Job Search Q&A

We had a great discussion session session last night with Local Levo Portland chapter.  It was an open discussion about the things people struggle with most in their job searches.

Now, the common misconception when people think about job searching is that it simply is just having a killer resume and then applying for jobs.  But being successful in your job search depends on so much more than that.  It's finding ways to access jobs in the hidden market, leveraging your network, having a great cover letter and resume, and then also nailing your interview.  In order to get offered that dream job, you really have to look at the holistic picture, and you have to succeed at each of these gateways.

A few statistics we shared last night that might surprise you: 

  • Job searches: Close to 80% of all open jobs do not get posted on the internet.  [Forbes]
  • Networking: 70-80% of people find their jobs through networking.  [Payscale]
  • Resume: 6-15 seconds is all you can assume someone is going to look at your resume [Harvard Business Review]
  • Interview: Hiring managers generally know within 90 seconds if they want to hire someone [Undercover Recruiter]

The people who are most effective in their job search know the secrets to being successful in each of these aspects of job hunting.  Curious to learn the secrets?

There were some great questions that came up in the discussion last night.  Here are a few of our favorites, which are also common things we hear from job seekers all the time:
Q: What element of your resume [experience, education, etc) is the most important to make your resume stand out?
A: The single best thing you can do for your resume is to ask yourself - if someone is only going to read one thing in that 6 second, what is the single most important thing you want them to know about you.  Make sure that will be the first thing that a hiring manager sees.

Q: I understand that networking is so important, but I hate doing it!  I hate having to make small talk and try to sell myself to someone who can help me find a job.
A: Great question.  The best advice here is to change your thinking.  Stop looking at networking as "I have to meet someone who can further my career right now".  Networking is all about simply meeting people.  Making connections.  And doing it without any objective.  You never know when a connection you make might help your career (it could be several months down the road).  So just be open to simply connecting with someone for the sake of them just being an interesting person, and you never know what that might lead to.

Q: I am trying to switch to a whole new role from what I've been doing.  How do I successfully translate the skills to my resume?
A: You want to look for all the transferable skills.  Match up all of your past experiences with what they are asking for in the job description.  Draw those skill sets from different places - not just limited to work experience - but also from personal experiences, hobbies, extra curriculars, volunteering.  Skills come from being learned in all sorts of places, and you probably have more to offer than you think. 

There were several more great questions as well.  Have your own questions or would you like additional help in your own job searches?