Executives - for best results it helps to know where you 'fit' perfectly in the marketplace
Research the market
1. It may seem obvious, but you need to know where you 'fit' in the market, and this can change as a result of external influences; for instance, technological and economic issues. Therefore, it pays to identify at least 8 key marketable skills and areas of expertise. With a clearer picture of your strengths, you can target those companies and industries where the demand is high for your capabilities.
2. It helps to take a flexible approach to your job searching in terms of sector. If there are fewer jobs in your industry, consider a change? In today's job market this is quite usual to change direction. For example, I have guided a teacher seeking peace and quiet to make the transition into a librarian role, and supported a redundant 50 year old bank manager, requiring a more fulfilling role, to move into managing a children's charity. When you think about it, the skills in each case were complimentary; for instance, planning, communication, leadership, team-working, relationship building, time and resource management, etc.
3. Research online job sites to find out which job categories are hiring and have the most posts. Select job sites carefully as there are so many, and apply to those in your chosen career field.
4. If you are happy to relocate, check out which geographical locations have the companies that are hiring. People even move countries for the right job!
5. Accelerate your job search by researching the companies that are prospering and therefore hiring. Look at their aims and objectives. What is going on in their particular market? Remember, threats also bring opportunities to offer solutions!
6. When you see or hear of a job you like, don't delay - apply straight away. The likelihood is that the earliest applicants get short-listed in the first CV screening.
7. Get out there with a high quality, perfect CV. Make sure it is up to date with an impressive presentation and interesting, relevant, and results-focused content. Keep it sleek and smart. Don't list every job you've had, focus on the recent. Don't bury the gems by including too much. Differentiate yourself by including factual evidence of what you have achieved, how you have added value, and how this has benefited your employer. Remember to spell check!
8. Don't include photos of you or family members.
9. If your email address is less than professional - get a new one! Include phone numbers where you are contactable in the day.
10. Write a compelling cover letter to send with your CV. A cover letter is central to your personal branding strategy and the two documents should combine to convey your key messages. The letter also demonstrates your ability to write and communicate. Highlight the key words in the job ad and weave these into your letter and CV. Include examples how you are a direct match with the job profile.
11. Don't put off networking, as very often the power of a referral can be very strong. Contacts can include colleagues and employers, clients, customers, and friends and family.
12. If you are not on LinkedIn - the business network - then you are missing fantastic opportunities to research job openings and get connected with people who are in the know.
13. If you are on LinkedIn and have Testimonials - make sure you provide a link to your profile. Testimonials are very impressive and on LinkedIn they are easily verifiable. LinkedIn is a unique opportunity to gain a competitive advantage and is a great social networking site. Moreover, recruiters use LinkedIn to source candidates. Remember, it is estimated that a high percentage of jobs are filled by people who have been referred and recommended.
14. Once on LinkedIn, build up your Connections and join Groups. Take an interest in and contribute to discussions.
15. Register with recruitment agencies in your field, both off and online - and keep in regular contact.
16. Interviews are diverse in their style, ranging from one-on-one to panels with three or four people. Phone interviews and video conference calls are increasingly popular due to their time and cost efficiency.
17. Turn off your mobile phone. It is amazing how many candidates interrupt the interview with their mobiles, and some even attempt to text.
18. Research the company to learn about their culture, structure, current issues and potential opportunities. Be prepared to ask intelligent questions that illustrate your interest and the trouble you have taken to gain background knowledge of the company.
19. Practice makes perfect so it is best to plan ahead and anticipate the likely questions. These generally seek to identify how you would handle situations similar to those likely to occur in the job, so be prepared to have examples of how you have handled typically relevant issues. For example, if applying for a Customer Focused role, a typical questions might be along the lines of, "Please tell me about a time when you have experienced poor customer service. If you had been that individual what would you have done to turn the situation round." This is a perfect opportunity to illustrate your understanding of what it takes to deliver service excellence and demonstrate your diplomacy and powers of persuasion.
20. If asked if you have any questions, illustrate your enthusiasm and intention to make a contribution. A good example: 1) If successful in my application, what would you expect me to achieve in the first three to six months? And don't forget to follow up the interview with a 'thank you email'- this confirms your interest and could help to keep your name upfront.