Still, I find that most job seekers are using some outmoded methods, technology and documents. It will cost them, in terms of missed opportunities and a longer search. It’s partly about looking smart. It’s also simply about what works.
I’m not talking about being trendy or even being an early adopter. Here are some basic updates I consider “must-do” for most job seekers.
Don’t use an old-fashioned email service like AOL. Your email address may be the first thing an employer sees, and it has an unconscious, gut-level effect on your image.
Addresses at Gmail, Mac.com or your own domain look great. Hotmail and Yahoo may be okay (not great) in certain fields, but not good if you’re in the tech industry. And in nearly any arena, an AOL address gives the impression that you tend to resist change.
Build your strategy around referrals. Recruiting via referrals is a huge and growing trend. To set yourself up to be a referred candidate, spend 75% of your job search time on networking and informational interviews.
If something stops you from networking – say, introversion, or not knowing the best practices – solve that problem. Work with a job search coach and/or read a great how-to book like The 2-Hour Job Search, which presents a method that makes networking easier and more effective.
Use LinkedIn. Other social media can be useful too, but LinkedIn is a must. Yes, to some people in their 20s LinkedIn feels irrelevant, but being up-to-date is not the same as doing everything the way the 20-somethings do.
Have a great, keyword-optimized profile with a good photo and recommendations. And don’t stop there – use the platform as an integral part of your networking efforts.
Use Google+. Many recruiters, especially in technology industries, have adopted Google+, and it’s bigger than LinkedIn, with 600M+ users. In your Google+ profile, include links to your LinkedIn profile (and any other career-related sites you may have) for a big boost in Google rankings and SEO.
Update your skills. If you lack the skills your desired employers are looking for, invest in yourself. Some skills can be learned online through free or paid tutorials. (I like Lynda.com, myself.) Other skills may require more formal education. Nobody likes taking on debt, but training and education can be a wise reason to do so.
Update your resume and eliminate obsolete components such as an “Objective” at the top (use a headline instead) or “References Available” at the bottom (because it goes without saying). Know what your key selling points are and make sure they pop out within the first few seconds.
Notice I didn’t say anything here about interviewing? I’m leaving that for an upcoming post. Subscribe to this blog so you don’t miss it!