Five MUSTS For Your Job Search

By Martin Buckland - Executive Career Management Professional

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Activating an effective job search takes planning and effort. It’s impossible to secure a job from the comfort of your couch. Here is a quick overview of the Top 5 “MUSTS” to incorporate in your job search plan.

You MUST have a….Current Resume
By “current” I mean a resume not exceeding 3 pages and encompasses the following ingredients: professional email address (no Hotmail account); your LinkedIn profile url; current phone number; a personal brand statement; keywords; accomplishment-based bullets with quantifiable metrics; no career gaps; post-secondary graduation dates (years only); and no mention of “References Available Upon Request”.

You MUST have a….Compelling Cover Letter
This should not be treated as a mail merge sending the same letter to each employer. Customize every cover letter to the position you are seeking and align it to the potential employers’ vision and corporate culture. Research the actual name of an HR decision maker. Avoid addressing the letter to “Dear Sir or Madam”. Know when and how to use the Top 5 types of cover letters: advert; networking; direct mail; recruiter; and pain.

You MUST have a….Google Presence
Yep, you need to be found online. Most Recruiters and HR professionals conduct online Google searches of candidates and references. Google yourself; can you be found? Did you uncover any digital dirt about yourself or your references that needs to be addressed? The better the Google ranking, the greater the impact to your job search. There are lots of free online resources to facilitate exposure. In addition to the Top 4 social media sites to find a job - LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ - expand your presence building profiles on AboutMe, Google+, Plaxo and other similar sites. The “Canada Recruiting Trends 2013” report issued by LinkedIn Talent Solutions shows professional social networks as the largest source of quality hires in Canada, growing from 27% in 2011 to 42% in 2013.

You MUST have a….LinkedIn Profile
When building your Google presence, I highly recommend starting with LinkedIn. This is the #1 business site to be found, uncover valid advertised jobs, and network tapping into the hidden job market. Build your profile until you reach a profile status of 100% complete. Identify and follow companies you’d like to work for, expand your connections to 500+, follow groups, and actively engage online. 2010 statistics showed 86% of Hiring Managers used or planned to use LinkedIn to find candidates. You know by 2013 that figure has continued to grow!

You MUST have a….Networking Plan
Here’s how Executive Recruiters find talent: networking (56%); firms database (16%); online job posting (11%); online research (10%); mining target companies (4%); and lastly, advertising (3%). Even if you are not at the executive level, aggressive networking is the optimal path to secure your next role. Network in-person and online. An ideal job search day consists of a minimum 3 in-person networking meetings (coffee meetings, informational interviews, industry events, etc..) and 4+ hours of online networking.

Whether building your resume, cover letter, Google presence, LinkedIn profile or networking plan, be consistent in portraying your message. First impressions count!

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