Well, here is my one sentence answer: I treat finding a job as if it were my full time job.
I spend hours upon hours polishing and perfecting my resume. My first step to do this is to go to my favorite search engine and type in the type of job I'm looking for with the word "resume" after it. Resume styles that are preferred by recruiters change all the time. Never assume that the resume you created two months ago is still relevant today. So my search is "Business Analyst Resume". Simple, and you get a ton of examples. I spend a good amount of time on this.
- Remember, don't make your skills too specific unless you're applying to a specific job. Keep your active, searchable resume on the internet in a pretty detailed, but generic form.
- Make sure you're using the appropriate key words for your position. You'll find those listed on those example resumes.
- White space. Don't be afraid of it. Three pages is acceptable these days. Spread everything out.
- You have about 15 seconds of a recruiters time. Don't waste it or they'll be on to the next resume in the stack.
I take this newly updated resume and post it on all the big players. They I take it to the minor players. Creating an account is free, and it will take you all day the first time you create accounts. But after that its a five minute update process each time you're starting a new search. I use the following sites, and I use them in order that I'm listing them. I'm in the IT industry, which is why Dice is on there. If you're not in the IT industry, you can drop that from your list.
Once I take care of refreshing my resume on those sites, I get busy applying. I'm not kidding when I say I see finding a job my full time job. I plant myself at the dining room table and apply until I reach my daily goal. And then I sit back and allow myself to check FB or see whats going on in the rest of the world. I eat lunch at the table.
- Set a high goal for yourself. The first week, I apply for 40 jobs a day. Second week, 25 per day. Third week, 15 per day. By then I usually start getting phone calls. You can keep up the high number of applications or taper off. Your call.
- This may seem like alot of applications, but you need to realize that you're not just applying. You're also uploading your information into their database. This means your information is searchable for the internal recruiters in the future. Most companies keep your data on file for a year.
Negotiations. Sometimes you can, sometimes you can't. If you want it, compromise and take what they're offering. BUT GET IN WRITING if they promise you that what you're asking for will come to you in the future. If you don't get it in writing, the conversation never happened.
Network. You never know who knows who.
- If you are out of work, announce it on your social networking sites like LinkedIn and Facebook. Send an email to your well connected friends.
- If you are in a job and don't want anyone to know, thats a bit more difficult. BUT! Recruiters know how to be discreet. I once met a recruiter for lunch and my boss walked in the cafe. The recruiter pretended we went to college and hadn't seen each other in years! If you tell them to be discreet, they will be.
- Send emails to friends at other companies ...
- That birthday party you don't want to go to on Sunday? Go. And unless its filled with co-workers (in which case your time is better spent at home applying for jobs), talk to people there and tell them that you're looking.
Contracting. You are their paycheck. If the recruiter finds you a job, they get paid. Remember that.
- I know many people that have tried to apply to contracting positions and don't network with the recruiters they speak to. Talk to them, if its an odd area code, ask them where they're from, schmooze them. BE NICE! I cannot tell you how beneficial this is for you! I talk to many recruiters that are nice to me just because I say "Thank you for thinking of me." when I speak with them.
My golden rules:
- Reply quickly. If a recruiter sends you an email, reply as quickly as you can. Sometimes its the first few resumes in that get looked at, the rest aren't bothered with.
- Answer your phone. Unless I'm in the bathroom, I race to answer my phone when it rings. Even if its an odd number.
- I have my "Professional" hat on at all times in email exchanges and phone conversations. I never assume a relaxed, casual demeanor. (This is one of those things that will bump you up in pay, or to a higher level position when speaking with a recruiter. This must be taken seriously!)
- I make myself available during business hours at all costs. 8AM - 5PM unless it really can't be helped. I save big errands for outside those hours or the weekends.
- I will not waste a recruiters time. If I'm interested, I tell them. If I'm not, I'm equally clear. Never string them along and let them know this. This almost always guarantees they will call you as soon as something else comes in. And new jobs are always coming into recruiters.
- Prepare. I have alot of moves on my resume. I don't blow off recruiters when I talk to them. I answer head on. It ends up being a joke by the end of the conversation. I know if they call me, they're interested in what I've applied for. I just have to pass their test better known as "questions". I look at it this way: If we hadn't had this many moves, I wouldn't have this much experience. I have proven longevity at a company, and just keep pointing that out.
- The recruiters that don't bother calling me? I don't worry about. They're not interested in me anyway. ;)
This is a quick and dirty list. I will be adding more soon. Please let me know if I missed something or you have a site to recommend!