JOB SEARCH / MAR. 28, 2014
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How to Raise Your Job Search IQ

In today’s tough job market, job seekers have to go far beyond the ‘extra mile’ to land a job. They have no choice but to be extra proactive to constantly enhance their skill set as well as their resume and cover letter. As a job seeker, if you are talented, skilled and have the right aptitude to land your dream job, it becomes fundamental to identify exactly what makes you stand out. You have the basics, but without knowing how to showcase these skills to the right people will get nowhere fast. Once you identify these ‘success strategies’ you can market yourself with far greater impact and boost your job search IQ.  

Strengthening your job search IQ is vital in developing those attributes that will make your job search more effective and guarantee your personal and professional development. Try one of the following strategies that will make you more marketable and set you apart from the competition when applying for jobs.

Develop a Strategic Job Search Plan

When various responsibilities of work, family and friends collide with job search efforts, the necessity of developing and implementing a task-oriented, deadline-oriented and personalised job search is paramount to coordinate actions. Success requires coming up with a clear structure to get the tasks of the job search done when they need to be done.

Keep track of your job search activity, meetings, important phone numbers, letters and networking contacts and make sure they don’t get lost. Set up an Excel sheet to help you manage your activity. Also, allocate a certain amount of job search time each week and lock this time only for job searching, meetings and networking. Treat this time like a job – you should be focused on the job search entirely.

Tap Into the Hidden Job Market

In a tough market, jobs are increasingly found in the so-called hidden job market where jobs are not advertised much, if at all. Pursuing jobs in the open market can be easy and less time-consuming. On the contrary, landing a job in the hidden market can be a more complicated and laborious process. It also requires a personal and proactive approach with the best approach being networking. Unleash your investigative instinct and uncover the inside scoop regarding new developments and potential job openings in different organisations. In this instance, social media is your friend. Connect with company employees, recruiters and HR managers on a professional level. This is how you will succeed in the hidden job market.

Be Proactive

Knowing how inconsistent the job market is you must adopt a proactive mindset and always be prepared for the next opportunity. You know that to successfully do so, your marketing weapons – resumes, cover  letters, portfolios, LinkedIn profiles, personal websites and blogs – must be up-to-date as well as customised to the needs of the employer and the job applied for.

Bear in mind that the average job search takes 7-9 months and in a hard job market it will probably take longer. With fewer job vacancies available and more job hunters in the market means that you will need to apply to a greater number of positions to increase your chances of securing an interview. The earlier you start preparing your job search the better the results will be.  

Invest in Their Careers

In order to commit to career development you have to evaluate your personal strengths, identify areas for growth and keep on investing in yourself through formal and informal learning methods. On top of this, you need to have an objective understanding of your value and the impact of your contributions and you are able to communicate this with confidence and modesty.

Have a Circle of Influence

Because you recognise that you cannot accomplish everything on your own; you ought to build your own ‘circle of influence’ and leverage the support of others to thrive in a competitive environment. This circle encompasses people whose career trajectory you would like to emulate and others who are always there to give you words of wisdom when requested. This will help boost your job search IQ as you can essentially gain valuable advice and follow in your mentors path.

Don’t take Rejections Personally… Instead Take Advantage of Feedback

The chances of failing to get the job are higher when competition is fierce. But understanding that this is part of the game is central. The key is to demonstrate resilience and make every possible effort to spot what went wrong in your application and take the necessary steps to correct it. You should feel blessed if you receive feedback from one of the multiple employers who received your resume and cover letter. Use this piece of advice to your greatest advantage so that you don’t repeat the same mistakes in your next application. This is one of the easiest and most effective ways of boosting your job search IQ. If you are aware of past mistakes made, you can quickly correct them and learn the best approach to secure your dream job.

On the whole, in order to boost your job search IQ, you need to be diplomatic and strategic in your job finding approach. Try to start as early as possible, organise your schedule and material effectively, and take the ‘scenic route’ to uncover hidden jobs that others won’t be able to access. Most importantly, invest in building and expanding social capital to help you take your career to the next level.

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