Finding a Job in 2011

Global recession is over and the job market is on a rebound while employers are starting to hire again. However the rules of engagement has changed.  Do note that there’s still a lot of competition out there and you’ll need to use every available resource and skill to get a foot in the door.

In the post-recession job market, submitting your resume and cover letter is not going to get you a job alone. I have had the privilege of perusing my colleagues resume over time and one thing I’ve observed is the inability to give a voice to resumes and cover letters. Your resume and cover letter should project your kind of professional person and what you’re bringing to the table. Often times, we leave out our achievements and accomplishment at our workplace because we think it’s inappropriate to do so. I totally disagree because trumping your achievements in your recent and past jobs is a sure way of being noticed and considered for the post in view.

Secondly if  you have saved the company extra bucks through an initiative of yours or done things differently,  prospective employers should learn about it through your resume.  So what works? Experts say making connections, adapting to each potential employer and promising results are the only ways to get hired. For instance if you’re applying for a position you think does not reflect your current job role, I always suggest you adopt a functional resume that chronicles the various skills you’ve acquired within your present job role.

Making connections is also vital in securing a new job because everything is built on personal connections. With large unemployment figure as we have in Nigeria and job openings still relatively scarce, employee referral is one way to increase your chances of getting a job. Potential employees should connect with people within a company and ask them for a referral. “It may be as mush as 10 times more effective” than simply applying (Gerry Crispin, co-owner of Careerxroads).

To that end, social networking has carved out a crucial spot in today’s job market. Job seekers must be on boar with LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter as well as smaller industry-specific sites in order to connect with more people, and employers, in their industry.  Social media tools should be used to make real connections not just virtual ones. Lots of people use social media all day long and they are communicating with tons of people but they’re not connecting with anybody. Build the relationship from there so it becomes a real world relationship.

Stretch to fit: Once job seekers connect with a company, then the real work of getting hired begins. Gone are the days of impressing a hiring manager with experience and education. These days it’s identifying what results you can deliver that will ultimately get you an offer.  In the current world today, the employer cares about one thing: what can you do for me today, how are you going to solve my most pressing problems, how are you going to take away my pain?

I usually suggest a potential employee finds out more about the company and what the company’s needs are via the websites and annual reports. Once you are well versed in the company’s particular constraints within the current economic climate, identify what you can bring to the table. Focus on the results you produced in your career so far: “here’s how, here’s when, here are the percentages,”. If you can’t add value, they’re not going to hire you. Experts also recommend being open to the pay, position, location and schedule of any position that is offered. Think more broadly, look at all the possibilities otherwise, you’ll be looking for a long, long time.