Friday, January 1, 2010

Want better results? Run your job search like a PR campaign

It’s not exactly a news flash, but the strategies for a successful job hunt have changed considerably over the past several years—and possibly forever.

Like it or not, getting in front of the right audience for your search has become the equivalent of running a PR campaign, complete with brand development, market research, and message delivery.

If you’ve been striking out while trying to get noticed, it’s possible that your expertise is still a secret in the business world.

You’ll get better results by boosting your promotional efforts with these methods:

1- Be noticed online.

For every job hunter that’s decided to really leverage LinkedIn, there must be at least a dozen others who don’t get the reasons behind forming new connections or keyword-loading their profiles.

Building an online presence is one of the most valuable (and cheapest!) ways to put yourself in front of others seeking your expertise—and LinkedIn is one of the simplest, most effective ways to create online credibility.

Make it easy for employers to learn about you by filling your LinkedIn profile with every skill, job title, and competency possible. Take care to ensure that this data is consistent with the knowledge expected in the job you’re pursuing, and remove irrelevant skills that can confuse companies viewing your profile.

Add a professional photo, get (and give) recommendations, and take the time to provide expertise in the LinkedIn Answers forum in your subject area. Accept all connections—even those that seem foreign to you—as this can put you several degrees closer to your desired employers.

If you share a common name with others, or want even more exposure, place your profile on business search engines like Zoominfo, Spoke, or Jigsaw.

2 - Be noticed by target employers.

Stop waiting for great companies to post an online job ad. If they do, you’ll have to compete with even more job seekers in order to get some traction in your search.

Many job openings are simply the result of companies that test the market. In other cases, employers can have such a long hiring cycle that your query can go unnoticed for some time.

Instead, put together a focused mailing to a group of select companies every week. Use business information engines or LinkedIn to identify likely targets for your skills, then find company insiders using these same methods.

After finishing this detective work, send your resume and cover letter in a 9x12 envelope marked “confidential” directly to your newly found contact. Be sure to follow up your query with a call during the next week.

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