It’s January. The time for New Year’s resolutions and job search tips.
I did a recent Google search for “Job Search Tips 2019” and found a long list of reference articles. A quick sampling:
Top Job Search Tips in 2019 and 7 Tips to Double Your Interviews
5 Tips for a More Efficient Job Search in 2019
Use These Job Search Tips to Impress Recruiters in 2019
14 Easy Modern Job Search Tips to Use in 2019
6 Simple Job Search Tips People Always Forget
These are excellent articles for all job seekers. But, if I am looking for my next job, are tips and tricks going to get me to the finish line first with a job offer? A rhetorical question for certain and my answer is “No.” To find your first job or your next job, you need a lot more than tips and tricks. You need a job search plan and most importantly, a job search process.
If you are a fan of professional basketball, then you are likely familiar with the phrase “Trust the Process”. Attributed to the Philadelphia 76ers organization of the NBA, the phrase described a multi-year process designed to lift the team from the cellar to the playoffs. "Trust the process" required players and fans to all buy into a long-term plan that would involve months of hard work and frustration but ultimately result in the prize of a return to the NBA playoffs. Check the NBA standings now and you will find that Philadelphia is once again relevant and a perennial NBA playoff contender. The process worked!
When it comes to your job search, I encourage you to also “Trust the Process”. Tips and tricks are valuable in your job search but only when when viewed within the context of a holistic job search process. Updating your resume to be ATS compliant is helpful, but only if you have first completed the necessary research on your target position and industry. Reaching out to potential network contacts is an important step in the job search, but only if you have first mastered the essential steps in an exploratory meeting. Getting through the door for a second-round interview is excellent progress, but only if you have perfected your closing elevator pitch and can answer the “Tell me about yourself” question.
Don’t let your job search get lost in a forest of job search tips and tricks. Like many things in your life, a successful job search strategy requires a process, discipline, and dedicated focus. I recommend that you learn to master a job search process that is a systematic progression of three critical phases. Phase 1 is Personal Branding. Phase 2 is Personal Networking. Phase 3 is Personal Selling. The steps you take in each phase are logical building blocks for the work and activities you will complete in the subsequent phases of your job search.
What is your Personal Brand? The phrase “personal brand” first appeared in 1997 in an issue of Fast Company Magazine. The article was written by Tom Peters, a well-known management consultant famous for his book “In Search of Excellence.” He said: “We are CEOs of our own company: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.”
You should think of your brand as the image and message you present online and in person to potential employers. Your Personal Brand is what makes you different and unique and enables you to stand out from other job seekers with a compelling value proposition for a future employer. There are four essential components in the Personal Branding process: Elevator Speech, Resume, Cover Letter, and the LinkedIn profile.
Once you have defined your brand and have the necessary tools to support it in person and online, you are prepared to share that brand and story with your professional network. The second major phase of your job search process is Personal Networking and the development of your professional network. The professional network is what identifies and fills four out of every five jobs in the US each year.
You should view the network as your public relations firm. Once established, your network will help market your brand to potential employers. There are two critical steps required to develop a robust professional network: Researching and Contacting Your Network and Conducting Exploratory Meetings to lock in your network contacts.
With both a personal brand and a robust professional network in place to communicate that brand, you are now ready to begin the process of Personal Selling. The definition of Personal Selling in the job search process is interviewing. The interview process is where you get to “sell” the most important product in your portfolio, specifically yourself. With training and practice, you can excel at the two most important types of interviews: Recruiter & Screening Interviews and Decision Maker & Hiring Manager Interviews.
Investing the time to build a job search process and then placing time, energy and trust in that process will lead you to the job interview playoffs. Get to the playoffs enough, and you are sure to win the championship trophy and receive the job offer.
Dan Troup is the Managing Director of the AdvantEdge Careers coaching service. If you are interested in learning more about how a job search expert and certified career coach can assist you, please contact AdvantEdge Careers for a free initial consultation.