Every job seeker...and there are lots of you out there...wishes there was a "magic formula" to accelerate their job search. The truth is how well your job search fares is directly dependent on preparation. Just like in the game of chess, a sound strategy before you start to play is more likely to reap success than just "winging it".
Here are 3 preparation strategies you can use now, so your job search is equipped with a winning game plan:
1. Get FOCUSED: What specific occupational field, what level within that field, and what industry (or industries) of choice are you targeting? For example, you may be passionate about outdoor adventuring and have a background in retail sales and sales management. You may choose to focus on Retail Sales (occupational field) Manager (level within that field), Outdoor Sports Equipment, Accessories, Services and Vendors (industries of choice). The employers in your industry (or industries) of choice are your target audience, rather than any employer anywhere!
Trying to be all things to all employers in a "generic" resume just doesn't work anymore. Keyword resume-sniffing software mandates that the job seeker or career advancer identify exactly what they are going after, and then crafting their marketing message around that, incorporating required and desired keywords for the occupational field, level of position, and industry.
2. Get BRANDED: Differentiation is key to career and job search success. You cannot appear to be just another one of the thundering herd. So knowing your personal brand - what makes you unique and different from your competitors, as well as what attributes your target audience really values - AND being able to express that in your marketing materials (like your resume and cover letter) will put you ahead in the job search arena.
Personal branding and the 360Reach personal branding assessment - a confidential online branding assessment - can aid you in unearthing your personal brand so you can begin to use it effectively in your job search.
3. Get UPDATED EDUCATION and TRAINING: Do not assume that Associate's or Bachelor's Degree you got 10 or even 20 years ago suffices anymore. Employers want to see that you are actively engaged in learning about advancements in your field. They do not want to have to train you on what they believe you should already know.
If you technology skills are rusty, look at non-credit courses at your local community college or even tutorials online. To stay updated in your professional field, you can take courses (credit or non-credit) or join a professional association in your field and attend the workshops and conferences. If the association offers credentialing, consider it. Objective evidence of up-to-date skills and knowledge, like credentials, offer proof that you are serious about your career and the value you can bring to a potential employer.
BONUS - Keep track of your ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Accomplishments are the "meat" that makes up your resume's main course. Without relevant and convincing results, you may be perceived of by an employer as just a "seat warmer" in your current (or past) jobs. That's not exactly a stellar approach to securing a potential new employer's interest. But, benefits (accomplishments) are! What better place to showcase the benefits of hiring you than by demonstrating what you have been able to accomplish for others in the past.
Cross-posted at the Career Goddess Blog