There's no point mincing words. This is a tough market in which to find a job.
To succeed, job seekers need to distinguish themselves from the competition. Here are 7 effective ways to gain a competitive edge:
- Write a killer cover letter - It's the first thing hiring managers will see about you, your real first impression. Make it count. Make it compelling. If you need help, ask your professional recruiter; they do this every day.
- Let them sample - Willingly volunteer to work at a job for a brief period of time to demonstrate your skills and capabilities to those doing the hiring.
- Kick it up a notch - Use your time between assignments to hone technical skills, get yourself to "expert" level at whatever it is you do.
- Polish and perfect - Make sure your resume shines. Professional recruiters are aces at showcasing candidate skills and experience.
- Speak clearly - Be able to articulate how you bring value to prospective employers.
- Network, network, network - The wider the net, the bigger the catch.
- Know your stuff - Nothing impresses people more than seeing you cared enough to find out something about them beforehand. Having context about a company gives you common ground for discussion and enhances the employment opportunity.
Economists predict the job market will get better eventually. If you have time for eventually, that's fine. If not, doing everything you can to make yourself more visible, more appealing, more worthy than other candidates is one of the smartest moves you can make.
Experts at finding jobs agree, networking is key to any job search. So, why not make the most of your networking efforts?
Here's what the pros-professional recruiters, people whose full-time job is searching for jobs-say can help you make the most of your job opportunity network:
- Network like your career depends on it...because it does - Attend every industry-specific event; that's where all the people who do the hiring, or know people who are hiring in your industry, are. Make it your career goal to introduce yourself to as many people as possible there.
- Be prepared - Prep before you go. Scope out the attendees, learn something about their company, have something relevant prepared to discuss.
- Opportunity is where you find it - Don't limit yourself to industry events when it comes to networking. Job opportunities are wherever you find them, working out at the gym, on the subway, at the supermarket.
- Be organized - Keep copious records of contacts-names, phone numbers, email addresses, company information, job titles, how you met, any follow-up conversations
- Get a buzz going - Brainstorm about who can help you find work, then contact them. Think: neighbors, friends, relatives, former employers, former co-workers, doctors, alumni, hair stylists, college professionals, anybody, and everybody.
Networking shouldn't be the only tool you use to find a job, but it's an essential component of a comprehensive strategy to do so.
Temporary employment can be your job ticket
Everyone wants the brass ring-often viewed in the workplace as the full-time job with benefits at a great company with a bright future.
In today's economy, that's not always possible, at least not in the traditional model of "apply, interview, get hired, live happily ever after."
But a new model has arisen where accepting or seeking temporary work has become a great strategy in the search for direct hire employment, one that improves your chances to grab the next brass ring that comes along.
As a temporary employee, you have a distinct advantage over most other candidates-you're working from the inside, they're not.
Temporary work not only provides outstanding networking employment opportunities in your department, but companywide.
- Getting some game time in
Whether you're directly hired or temporary, being in the game keeps your skill-set honed and knowledge base current.
It also allows hiring managers to see you in action, someone who, by accepting temporary employment, is professional and driven to succeed.
- Your creditors will never know the difference
Unemployment benefits expire, but expenses, not so much.
Perhaps the most compelling reason to accept a temporary job: It puts green in your pocket. As far as the bank and the people from whom you buy your daily bread are concerned, temporary or direct hire, a paycheck is a paycheck is a paycheck.
Employers and candidates put professional recruiters in play to improve their success rates
Of all the things this recession is supposedly about-a collapse in housing, lax oversight, too much spending, too little spending, you name it-none is more central than jobs.
Bring the jobs back and, ‘Poof!' the recession is over.
But, job seekers and hiring managers know that's not going to happen anytime soon. We are stuck in a perfect storm of employment gridlock. On the one hand employers are faced with a deluge of resumes which are submitted seemingly without any relevance to the skills required for the job, while on the other, applicants-even the highly-qualified ones- find themselves victims of the avalanche of resumes employers receive.
To help dig their way out, increasingly, both sides are turning to professional recruiters, and here are a few reasons why:
- See value in outsourcing to recruiters the painstaking task of sifting through piles of resumes, thereby freeing their own staff to be more productive
- Gain time and save money by only meeting with candidates pre-screened and pre-qualified by the employment agency
- Draw on the deep talent pool of proven performers recruiters cultivate across multiple job searches
- Enjoy a lower interview-to-hire candidate ratio due to the quality of candidates provided by the recruiter
- Watch their chances of landing interviews and getting hired improve dramatically
- Enhance their interview skills with professional coaching from staffing consultants working with them
- Improve their job search results when recruiters provide guidance on how best to work with resume-filtering software
Mitigate the chances of falling into the ‘black hole' that the direct application process has become by leveraging the relationships established by the recruiter with hiring managers.