Are you spending more than an hour each day scouring job postings in search of a new job?
If yes, stop.
These published postings are part of the visual job market and result in the submission of hundreds (even thousands) of resumes. While searching the visual market may provide leads and land an interview, hiring managers are more likely to prioritize internal candidates and referrals previously identified in the hidden job market.
That’s the market I want you to shop.
Instead of spending an hour or two daily hunting fresh postings, I want you to re-focus your primary effort on making connections and optimizing your online branding. Not only will this activity help you learn more about how to break into a job or field but it’s also where recruiters are hoping to find you.
Unsure where to start? Here are three quick steps you can take today to enter the hidden market:
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Have you heard the story about the $5 haircut? The story goes that there is a small town barber (let’s call him Barber Smith) who has most of the town’s business for many years charging $7 per haircut.
One day, a new barber (Barber Jones) moves to town and sets up shop directly across from Barber Smith. Barber Jones promptly places a “$5 Haircut” sign on the front of his store.
As can be expected, many of Barber Smith’s long-time customers stray to Barber Jones to save $2 on a haircut. Not surprisingly, the cheaper haircuts turn out to be substandard with the cuts growing out uneven and unmanageable.
Of course, none of this surprises Barber Smith, who puts up a new sign of his own: “We fix $5 haircuts.”
The moral of the story: Sometimes the cheapest option is not the best choice.
Sometimes I feel like Barber Smith when meeting clients unhappy with resumes prepared by a service promising to undercut the competition. In an effort to save money, they have settled for a service unable to provide high-quality goods. In the end, no one wins as the job seeker fails to get maximum results, and the resume service develops a reputation for falling short of professional standards.
Let's face it: The hours you have spent working jobs you’ve loved or hated and early years studying and training have been an enormous investment. Your resume should reflect this investment and help you define your value to the marketplace.
When searching for career development services, be sure to invest your time with a professional who has the formal training and background to identify the right strategy for your job search. The best will have years of experience in career development including expertise in hiring cycles and recruiting best practices. More importantly, these professionals have invested enormously into their personal development in order to help you craft a resume that will open doors and interview with confidence.
The moral of your career development story? Time spent up front collaborating with the right career professional will not only save you money and heartache in the long run, but will also provide you with the competitive edge needed to stand out.
I really appreciate that you are reading my post. I regularly write about career development and college success. If you would like to read my regular posts, please visit my Facebook page and click the "like" button to follow me. You can also connect with me via Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.
Liz is a married mother of three and soon-to-be empty nester. With her youngest about to accept an early admission decision to her dream school and twins in their second year at the local state university, Liz is both excited and anxious about the transition ahead.
Eager to tackle a new challenge beyond the inconsistent part-time work she has juggled since leaving the workforce 17 years ago, Liz yearns to land a full-time position to invest her time and energy. Of equal importance to her is the ability to increase her earnings to help contribute to the family’s growing tuition needs. Having spent the past few months helping Liz explore the logistics of her return to full-time work and roles that she would find fulfilling, we are now ready to bring her resume into the 21st century.
Our first session dusting off her document starts easy enough with a nostalgic trip down memory lane. After narrating her career path from college graduate to parenthood, some self-doubt creeps in:
Liz: Look at the dates on this. I’m a dinosaur.
MH: If I told you that we were nearing five generations in the workplace at once, would that reassure you about your place in the world?
Liz: Um, maybe. Should I just leave off the dates and use that functional kind of format you talked about?
MH: We’re definitely going to combine a functional and chronological approach to help you leverage your skills and experiences, but the dates are important, too.
Since my private college and career practice frequently involves working with clients from the same family, I often find myself in the fantastic task of helping clients of all ages navigate the stages of career development from education and exploration to the job search. Having helped Liz’s children discover their own place in today’s ever-changing world, my focus now shifts to helping “Mom” develop her own sure footing:
Liz: I totally trust you, but tell me: Are the dates a way to ensure I’m not lying?
MH: More than anything, sharing the dates of your education and experience demonstrates how open and honest you are. My first reaction when reading a resume with missing dates is that the candidate is hiding something. When reviewing resumes with omitted dates, I urge clients to use transparency so no one feels deceived during the job search process.
Liz: But how do I prevent discrimination?
MH: We can’t prevent age bias – it’s a risk and reality of the job search. What we can control however, is the ability to present your dynamic skills and qualifications in way that engages the reader, proves your value to the workforce, and initiates an interview.
Liz: Got it. I’m still a dinosaur, though.
MH: Okay, as long as you don’t use that reference in an interview. Remind me to start your mock interview session sooner than later. I’m eager to debunk that myth for you, too!
Counselor. Mentor. Dream Developer. I am a veteran college and career consultant helping clients of all ages prepare and perform for success!