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Debra Feldman

Improve Your Job Search Results

Five steps show you how.

February 19, 2009
by Debra Feldman

To be effective in today's highly competitive job market you have to get out there and promote yourself strategically and selectively to those who are most receptive. Not only do you need to present yourself outstandingly well, but you also have to focus your search on those employers who can appreciate your value and are able to hire you.

Job searching is mostly about marketing. While you may think that skills and credentials should speak for themselves, if the message describing your abilities and benefits you bring to a prospective employer isn't compelling and portrayed clearly, other candidates who market themselves will slip ahead of you.

Does this mean you need to "play the job-search game" in order to be successful? Yes. It requires you to be proactive, take initiative and package yourself extremely favorably to attract employers.

Having a great resume is not necessarily enough. You still need to hit the pavement or man the phones to establish that essential direct, interpersonal chemistry and good rapport that ultimately generates a new career opportunity.

Friends and colleagues are prepared to provide assistance — like making introductions, suggesting referrals and providing recommendations, but the nitty-gritty day-to-day tasks of designing and conducting a well-thought-out, carefully orchestrated and thoroughly executed, high-impact, fast-paced, results-oriented job search campaign rests on your shoulders.

Five Steps to Improving Your Job Search

Self-promotion can be a huge challenge for many otherwise savvy, capable executives. Here's how to simplify the process and accelerate your progress to lessen this burden and find your next challenge swiftly.

  1. Brace yourself for the project.

    Understand that there is work to be done and no easy way out. Ideally, you'd like to have a headhunter or recruiter find you, but don't count on this especially in today's environment where more and more recruiting is being handled internally to reduce recruiting expenses. You have to rely on your own personal initiatives designed to open doors and get your name in circulation. You are your own best sales representative. Even if an agent gets your toe inside, you have to put your best foot forward which means preparing for an appointment by learning about a situation, finding out how you can provide added value, and the benefits that you can bring to solving problems and growing revenues. Even if the employer seeks you out, you still need to demonstrate that you can deliver what they expect from the winning candidate.
  2. Don't overextend yourself.

    The key to success is to limit your job search to specific target companies you determine as needing your talents and then finding ways to "get inside" these organizations. By investing the time to learn and understand their needs and cultural values, you will present an unparalleled match.
  3. Be generous.

    In today's market, giving samples seems is the most effective way to establish solid credibility and gain an element critical to hiring decisions, trust. By offering to conduct a project or provide detailed data on spec, candidates are frequently able to accelerate the hiring process by decreasing risk and alleviating fears harbored by potential employers. By approaching interviews as a consultant, candidates collaborate with prospective employers to reach mutually agreeable objectives. Neither party is more powerful or has excessive control, therefore each stands to benefit from the other being successful and getting what they need from the relationship.
  4. Be pound wise, not penny foolish.

    This admonishment extends to both salary negotiations and what offers you take into serious consideration. Put your pride aside for a moment and think dollars and cents. If you are currently not producing a salary, then any new salary goes in the plus column. If you are currently employed and seeking a new challenge, you are in a stronger position to decline a salary you don’t think is adequate for the responsibilities or is less than what others in similar roles at the same company are paid. Once you are part of the team, you stand a better chance of proving that you are worth more. Everyday that you are not working, you are actually costing yourself money.
  5. Enlist a pro.

    Decide whether you want to hire professional help to defray some of the time-intensive tasks like corporate research, developing a list of target employers, preparing a dynamite résumé, crafting elevator speeches and phone call introductions, etc. You’ll be assured of a professional result and be coached on best practices. Your career is important enough to engage the services of an expert.

Conclusion

Job hunting is not easy. Treat it as a learning experience and an intellectual exercise. Set your goal, get organized and follow the above steps. Persevere and step up the pace until you reach your chosen destination.

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© Debra Feldman, 2009

Debra Feldman is the JobWhiz™, a nationally-recognized expert who designs and personally implements swift, strategic, and customized senior level executive job search campaigns, banishing barriers that prevent immediate success. Her gift for cold calling, executed with high energy and savvy panache, connects candidates directly to decision makers, not HR. Network Purposefully™ with the JobWhiz, and compress your job search into mere weeks, using groundbreaking techniques soon to be profiled in Forbes magazine and featured in an upcoming syndicated television series. In addition to writing columns and conducting workshops for several revered professional associations, Debra provides career guidance to alumni of top-tier business schools. Contact Debra at www.JobWhiz.com to expedite your executive ascent.