What's Missing from Your Job Search Toolkit?

toolboxTo find a job these days requires not just meeting the requirements of the job posting but also marketing yourself effectively on paper and in person. What people perceive in the first few seconds of glancing at your resume, speaking with you at a networking event, or looking into your eyes at a job interview can make a huge difference.

Are you doing all you can to maximize your chances, or are some essential ingredients missing from your toolkit?

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Passion. A recruiter friend told me that an informal survey of his colleagues revealed that less than 5% of job candidates show any enthusiasm for the job they're interviewing for during the hiring process. I understand that some job seekers might feel beaten down after a long stint of unemployment, but in such a competitive environment, you need to do whatever it takes to show that you're excited about the opportunity, especially once you get in front of a live person such as in an interview.

Pitch. How does what you've done position you perfectly for the position you're applying for and where do you see this taking you in the future? To get people interested in you, you need to craft a compelling story that you can tell in networking situations, informational interviews and real interviews. Stories, as opposed to a dry telling of the facts, engage people and help make you more memorable.

Performance. Hiring managers want to hear about results and perhaps those aren't coming to life clearly enough in your resume. Rework your bullet points to focus less on describing the tasks that you did (e.g., managed budgeting and forecasting process) and more on what you helped achieved (e.g., uncovered $250,000 of annual cost savings through rigorous budgeting and forecasting).

People. Have you been leveraging your network effectively to gather research on your target companies and get introductions? The wrong way is to send a mass email to all of your contacts with your resume attached. The right way is to contact individuals in your network with specific and relevant requests for help. "Let me know if you hear of anything" is not as helpful as saying, "Can I speak with you on the phone for 10 minutes to get your insight on Company XYZ?"

With more than 5 job seekers for every open position, every extra effort you make can place you miles ahead of the competition and dramatically reduce your time in the unemployment line.

Filed under: Job Search Tips

Liz Lynch


Years ago, Liz Lynch ran out of her first networking event after five minutes, but since then has become a top networking strategist, international speaker, coach, and radio show host appearing on CNN, ABC News, Fox Business News, CNBC.com, Forbes.com and in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and USAToday. Previously, Liz worked at Goldman Sachs, Disney, and Time Warner, and was most recently vice president of business development and strategy at BusinessWeek. She holds an engineering degree from UC Berkeley and an MBA from Stanford University. For more smart networking tips and resources, visit http://www.SmartNetworking.com.

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