THR Partners, Executive Search Firm specializing in the HVAC, Appliance, and Commercial Restaurant Equipment Industries
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In this age of email, texting and instant messaging, many job seekers are communicating using abbreviations, short phrases or short text messages. However, communications throughout your job search must be formal. Hiring Authorities complain when abbreviations that are commonly used during texting are also being used for business email. Your written correspondence is the first impression of your written and verbal communication skills. It is also an example of your attention to detail and ability to proofread documents.
Never underestimate the impact of your written correspondence throughout your entire search. Hiring authorities have eliminated candidates from consideration due to mistakes on their follow up correspondence or thank you notes.
Always error on the side of being too formal vs. not formal enough!
Professional Associations can help accelerate your job search. This is especially helpful if you feel your job search is at a standstill and you don’t know where to identify potential job opportunities.
There is a professional association for almost every profession and industry. In fact there is an Association for Associations located in Chicago! These associations can provide you with inside information, trends and valuable connections. You may not be financially in a position to join a professional association, but that doesn’t prevent you from reading their website, publications and blogs. It also doesn’t prevent you from attending a few functions or meetings as a guest. The membership lists of these associations are filled with prospective contacts for you.
There is a reference called Associations Unlimited that lists over 20,000 associations in the US and over 25,000 international associations. This resource is available by subscription only, but you can access it free from your local library. In fact, if you have a valid library card you can access Associations Unlimited online through your library website once you’ve entered your card number.
Professional Associations are a great way to meet people in your profession. Once they have had a chance to meet you, they are often comfortable making introductions or providing you with job leads. Members of these associations often have hiring authority. When you meet a hiring authority at an association function, it is much less intimidating because you are having casual conversation and getting to know one another.
It is better to identify one or two associations and attend multiple functions, than to identify ten and only attend one function. You want the members to have a chance to get to know you. If possible, volunteer to work on their Membership Committee. In this function, you are calling prospective members who of course can also be eventually added to your network.
Personal connections are the key to finding a job. Most individuals, who enter into a job search, feel it will just be a matter of time before they have more than one opportunity to consider. You then realize that it’s not going to be easy and often applying for jobs postings end up being a complete waste of time. Too often, thousands of other people are applying for the same positions and they might be more qualified than you.
Take time today, to realize your job search can turn around if you begin to focus on the human factor of your efforts. Make a commitment today to rebuild your personal network. Join groups of people who enjoy similar hobbies or interests and begin to meet new people. When you let these new contacts know about your job search, you will begin to hear about jobs before they are advertised. This is the truest form of networking.
Too often job seekers think they need to attend a function and exchange business cards. A broader view of networking is creating a pool of contacts from which you can draw leads, referrals, ideas and information for your job search while you are also sharing information. Some of the most effective networking you can accomplish can be done without ever attending an official networking event. Volunteering is another powerful networking tool. When you are volunteering your time at events you are meeting other individuals who are employed and could provide you with a personal recommendation because of the work they have observed you do through your volunteerism.
The key is to find two or three organizations or non-profits that have the right mix of people. Go back to these groups repeatedly to establish your reputation and rapport. Send people a note after meeting them and find out what you have in common. Building relationships with new people takes effort, time and tenacity but it is those relationships that are the core of effective networking and will pay off much more than sitting behind a computer competing with hundreds of other job seekers for posted opportunities.
If you listen to negative news or unemployment statistics, you will continue to be one of the statistics. You never want to justify in your own mind, why you have not been able to find a job. It’s easy to find reasons why the job market is working against you. However, that does not help your search. Just think for a moment about all the jobs that are advertised on job boards, websites, and in trade publications. Those are a small percentage of the actual jobs available.
Ignore the news and focus on what you can do different or better to improve your chances of finding a job. You can’t keep conducting your job search the same way and expect different results. You can’t control the job market, economy, stock market or hiring authorities. You can control your attitude, reactions, expectations and actions. Make one change in the way you conduct your search ever week to improve your results. Many changes you can implement are included in the 16 step process for finding a job as outlined in our career portal under the three phases: Prepare – Search & Connect – Interview
The Job Market continues to be competitive and you must customize your cover letter to match your resume and LinkedIn profile. Employers will screen out job seekers that do not show consistency. Each time you update your resume, you must update your LinkedIn Profile.
If you have changed job targets, it is even more important to change your resume and Social Media presence. If it appears that you are mass mailing your resume, you stand little chance of being contacted or interviewed. It takes time to customize your information, but the pay-off is well worth your effort.
Your cover letter should also show why you have targeted each specific company. Hiring authorities do react to job seekers who have obviously conducted research on their company. You must be able to answer the following question: “Why do you want to work for our company?”