as spam. “Resume spamming is becoming an increasing burden for companies, taxing and straining their technological capabilities,” notes the venerable national recruiting firm FPC. “92 percent of the companies polled reported being flooded with ‘hundreds’ of irrelevant responses to job postings. Even if your resume makes it into a company’s database, it could remain there among the hundreds of other resumes without ever being seen.”
2. Using Just One Resume
A well-written, generic resume focused on a particular industry or occupation was standard fare back when it was a job-seeker’s market. You’d write a compelling cover letter addressed to the Human Resources person or the hiring manager. This doesn’t work in today’s job market. The best of resumes are focused on one job and preceded by your doing your homework: find out all you can about the position, the company and its goals and operations and focus your resume towards those.
3. Focusing Your Resume on Yourself
Not so long ago, resumes ideally emphasized not only job skills, work experience and education, but also personal qualities and goals. This is what national recruiter Wayne Richardson calls a “Me-Focused” resume” He notes that most resumes are “telling, not selling.” Today’s successful resume highlights the experience and benefits you as a job seeker can bring to company.
4. Using Just One Internet-based Job Search Board
Yes and no. All job engines are no longer created equal. Where before there were just a few job search engines, now there are many. They’re divided into job boards, such as Glassdoor.com, and job board aggregators, such as Indeed.com. The aggregators have more jobs than the job boards, and pull from multiple sources. No matter how finely you hone your job query, you’ll probably be presented with duplicate jobs by an aggregator. But the aggregators are free. Their revenue comes not from subscriptions but from advertising. Using the one of your choice will save you time, money and present you with all available openings to cull through.
5. Leaning Entirely on LinkedIn
With 175 million members, Linkedin is certainly a vital and sophisticated employment resource for any professional. Even if you’re not currently looking for a job, it’s a superb way of building an expanding network of contacts throughout your profession. However, there’s a vast and often unused internet job hunting resource on the Internet, lumped under the social media category.
As Forbes magazine points out, social media has become “A Must-Have Strategy In Your Job Search.” Employers are increasingly reaching out to prospective employees through on-line social media giants like Facebook and Twitter. Some suggestions for job seekers to come out of a recent meeting of DirectHire, a worldwide employers’ association, included such items as having a professional headshot on your social media site, making professional, job-related postings and using Facebook’s privacy settings for anything on your timeline you wouldn’t want an employer to see. The same vigilance should extend to reviewing your old Twitter tweets and deleting as needed. Blogging online and providing curated content to websites helps mark you as an engaged, knowledgeable professional.
Also, keep tabs on your online reputation. Periodically query your name and see what emerges. Humans age; data is deathless. For example, you may have moved on and up from a long ago minor arrest, but unknown to you, your mug shot’s online, courtesy of entrepreneurs who aggregate such public information. Sometimes you can have deleterious internet data removed, but only if you know it’s there. (If it turns up anyway in a preemployment background check, you’ll at least be prepared to discuss it and overcome objections.)
Carefully researching and readying your best job hunting methods is a lot of work, but it will save you time, spare you frustration and help you get the best job in the least amount of time.