Let’s face it, peppering your resume and cover letter with terms akin to “result-oriented team-player” is not going to cut it these days. First of all, this tactic is used by so many job seekers, that it won’t help you stand out from the crowd. Secondly, relying on overused terms and recycled phrases tells the recruiter that you’re lazy, unimaginative, and unable to identify more meaningful aspects of your professional brand to present to the potential employer.
Clichés don’t make your resume more powerful, but here are some strategies that do:
What: Tailoring employment documents to the desired position
Why: To demonstrate your motivation, initiative, and willingness to positively contribute to achieving the employer’s business goals.
What: Using hard data, facts and numbers
Why: To prove you are who you claim you are and build credibility with the potential employer. Do emphasize your accomplishments instead of rambling about your duties, and don’t be shy to state how many people you’ve managed and how much money you’ve saved in your previous workplace.
Why: To rank higher in the search results and to show you stay in the loop on current industry developments. But put them in context.
What: Words that project confidence and competence
Why: Weak phrases present you as indecisive and unprofessional. So drop them and opt for more meaningful alternatives.
Looking for work is a stressful process. And if you’ve been out of the job for a long time, you might be dreading another day of responding to listings and setting up interviews. You might even be on the brink of despair, either putting off sending out resumes, or frantically shooting them to each and every contact in your network.
If any of that rings true to you, you really need a job search buddy – a friend, colleague or acquaintance who will motivate you throughout the process. And if it’s someone who’s unemployed as well, you can help them in a similar manner.
But what exactly does that entail?
It’s much easier to look for a job if you know you’re not alone doing it. Your buddy will understand what you’re going through and help you get out of an emotional rut if things don’t go well. Find out about some other benefits of the buddy system!
While the benefits of expanding your personal and professional network are well-known, and tactics for doing it successfully are available in abundance, the subject of nurturing existing contacts is often unjustly overlooked. However, keeping in touch with people you already know can drive your job hunting efforts just as effectively as making new acquaintances, if not better.
One tiny problem – reaching out to old contacts feels really awkward if you’ve last talked about 5 years ago. On the other hand, being annoyingly intrusive is hardly a good approach as well. So here some helpful tips on how to strengthen your professional brand and nurture your network:
- Don’t be shy to forward interesting articles, suggest books, send invites to professional events and offer other information if you think the person you’re contacting will find it interesting or helpful.
- Comment on your contacts’ status updates or group discussion posts. Sincere praise or gratitude for sharing useful information work just as well as intelligent input/feedback.
- Ask people for advice or a recommendation – everybody loves to be considered an expert in their field. Just make sure you don’t come across as pushy or a suck-up.
- Congratulate your network contacts on their new jobs, professional achievements (successful conference presentation, book publication, prestigious award) or personal milestones. Just saying “Happy Birthday!” is a great way to remind an old colleague about your existence and strike up a conversation to catch up.
- Post status updates. That will give your old and new friends, colleagues and business acquaintances an opportunity to initiate contact with you.
- Reaching out to your contacts a couple of times per year is a sensible and attainable target. However, the decision on the most appropriate messaging frequency ultimately comes down to you. Just remember not to spam.