The Corona virus is impacting all of us in many ways right now. We’re following guidelines to stay healthy and avoid spreading the disease. If you’re job-hunting, you may think you should put it all on hold. Companies aren’t hiring now, right? And job search preparation may be the last thing on your mind.
But companies ARE still hiring. And, if the ones you’re interested in are not, you can still make inroads by working on networking your way in. In this way, you become a somewhat known entity within those companies.
What better time to focus on learning more about job search and improving your chances of landing a great-fit job, once things open up again?
First thing, accept that today’s job search preparation is complicated, has many components, and requires hard work . . . . if you want to land a job you covet and deserve.
You may get lucky and move into a new job swiftly . . . and without doing much work at all. Someone in your network may have recommended you. You may have connected with someone at just the right time, when they needed someone like you.
But chances are, you’ll have to slog through the challenge that job search can be, just like most every other executive has to.
Why the Hard Work of Job Search Preparation Pays Off Big Time
But consider this. If you take my suggestions here to heart, and really work on the various aspects of today’s job search, you’ll be way head of your competitors. Most people will NOT do all these things.
Also consider this. Doing the hard work will bring you many benefits that those who don’t do the work will miss out on. It helps you:
- Identify the things about you that make you valuable to employers who are a mutual good fit.
- Remind yourself of all the good work you’ve done for employers in the past.
- Generate chemistry around who you are, how you operate, and how you work with others.
- Boost your confidence in the value you offer.
- Communicate about yourself better when you network.
- Perform better in interviews.
- Land a great-fit job, instead of an okay job.
The First Steps in Executive Job Search Preparation
I’ve written many times about the road map for today’s executive job search. And you know about things like writing a knockout LinkedIn profile, resume, cover letter, etc. You probably also know you need to get involved with social media, build your online presence, prepare to interview well, and get busy networking your way into the hidden job market.
But don’t do any of those things until you first do these 3 things:
Identify a good list of employers or organizations that will be a mutual good fit.
The more you narrow your focus to specific employers – or specific kinds of employers – the better you’ll be able to market yourself as a candidate.
Most people start their targeting work by location. Job boards can be very helpful. Search the job title you’re seeking on the boards, including location of interest, and see which employers have openings.
I’m not suggesting that you then submit your resume to those jobs. You should be using job boards only to build your target list and conduct research (as noted in the next step).
Another way to identify employers is to brainstorm with friends, family and those in your closest professional network. People you can trust, especially if you need to keep your search under cover.
Also, check out Forbes, Fortune and other reputable publishers’ various lists of “best” companies to work for.
Research each company or organization on your list. Things to research include:
- Products and services
- Historical financials
- Challenges they’re facing right now
- Corporate culture
- Company leaders and key decision-makers
The places to do your research include:
- Job boards
- Company websites
- Google Search – Employees, products, services
- SEC – Reports on public companies
- Yelp – Consumer ratings for various service-related companies
- LinkedIn Company Pages
The key here is to uncover pain points, and why and how these employers need you. What problems of theirs will you help them fix?
3. Personal Branding
Define and differentiate your personal brand. Your brand is your reputation – the perception of you held by the external world. It is the combination of personal attributes, values, drivers, strengths, and passions you draw from. These are the things that differentiate your unique promise of value from your competitors.
Your brand helps those assessing you determine if they should hire you or do business with you.
You need to identify those qualities and characteristics within you. Further, communicate a crystal clear, consistent message across multiple channels – online and offline. Design your message to resonate with your target audience.
Next Steps for Executive Job Search Preparation
Once you’ve done those first 3 steps, you’ll have the information and insights you’ll need to create a resume, LinkedIn profile and other personal marketing communications that will position you as a good hire.
Expanding on my road map, job search social media expert Hannah Morgan of CareerSherpa.net has put together an impressive list of job search to-do’s.
Know and Do These Things
Hannah advises all job seekers to know and do these 20 things:
- Conduct a self-assessment of skills, talents, and abilities.
- Produce a resume that contains action/result statements.
- Customize every resume for every job you apply to.
- Write a well-researched cover letter.
- Find a job posting then network with company insiders before you apply.
- Create and USE a marketing plan.
- Network 60+% of the time.
- Build a meaningful LinkedIn profile.
- Learn how to use LinkedIn.
- Constantly maintain your network.
- Follow up on networking leads quickly.
- Don’t ask for a job while networking.
- Practice interviewing.
- Develop a “Plan B”.
- Cut and manage expenses.
- Learn about new occupations and industries.
- Be positive.
- Don’t appear desperate.