Ten Things Job Seekers Must Do in 2012

by Rich DeMatteo on January 4, 2012 · 11 comments

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Yesterday I read a post over on Life Without Pants that provided some much needed inspiration for today’s COTJ piece.  The post is titled, “10 Things You Must Do to Make 2012 The Best Year Ever“.   Go now or later, but definitely stop by and read it.

Let’s jump right into it!

1.  Increase Your Time Spent on Linkedin:  If you don’t have time, then minimize your trips to Facebook.  I’m almost certain that some people spend 10-15 hours per week just on Facebook.  That’s sickening, but I’m close to 20 hours per week, so no worries.

Make quality connections on Linkedin and set goals as to how many new requests you’ll send per week.  More targeted connections on Linkedin will result in more open doors for now and also in the future.

Here’s a beginner’s guide that I created.

2. Stop Applying to Every Job:  Applying to every damn thing you see is the wrong approach.  It’s easy for recruiters to tell that you are just taking a stab in the dark.  When you’re passionate about a job and/0r determined to gain a position in a specific field/industry, it shines through like you wouldn’t believe.  Focus in on a few specific job types to apply to.

3.  Ask For Help:  You’re not alone and help is easy to come by.  If you’ve been unemployed for longer than 6 months, chances are that you need to change things up, refocus, and/or hire professional help.  A Career Coach can do amazing things for your job search.

4.  Learn a New Skill:  Find a class or certification that’s relatively inexpensive.  While learning something new, you’ll end up boosting your resume and meeting new people that could potentially help you find a job.

5.  Refresh Your Resume:  Start over!  Research new formats to use and look for ways to spice up your content.  Keep the original so that you can copy information over, but it’s time for a facelift!

6.  Change Your Routine:  Start going to a different coffee house.  Walk/Run a different route.  Get a week free pass at a different gym.  Do things a little different for a while.  You may meet some new and interesting people.

7.  Pick Up The Phone:  While #1 points to spending ample time on Linkedin, job seekers must learn to take online connections offline as soon as possible.  Conversations online build connections.  Conversations offline build trust.

8.  Blog:  Social Media usage has seen tremendous increases across all demographics over the last few years.  More than ever, company recruiters are utilizing social networks to connect with and also learn about job seekers.  “Hire Me” campaigns were huge in 2011, and I envision them becoming more common and more creative in 2012.  Starting a blog for your industry will help you make tons of connections, while also furthering yourself as a thought leader.

9.  Set a Job Search Schedule: I don’t believe that a job search should be 40 hours per week, but I do believe it should be scheduled.  Schedule time Monday through Friday for your job search. This helps ensure that you don’t burn out and spend far too much time looking for jobs/applying.   Outside of your schedule, try to relax and get away from your search as much as possible.  It’s critical to recharge your batteries before the next day.

10:  Do Something “Weird” To Stand Out:  During long periods of unemployment, it should be obvious that something needs to change.  If you really are qualified for the jobs you’ve applied for, then what has gone wrong?  My guess is that companies are drowning in resumes and can’t find you.

Some people didn’t like this suggestion, but maybe you send your resume in a big empty box and have it delivered to HR.  Maybe you hand out resumes in rush hour traffic.  Maybe you create business cards for your job search and scatter them all over a parking lot.  While 99 people might absolutely hate these ideas,  all you really need is 1 person to think it’s genius.  You just have to like those odds!

What are your job search goals for 2012?  Would you change any of my suggestions?

 

 

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11 comments
WATRL
WATRL

It's worth "knowing thyne enemy", too - although, referring to a prospective employer as an enemy is probably a bad thing! What I mean is, know what you're putting yourself up for - look at http://www.whataretheyreallylike.com and other such sites to get the background of a company.

Brenda
Brenda

What does it really mean when an employer tells you you are "over qualified" and does it make sense? Before I was laid off in 2009 I was always hiriable and since then I have been told countless amounts of times that I am over-qualified. I think it's wrong and who cares of I am over qualified it's my choice to apply for the job and it's because I know I can do it well.

Karen Siwak
Karen Siwak

Something to add to your list: Research the competition. You can't have a strategy for standing out from the crowd until you know how the people you are competing with for jobs are marketing themselves.

Lee Silverstein
Lee Silverstein

Excellent advice Rich. The importance of learning a new skill can't be emphasized enough, especially for the "baby boomer" crowd. This is one of the best ways to allay the concerns about being branded as "old." Do you truly know the "ins and outs" of Linkedin? Are you using Google+? Do you know what Pinterest is? If you don't, then take the time to learn. It will do nothing, but help you in landing a new career.

louise mason
louise mason

I'm also finding a similar thing to Brett, I am putting so much effort into my interview research and I feel like i am providing a free consultation service at 2nd interview stages by producing marketing strategy presentations and campaign critiques and not getting the job but get the feeling they are using my ideas! More and more companies seem to be asking for 2nd stage task that take so long to prepare that i seem to run out of time to search for the next job to apply for and the next contacts to make.

Kay
Kay

An excellent article. As a 20 executive recruiter I always suggest having a new set of eyes review your resume from time to time. You would not believe all the typos (there/their for example) candidates do not catch themselves. Have a friend proof it for you from time to time. Also, only apply for jobs for which you are qualified. A tiny bit of stretch is OK, but when we are looking at 100's of resumes each week, I expect to open resumes that are a fit for a job posting. Good luck everyone.

Jessie Spielvogel
Jessie Spielvogel

Increase your online presence and personal branding by blogging, tweeting, sharing articles, commenting on articles, linking to posts in your own blog, etc. Also, attend a meet up group with people who work in your field! meetup.com has lots of great "networking" opportunities, and attending these types of events are actually how I've landed my last two positions! Thanks for sharing this list :)

Harrison
Harrison

The great thing is, everything you've listed above actually works. Especially #1 ... what would I do without my LinkedIn. It's been such a great tool and I will always swear by it. #8 for me has begun to work much more effectively as time goes on. I'm meeting people I wouldn't have otherwise got a chance to meet through my writing on blog. And with #10, I was actually able to utilize Couchsurfing to network & connect with someone in a company I look forward to getting into. It's all about finding "unconventional, creative" methods to seek out contacts.

Andy Von Kennel
Andy Von Kennel

Focus on what you CAN do...not just what you have done. And do it with confidence.

Matt Cheuvront
Matt Cheuvront

Great advice (and thanks for the shout-out). Two things that I MOST agree with: 1) Blog, or put yourself out there in some way. I attribute 100% of my initial success (and even where I am today) to putting myself out there and starting Life Without Pants. Building a community of support and focusing on networking pays dividends. 2) Stop applying for everything. I was guilty of this, and I think some always will be based on necessity and desperation of needing to pay the bills - but - the sooner you can move away from this, the better. Even if it means picking up a retail gig on the side to cover the essentials, your REAL job search efforts MUST be highly targeted. We're currently looking to grow the team at Proof a bit, and more than anything, even tangible skills, genuine interest, excitement, and passion matters the most. PS. I miss you.

Brett Davis
Brett Davis

Great ideas Rich. However, one issue I noticed stuck out in my selective interviewing in 2011 was that of cherry-picking ideas from candidates, then deciding not to fill the position. Basically, businesses (such as GNC in Pittsburgh among others) are bringing in executive candidates, asking them consultant-specific questions, implementing the ideas then never filling the position. In the case of GNC, I know this to be accurate as I interviewed their in mid 2011 and have several close friends on the inside in different departments who verified that several detailed ideas I offered were implemented almost word for word.