Wonder how to get a job in today’s competitive job market fraught with job cuts, downsizing and a glut of job-seekers? With job applications at an all-time high, employers can be choosy. To stand out and get a job in a tough market, you must be proactive and inventive.
We asked experts from around the country for their best advice on how to get a job despite the unique challenges facing today’s job seekers.
For more job search advice, see:
- The 40+ Job Search: Tips from the Experts
- Too Old for School?: Personal Stories of Returning to School at Later Age
- Seven Steps to Making a Career Change
- Job Networking Tips for Older Workers
- Resume Tips
- Interview Tips
How to Get a Job in Today’s Tough Job Market
Address The Bottom Line. “The most important thing a job seeker should do to get a job is answer the following question honestly, objectively, and in terms of dollars and cents: ‘Knowing what you know about our company, why should we hire you?’ An honest return on an investment-based answer gives you an iron clad platform for getting an interview. – Jeffrey Fox , author of 12 books including How To Land Your Dream Job
Expand Your Networking and Social Circles. “This doesn't mean you have to go crazy and put schmoozy events on your calendar 24/7. It does mean it's time to invite your colleagues and friends to coffee, lunch or happy hour (and encourage them to bring along someone you may not know). Also set a goal of attending one or two professional or networking events per week.” – Patti DeNucci, business networking expert and author of The Intentional Networker: Attracting Powerful Relationships, Referrals & Results in Business
Perform a Reverse LinkedIn Search. “Do a LinkedIn search for the job title you want in the general “people search” area not in the jobs section. This search should return a list of people who are in the role you want and you'll know the companies that hire for these roles. Not only will you identify potential employers, but you may also find a potential way in. Employees typically get a referral bonus, and a quick connection to them can get you the "in" you need, if they're still with the firm. If they've left, maybe you can be their replacement or they will give you an inside scoop that could either encourage you to pursue the opportunity further or avoid it all together.” – Judson Kinnucan, Director of Recruiting at hiredMYway.com
Follow the Application Process. “Make sure that you are following employer application processes to the letter. If they ask you to complete pre-screening questions, do it or you are apt to be screened out of the process before you even have a chance to speak with a real person.” - Suki Shah, co-founder and CEO at GetHired.com
Target Decision-Makers. “Create a job search plan and a professional online image (LinkedIn at minimum), and put together a targeted list of 30 employers. Contact decision makers at these employers with a clear message indicating what transformation they can expect to their company, division or department when they hire you." - Paul Hill, President, Transition to Hired, author of Panic Free Job Search: Unleash the Power of the Web and Social Networking to Get Hired
Start a Blog. “Create a positive online presence that you can reference in your resume and/or during an interview. How? This can be as simple as having a professional blog or contributing regularly to an existing blog.” – Kelly Isley partners with award-winning business advisors who understand how to improve the bottom line.
Be Proactive. “Identify the industry that you are interested in and find the leaders within your geographic preferences. Next, find the job opening that you are interested in and fill out all of the online requirements of your top three choices. The next step is to identify the appropriate people in the organization that could help you (company president, personnel director, etc.). Send them each a personal letter and a hard copy of your resume. Try to make an appointment with those that you have sent your resume to. After one week, get dressed in your best business clothes and look like you want the job that you are seeking. Go to the companies that you identified and ask to meet with the person who has already received your application online, the same person that you called. With that much determination, perseverance and courage you are clearly the best candidate.” – Kenneth Esrig, author, public speaker, entrepreneur and motivational coach and author of Start From Where You Are, a guide which teaches entrepreneurs how to be successful in all aspects of business
Monitor Your Online Presence. “Stay off of social media like Facebook and Twitter during your job search unless this is related to your profession. If you must engage in social media, create accounts that use abbreviations or pseudonyms that cannot be easily researched using your name or other info on your resume. This kind of research is the rule rather than the exception these days, and the more information you have accessible in this realm, the higher the likelihood that some of it may be construed in a negative way by a potential employer. This is a very personal and subjective area. What you consider benign or not possibly detrimental may not be viewed that way by someone else.” – Dr. Joseph Cilona, Manhattan-based licensed clinical psychologist, author and business and personal coach
Don’t Focus on Yourself. “Give more than you get. Listen more than you talk. Period. Networking is not all about you.” - Patti DeNucci, business networking expert and author of the new book The Intentional Networker: Attracting Powerful Relationships, Referrals & Results in Business (Rosewall Press, 2011)