Timing Your Job Search

So, you’ve developed a great resume, you’re finding and applying for “good fit” positions online, and you are networking. You’ve connected with some recruiters that specialize in your area of expertise. Your LinkedIn profile is 100% complete. So, why are you not receiving multiple responses? What is going on? The last time you looked for a new position, things may have developed rather quickly and did not take much effort.  Now you are exerting more effort and it doesn’t seem to be paying off. It’s easy to take this personally and begin to worry that no one will ever hire you.

The good news is this is not about you and anything you’re doing wrong. You are experiencing a common phenomenon in this job market that I call the “hurry up and wait” phase. About 85% of candidates experience an unexpectedly extended period of time between applying or networking for a position and actually hearing back from someone.  This might last several weeks to a month or more.  Even those who have been interviewed and told they will hear something back in a week or so begin to despair when their wait stretches out for weeks.

The culprit is this particular job market. It is very different even from that of just a year ago. True, there are more positions to apply for than there were, but the competition for those positions is still very fierce. It is a buyer’s market, and employers and recruiters are busier than ever screening resumes and narrowing down the field to a short list of candidates. Many hiring managers are doing the work of their own positions and, at the same time, the ones for which they are hiring. Employers are being very cautious about hiring. They are taking their time to search and interview carefully so that they hire the perfect candidate.

Employers do need to hire, and many of them need to do it quickly, but it can be difficult and time consuming to coordinate a group of interviewers to be in one place at one time.  Once they have finished interviewing, it is just as difficult to get everyone’s feedback and a consensus around whom to bring in for a second interview and who should receive the offer. Employers are screening more carefully, sometimes requiring applicants to take assessments or skills tests before an interview. Recruiters are inundated with hundreds of resumes from job seekers, and will not spend their time working with someone unless he or she is the best match available for the position.

You have an advantage that will set you apart from other candidates competing in this market.  You have access to cutting edge information and resources that most other job seekers do not. Taking advantage of the best practices available to you, along with being persistent, networking, and following up, will be the keys to your success in this new job market. These efforts will differentiate you from the competition and raise you to the top of the interview list. Patience is the key, so hurry up…but wait!

Think of yourself as a gardener. You have put in all the effort it takes to till the soil by assessing your strengths and developing a great resume, as well as 30- and 90-second commercials, cover letters, a network of contacts, and a strong LinkedIn profile. You have planted the seeds by applying online, networking for information and referrals, working with recruiters, following up on networking leads, and finding contacts.

Even so, you will probably experience an unexpected time lag between all of these efforts and harvesting the final fruits of your planting.  This hurry up and wait period is best viewed as just another step in the process. Understanding employers’ and recruiters’ circumstances when you are waiting can help you develop realistic expectations and tailor your professional and emotional responses.

Use this period to stay engaged in the process. Continue to apply and network in order to keep your pipeline full. It’s possible that you’ll eventually find yourself in the enviable position of having more than one offer to choose from. This period actually gives you the opportunity to fully explore the market and choose the opportunity that represents the very best fit for your next career move.

So yes, hurry up, but also wait and remain engaged in the process. You will work harder to find your next position, but you will be much more likely to find the right position – the one that truly fulfills you and gives you the opportunity to use your strengths where they will be needed and appreciated.  The harvest is worth your time.

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Great Apps For Staying Organized

If you’re always on the go for work, you probably rely on your smart phone or tablet to stay organized, keep in touch and check items off your to-do list. With that in mind, here are several apps for getting things done.
Taking notes
We all have things we need to accomplish during the day, which is why some people use a notepad app like Notes on the iPhone, or Evernote, which is platform-independent. Evernote allows you to make lists, compile pictures or record reminders. Data can be synced with other devices and accessed online. The app is free, but there is a monthly subscription for premium features. Learn more at evernote.com
Calendars and planners are invaluable tools for busy lives, and there are myriad calendar apps available that offer a wide variety of features and functions. Some free services like Google Calendar can be synced with your other calendar apps, allowing you to set appointments and reminders and easily update information across devices and online accounts.
OpenTable is a premier online source for browsing restaurant listings and making reservations, and now you use these same great features on the fly with their free app OpenTable. It’s available for Android, iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry, Kindle and Windows Phone. If you’d rather carry out than dine in, the Snapfinger app lets you place orders at local restaurants for delivery or pickup. Visit www.snapfinger.com for more info.
Managing money can be done in a variety of ways on a smart phone or tablet. There are apps for individual banks or online money services such as PayPal. There is also an app like Mint, which allows you to budget, track expenses and see all of your bank accounts in one interface. This app can be used as a companion to the Mint.com website, which offers even more banking and investing services.
The business world produces a lot of files, such as memos, reports, spreadsheets and presentations. For the iPhone, you can use programs like Pages, Numbers and Keynote. There are also other office-type apps such as DocsToGo, which allows you to view, edit and share documents across platforms and devices. For professionals, this is a great way to engage information on the go.
Need to get your thoughts down in writing but sick of typing on a small screen? Consider Dragon Dictation, a free app that lets you convert your dictation into text. The text can then be copied, emailed, posted to Facebook or Tweeted. This is a very helpful app for those who like to multitask or don’t enjoy typing.
Smart phones and tablets have revolutionized the way people communicate and work thanks to the productivity apps on the market. Many apps are either free or come with a small fee, which makes them inexpensive to try out and find the one that works best for you.

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Using Social Media As A Career Tool

As the use of social media grows, recruiters are increasingly turning to these sites to screen potential hires. It is important to have a social website presence, but it’s important to have the right one. Here are just a few tips to make sure you’re sending the right professional messages:

  • Establish a separate professional account to share with potential employers. Use video to showcase your speaking abilities, include articles you may have written and testimonials from others.
  • Even with a separate professional account, be aware that recruiters may still search for you and look at your other social media sites. Make sure your posts will not cause you embarrassment or cost you the job.
  • Ask friends to delete unflattering photos and comments of you.
  • Be polite in your comments; never get in an online argument.
  • Remember, a good rule of thumb is: if you don’t want the world to see it, don’t post it online.
  • A good social media reputation is your opportunity to shine with potential employers. After all, you’re in control of it.

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