People just starting their careers are impacted by COVID. People who were climbing the executive ladder are impacted too and so are people who aren’t ready to retire yet. With companies downsizing, sending some of their workforces off-shore, it has never been more important to stand out. We recently sat down with career coach, Brian Epstein AKA “The Success Coach” to get the inside scoop on the steps that you need to take in your job search. Epstein, a career management and leadership coach with over 20 years of experience, shared his tips to help in your job search:
Networking and How to Find That Network
Networking is important because statistically, you have between 65%-85% greater chance of getting a job. People feel more comfortable hiring someone that has been referred to them. That personal connection builds trust with the person that is hiring.
Whether you have lived in Canada or have recently immigrated, you can build a network through friends and personal contacts. If you are new to the country, there are people within your own community who may be able to help you in your job search. Remember, you are speaking with people all the time. They don’t have to be part of a formal network. It can be someone from your apartment that you chat with on a regular basis. Be open, for example, you can state that, “I am an IT professional and I’m interested in learning more about what’s going on in that field. Do you know anyone who works in that field that can provide me with more information?”
By speaking to more people, you can find out more about what’s happening in your field. People in your network can help spread the word that you are looking for a job and maybe able to provide the connection that you need in your job search.
Building Your Resume for ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) and for Hiring Managers
Make a T-Chart or use Word or Excel table. On the left-hand side list what the employer is looking for if there is a job description available. On the right-hand side, list the skills that you have and try to make a match with what you have done in your past and how it fits with that specific role. If there isn’t a job description, speak to people and build that network. Try to find people that work or have worked in that particular company or in that industry. They may be able to provide some insights into the key attributes that are most important in hiring for that position.
There are online tools that people can use to find the ideal keywords for resumes. You can add in the job description and it will tell you the percentage of the match between you and your prospective job. If the percentage is too low, you can change some of the wording or review the description again. You can look at sites that give you insight into ATS tools like Jobscan as well.
Tips for Creating Your Cover Letter
Sometimes people actually provide too much detail in their cover letter. Keep in mind that we are living in a fast-paced world and people want things brief. Epstein recommends having four paragraphs:
- A brief introduction of what skills that you have and why you are excited about the position. Make sure that you express that passion and enthusiasm in the introductory paragraph
- Go into more detail about your skill-set versus what the job is asking for. Then, stress how your experience makes you the right fit for the role
- Do research about the company and the industry restating that you understand what the company’s core values are. Then, reinforce how their values align with your own
- The final paragraph should include that you would welcome the opportunity to meet at a suitable date to discuss the role
Refer back to the job description to ensure that you are hitting the keywords. Be careful not to copy and paste everything verbatim from the description. You want to have a match but not have all of the wording be the exactly the same.
LinkedIn – What You Need to Know
One of the biggest mistakes that people make with Linked In is just copying and pasting their resume. Recruiters and hiring managers want to see a narrative of your background. On a resume, you shouldn’t use personal pronouns. On LinkedIn, however, you can be more personal in your background. The background should give very high-level details about you. That way, if a potential employer reads nothing else, they get a good sense of what you have accomplished in your career.
Underneath each position that you held, give an overview of your accomplishments, key strengths and skills that employers would be interested in. Remember, statistically, 93%-94% of employers will research you online and LinkedIn is one of the top places that they will look. LinkedIn may be even more important than your resume in getting you that job. People often Google candidates to see what comes up. LinkedIn is almost always at the top of the search results.
Acing a Virtual Interview
Focus on having good eye contact. Remember, you have to rely on reading facial cues versus body language. If you are having a virtual interview with a fast food restaurant like Chick-fil-A, you must study the common Chick-fil-A interview questions beforehand. Try to make sure that you are looking at the camera instead of trying to look at people’s faces in the computer screen so that it doesn’t appear that you are looking down. Choose a professional looking background. If you can, make sure that your phones are off and that there are no other disruptions.
Are Thank You Notes Essential?
They are and outside of the pandemic, it is nice to send one by regular post. It’s really important to send an email within the first 24 hours after your interview. Reiterate your skills and experience in the thank you note and why you are the right fit for this role.