Questions and Answers with Career Expert Abby Locke
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Abby M. Locke of Premier Writing Solutions is an executive career-marketing strategist.
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>Q:||What do you feel is the most disturbing trend in job-hunting today?|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>A:|| Too many job-seekers are still following outdated, ineffective strategies to find job opportunities. They are extremely uncomfortable with the concept of personal marketing and being proactive in their efforts to attract the attention of potential employers and recruiters. The Internet has created an overdependence on online job-search tactics, including resume posting, online job applications, and career employment websites.
Successful job-seekers are willing to push the envelope, stretch themselves, and engage in activities that may be out of their comfort zone, but net the greatest rewards.
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>Q:||What do you feel is the most exciting or hopeful trend in job-hunting?|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>A:|| Technology has penetrated every aspect of our lives including how we work and how we find work. Personal branding and social-media concepts are pushing job-seekers to see themselves as a product, challenging them to identify and market their unique value proposition, and requiring them to embrace more visual techniques of personal marketing.
Having a strong online presence through an accurate, branding web portfolio, LinkedIn profile or VisualCV are great places to start in personal marketing not only for job-search, but for overall career management.
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>Q:||From your observations and experience, just how tough is the job market today? How can job-seekers achieve success and stand out from the crowd in such a competitive market?|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>A:|| I work directly with executive job-seekers who are in active job-search mode, and in light of today’s economic climate, the job market is tougher than ever. I frequently hear stories of job-seekers conducting rigorous job-search efforts and going for months without any progress.
To achieve success despite challenging employment circumstances, job-seekers have to move beyond traditional methods of connecting with employers. More than 85 percent of companies and recruiters will Google candidates and even scour blogs in search of thought leaders and forward-thinking job-seekers. If you want to stand out in a shrinking, competitive job market, you have to increase your online presence, maximize personal-branding concepts throughout your job-search campaign (resume, elevator pitch, email signature, interviews), and get from behind the computer to enhance your network and make direct contact people.
In addition, none of the above activities will be fruitful unless you have developed a focused job-search campaign that includes a list of target companies, geographic locations, specific job/positions that interest you, and a consistent system that you can execute and repeat over a period of time.
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>Q:||We are hearing increasingly from job-seekers who are frustrated with Internet job-hunting. They complain that they never hear anything from employers, and that employers increasingly put up impenetrable barriers to keep job-seekers from following up and being proactive. Are the old rules of job-seeking and follow-up changing?|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>A:|| Yes, the old rules of job-seeking and follow-up have dramatically changed. The average job-seeker approaching the Internet for job opportunities will quickly become overwhelmed with the array of choices and options; he/she will also become very discouraged and disillusioned with the lack of responses or direct contact with potential employers. Job-seekers need to understand that for every job opening posted online, literally hundreds and in some cases thousands of candidates across the country and even across the world are applying for the same position.
However, the Internet continues to be a great and vital resource for a wealth of information on companies and viable job opportunities. Job-seekers should make every effort to move beyond the electronic barriers to reach a contact person inside the company. I often advise my clients to seek out other resources like LinkedIn to solicit information interviews or direct advice from a hiring manager within the company of their interest. [Editor’s note: For more about informational interviews, see our Informational Interviewing Tutorial.]
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>Q:||What’s the biggest mistake job-seekers make that your advice could correct or prevent?|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>A:|| When I deal with job-seekers making mid-career transitions, it is often a struggle to get them to understand that the resume is not meant to be a career obituary. Too many job-seekers are emotionally tied to career achievements and qualifications that they deem important rather than concentrating on transferable, relevant information that would connect with employers. The result is usually a three-to-five page resume with a confusing mix of information that makes a fast transition into the trash pile.
I highly recommend that job-seekers pay close attention to the experience, skills, and qualifications that their target companies are seeking and create a strategically-written, brand-focused resume that clearly highlights those areas. The goal is a career document that positions you as an insider not an outsider.
Abby M. Locke of Premier Writing Solutions is an executive career-marketing strategist who partners with senior-level professionals and C-level executives to achieve personal success through cutting-edge, brand-focused career communications and innovative personal marketing/job-search services. Her distinctive resume samples have been published in Top Notch Executive Resumes, Nail the Resume! Great Tips for Creating Dynamite Resumes, Same-Day Resume, Quick Resume and Cover Letter Book, 30-Minute Resume Makeover, Happy About My Resume, Sales and Marketing Resumes for $100,000 Careers, and Directory of Professional Resume Writers.
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