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22 Tips to Refocus and Re-Energize Your Job Search

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Is your resume boring or super-hero style? Find out how to create a resume and cover letter that will get you called in for that coveted interview.

Do you wish you could read all the job-hunting books out there, forgo the trial and error of sloppy interviews, and move right to your best self and career?

No need. In response to 22 Game-Changing Job-Search Tips from a Recruiter, I’ve boiled down thousands of pages of advice into 22 game-changing tips that are gaining traction in the real world – tips I’m using in my own job search.

1. Know thyself. Before diving into a job search, take the time to figure out your passions, skills, ideal work environment, ideal colleagues, etc., so you know what you want. Really, it’s that important. Do not proceed to “Go” until you do this.

2. Get your messaging down. Again, don’t start networking until you do this. Take a good stab at your one-sentence, 30-second, and 1-minute elevator speeches.

3. Now forget your messaging. You’ll sound fake if you recite verbatim your stock answers. If you want to appear warm and personal, be conversational, not scripted.

4. Don’t confuse networking with relationships. You may have had coffee with someone, but that doesn’t mean you’re BFFs. Keep it professional until it really turns into a friendship.

5. Cultivate relationships. The best way to do this is to figure out ways to help the other person. You’ll build more relationships if you’re giving something back.

6. Don’t go in cold to networking meetings. Unless you want crickets chirping during pregnant pauses, do your homework and prepare some relevant questions ahead of time. Use networking meetings as opportunities to gain information from your questions.

7. Listen much more than you talk. As Mama said, you have two ears and one mouth. Listen in that ratio. Pose your questions, then step back and let the other person answer.

8. The secret sauce – interpersonal skills. Your social skills, body language, grace, and warmth will say much more than anything that comes out of your mouth. Be aware of how you carry yourself.

9. Leave them wanting more. Respect other people’s time by cutting your networking meetings off after 30 minutes. That will make you more likeable, which will make you more hirable.

10. Revamp the tried and true for 2012. In this day and age, how many people still have their fax number on their business cards instead of listing their Twitter account? How about introducing color in your resume?

11. Forget handicaps. Everyone has a handicap for you. Wrong title, not enough experience, etc. Your job is to find the one person who sees your potential.

12. Create a personal brand. This is more than a logo and tagline. Everything about you, be it tweets, Facebook pages, articles, etc., should have a unified personality, voice and value statement. Your brand should differentiate you from the pack.

13. Be visible. Go to events. Post interesting articles. Connect others. Don’t sit behind your computer all day.

14. Update your network on your progress. You’re the protagonist in your own story, fighting the evil unemployment empire. About every six weeks, let them know how the next chapter is going.

15. But don’t over-ping them. If someone in your networks gets three separate “help” emails from you in a week, they’re going to go cold.

16. Approach interviews like a consultant. This will help you get into the right mindset that 1) it’s less about you and more about how you can help them, 2) you listen and get curious and 3) you demonstrate your genius instead of just talking about it.

17. Breathe and smile. People smell fear and desperation in interviews. To combat your sweat glands, breathe and smile. They are the basic ingredients to being relaxed and personable.

18. “Thank God for unanswered prayers.” Forgive me if I just quoted Garth Brooks, but he’s right. Sometimes you dodge a bullet by not getting the job.

19. Study up on search firms. Executive search firms have very specific protocols and etiquette. If you’re lucky enough to attract their attention, read up on their rules of engagement.

20. Create your own job. If you see a market niche, don’t be afraid to propose your own job. At the very least, they’ll be impressed by your initiative, and you’re in a candidate pool of one.

21. Be you. By being you, you’re guaranteed to be an expert and come across as genuine, which two really good qualities in a job candidate.

22. Enjoy time off. When you’re working, you’ll long for the time when you could have taken three-day weekends. Make the most of this time off while you can.

Jim Rettew is the former Chief Communication Officer for the American Red Cross in Colorado. He recently moved to Minnesota for his wife’s job and is looking for gainful employment.

Brazen powers real-time, online events for leading organizations around the world. Our lifestyle and career blog, Brazen Life, offers fun and edgy ideas for ambitious professionals navigating the changing world of work.

  • http://www.gvibe.co.uk/ Stuart

    I have an interview next week and was getting seriously stressed about it. Thank god I came across your post. All theses points make me feel much more prepared.

  • SJMillerJK

    Tell me why you cannot provide a “Print Page” option for articles through this medium?

    • Ragina Smith

      You know I’ve always thought the same thing.

  • Bradshaw Greg

    vote obama out…FIX IS DONE!!!!

  • Daniel

    Well done, Jim. Yes, these are great items to keep in mind. The key, in addition to this type of specifics, is to never give up, and continue to use a lot of creativity once you are engaged with a hiring manager, and have a shot at actually receiving the offer. Good luck with your search in MN, and if you need a contact in the Ft. Lauderdale area, please get in touch. http://www.TopExec.org

  • Tom

    Maybe there’s room for one more:
    23. Use your time off. Make use of available time to improve your skills. Learn new software, read a fresh take on your major asset. Broaden or deepen your knowledge of a differentiating skill.

  • Pingback: What You Can Learn from that Ridiculous Email to Rejected Job Applicants | Ways 2 work

  • Mack McGuire

    Jim -
    Thanks for sharing.