With record low unemployment in 2017 and month-over-month job growth throughout the year, the 2018 job market looks promising!
If the idea of putting your toe in the job search waters, versus taking a full-body plunge, sounds appealing – there are several actions you can take to be ready should that appealing role come your way.
KEEP AN EYE ON JOB BOARDS
Check-in semi-regularly on job postings by setting up automated alerts. Sites like LinkedIn, Google for Jobs, Hired and Indeed are rich with listings.
Although a job search strategy focused largely on applying online yields a poor return on investment (<5% according to many sources), job boards can provide a sense of what companies have budgets earmarked for hiring.
KEEP YOUR RESUME AND LINKEDIN FRESH IN CONTENT + FORMAT
Always have your resume ready to go. Period. It must be up-to-date in terms of content AND formatting.
Make sure your LinkedIn profile reflects the same information as the resume and is 100% complete. This means a headshot, a keyword-searchable headline (don’t default to your current title – it is not likely to contain the types of keywords that someone would type to find talent like you!), a completed summary, skills and a completed job experience section.
KEEP ACTIVE ON LINKEDIN
With almost 500 million members, just having a static profile is no longer enough – particularly if your industry is competitive. In fact, an account with minimal activity will appear toward the bottom of feeds of connections than an active account.
Follow this three-step approach to stay active on LinkedIn:
Try to post 3-5 times per week (Monday to Friday). This can mean as little as giving an article a like or thumbs up, sharing with others (and taking the time to comment) on articles that align with your career aspirations, or maybe even posting or writing something yourself using LinkedIn Publisher.
The bottom line? The more often you post, the greater your chances of appearing frequently in people’s feeds – which will give you your best chance at coming top-of-mind when an opportunity arises.
Shoot for at least 250 connections. Keep in mind, however, that the more connections you make, the greater your access to second- and third-level connections.
Rather than building your network up all at once, consider instead reaching out to two or three people weekly – being sure to take advantage of LinkedIn’s tool for personalizing invitation requests.
Locate groups worth joining by going to the search function and searching by job function or industry.
Many groups are rich with like-minded professionals sharing industry insight and job opportunities. They are a great way to connect with people and find discussions worth sharing with your connections outside the group.
An added bonus? Joining a group allows you to direct message other members regardless of your connection status. I recommend engaging with groups at least twice weekly – using the same tactics utilized to post effectively.
PREPARE YOUR PITCH
Prepare your pitch for that unexpected inquiry that explains how and why you are an ideal fit for the company/role. Be at the ready to relay this messaging both face-to-face and in writing.
KNOW YOUR DEAL BREAKERS
Think thoroughly about what an offer literally too good to pass up might entail. Know also what your deal breakers might be – from salary to location to responsibilities to company culture.
That way when an opportunity presents itself – you have a bottom line in mind.
BE READY – WITHOUT MAKING A JOB SEARCH YOUR FOCUS
Satisfied with your current role but still interested in keeping your options open? This approach lets you be ready to entertain offers that may come your way, without taking on the stress of a full-on job search.