With 2010 upon us, professionals everywhere are gearing up for the job hunt, with the usual energy that accompanies a January job search.
Yet, many candidates cling to outdated job search practices and resume advice that can negatively impact their success.
If you’ve continuing to send resumes to “Dear Sir or Madam” while merely updating your tired resume from the year 2000, you’ll find that these methods have quickly become obsolete.
See if any of these common job hunting problems apply to you, and then implement resolutions to improve your success in 2010 and beyond:
Failing to assess your competition.
Staying clueless about your online identity.
Ignoring resume trends.
If you can’t move past the thought of listing all your duties at each job on your resume, you’ll find the job market of 2010 to be quite unforgiving.
The achievements-based resume style is a trend that has become firmly established, according to hiring managers.
Kevin Murray, Senior Manager of Recruiting at Vistaprint, notes that the company receives hundreds of resumes daily, and says that it’s critical for candidates to “document the impact of their work and quantify their accomplishments,” especially at this point in the job market.
For executives and senior-level professionals, the next generation of resume writing also requires the use of personal branding.
A key weapon in the job hunt, a branded resume pulls in achievements as part of your overall value proposition.
To create a branded presentation, you’ll need to assess your professional style and reputation, digging deep to analyze the impact of your work–and then capture the pattern that emerges.
Of course, you’ll also want to avoid the antiquated practice of using an objective statement. Instead, a short summary should be used to encapsulate your brand value and save valuable reading time on the part of recruiters.
Neglecting to find contacts in your chosen field.
This is by far the biggest mistake most candidates make in today’s aggressive market.
The reason? It takes more than mere skill to distinguish your unique qualifications at this point, even if generalizing your credentials worked in past decades.
As an example, you may have created marketing campaigns and worked with ad agencies in a sales role, but there’s plenty of marketing managers who’ve already been there, done that–and they represent your competition.
In comparison to these candidates, your application won’t stand a chance.
Instead of presenting all your skills for interpretation, do some legwork in your chosen profession, establishing contacts that help you fill in knowledge gaps.
You’ll also need to prepare a compelling resume that connects a subset of your skills to a specific job type, thereby giving companies a reason to interview you.
Like it or not, the social media and online relationship-building components of a successful job search are here to stay.
While candidates in the early 2000’s had little concern about being Googled, a digital presence has emerged as one of the most critical tools in the job hunt of 2010.
In addition, even though some professionals are savvy enough to build keyword-specific LinkedIn profiles, many job hunters continue to refuse social media connection invitations, failing to realize that recruiters make good use of these resources to find new candidates.
In fact, a recent study found that up to 80% of recruiters routinely use Internet searches to dig up more information on a candidate–and nearly half of these will reject job hunters with no digital presence.
With the intensity of job-hunting competition expected in 2010, you’ll need a strong, distinguished social media profile that can reinforce your brand and qualifications.
Tony Deblauwe, a human resources expert and the founder of HR4Change, notes that recruiters often look at statistics behind the LinkedIn profile itself, noting the number of connections, recommendations, and group memberships for each candidate.
“The more information a person puts in the professional profile, the better,” he says, noting that recruiters prefer job seekers who provide a detailed summary and career history that saves them time.
So, if you’ve held off on creating a full-blown social media presence, the time has come to alter your practices and jump into the game.
If you’re not sure how to proceed, start by creating a profile and gathering connections, then use an Internet search to uncover branded LinkedIn profile writing services.
In previous years, applying to a new job was simple. You hopped onto Monster, submitted your resume, and received a call back.
However, getting employers’ attention in 2010 will require more effort than simply sending your resume online.
With an avalanche of applicants for too few jobs, you’ll need to follow up on any resumes sent, with some detective work required in order to get in front of the right person.
This is where using LinkedIn or business information search engines such as Zoominfo will come in handy. You can quickly find company insiders and send your resume to a real person, rather than sending it down the black hole that consumes so many job applications.
In addition, it’s important to network effectively so that you aren’t answering job ads in the first place.
As companies have changed their practices to hire from within networks before even posting positions online, it’s important to change the way that you approach them, with guerrilla search tactics that tap into more “hidden” opportunities.
In summary, 2010 may prove to be a improvement over the challenges of 2009.
However, to make an impression in the new decade, you’ll have to employ stronger job search tactics and a branded, sharpened resume presentation
About the Author: Executive resume writer Laura Smith-Proulx, CCMC, CPRW, CIC (http://www.anexpertresume.com/Executive-Resume-Writer.htm ) is a published, award-winning resume authority with a high success rate landing interviews. The principal of An Expert Resume http://www.anexpertresume.com she has authored 4 books on executive resume writing and job search that address specific challenges in today’s job market.