If it’s been longer than 5 years since you’ve dipped your toes in the job search waters, it’s important to understand that some key components of the job hunt have changed. As an Executive Resume Writer, I can attest that there’s more to it than refreshing your resume (even if you have your resume professionally written), making sure your LinkedIn is current (although that’s certainly an important part of it), and scouring online job boards.

In fact, spending most of your time applying online can land you in the ATS (applicant tracking system) black hole— from which many resumes never return. Not only will you walk away incredibly frustrated, it will likely prolong your job search.

Instead, in addition to making sure your resume and Linked look current, sharp and polished, I recommend navigating today’s world of job hunting by devoting your time accordingly across 3 buckets:

1. Conduct Targeted Research (25%)

I recommend spending a quarter of your total weekly or daily job hunt hours conducting careful research to identify some names of companies or organizations where you’d be thrilled to work.

Local business journals, LinkedIn and other websites offer listings of organizations sorted by just about any category you can think of. In fact, “best of” lists exist for all sorts of niches, from “Best Companies to Be Innovative” to “Best Tech Companies to Work for.”

After you’ve whittled down some names, you can then refer to company websites to learn as much as you can about benefits, media mentions, etc. The website’s branding — from its layout and style of writing — often yields subtle clues about the company’s culture.

Sites like Bloomberg and Hoover offer free versions to uncover details about public companies, like who sits on their board, stock history and the competition. While it’s a bit harder to get intel on private companies, resources are available online. Check out Forbes’ list of The 20 Largest Privately Held Companies in America, or Inc.com’s list of Fastest-Growing Privately Held Companies.

For nonprofits, check out a list published by TopNonProfits.com or GuideStar’s directory of IRS-recognized organizations.

2. Establish An Online Brand (20%)

Having a limited professional online presence can hurt you in today’s world. Recruiters and hiring managers search online to find and vet candidates. Incidentally, building and growing an online footprint is frankly a necessary evil that many find overwhelming. I recommend getting started on just one or two platforms. Choosing the two that are best for you will depend on your career goals and your audience.

LinkedIn is the most popular by far and with good reason. According to a Society for HR Professionals 2017 survey, LinkedIn is the top and most effective social media site for recruiting. It is important to note that Facebook and Twitter are gaining traction, as are professional/association networking sites.

Get started by locating, sharing and commenting on articles that pertain to your career aspirations and the thoughts of others. Posting a few times a week or even daily will keep your profile prominent in the feeds of your connections. Free tools like Buffer and Hootsuite can take the time crunch out of this by letting you schedule posts ahead of time.

3. Network (50%)

The adage, “It’s not what you know, its who you know,” rings with clarity when it comes to the job hunt. Why? According to a 2017 Business Insider article, some estimate that upwards of 85% of open positions are filled through networking.

When it comes to figuring out who is in your network, I recommend starting with your inner circle and moving outwards from there.

Begin with friends, families, neighbors and colleagues. Next, expand your list from there to think about acquaintances or people who cross your path, but less regularly (think the dad who is on your kid’s baseball team).

Take your search to LinkedIn. Search by company and job title to locate hiring managers at companies that interest you and recruiters and professionals who are successful in your desired job field. If you aren’t connected with these people, figure out who you know who is or send them a personalized connection request.

Are they a connection?If so, options for outreach include email, phone calls and Inmail. On the other hand,  if you don’t know a person well or at all, reach out via InMail or do a bit of sleuthing to uncover a professional email. Once you connect, it’s OK to ask for names, info and words of wisdom.

4. The Remaining 5%?

Go ahead and spend your remaining time on job boards. If nothing else, this will give you a sense of which companies currently have hiring budgets and can help you uncover names of recruiters and firms actively posting!

This article originally appeared upon Virginia Franco Resumes here.


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