Did you know the job market grew stronger in 2017? The economy added 1.9 million new jobs (as of November 2017), unemployment reached a record low, and competition increased for recruiting and retaining talented employees especially in technology, healthcare, e-commerce, and labor-intensive roles.

For the job seeker, this means, now more than ever, your resume needs to be authentic, value-driven, and accomplishment-rich.

Your resume is and will always be a key component in your job search efforts but creating a foundation for your job search will help you garner results faster. I know it seems counter intuitive to not respond to every single job post you see but both your resume and your job search efforts need to be targeted. Taking the time to clarify who you are and the value you offer and then mapping out a plan will help you realize your goals. To get started,

> Determine where you would like to work – what companies / industries are you interested in pursuing a position with?

> Identify the pain points for each company. What problems are they facing? How are you the answer?

> Clarify how your skills and experience align with the employer’s needs.

> Craft a resume that showcases your ability to deliver according to the employer’s requirements.

  • Prove your value throughout your resume by providing metrics and the context in which they happened. (Rather than saying increased revenue YOY, you say increased revenue by x% or $ amount YOY (and then how you met the challenge) by devising innovative go-to-market strategies.) Focus on the outcome not the effort.

Now you need to determine how you are going to use your newly crafted resume that is authentic to who you are and the unique value you offer!

> Based on your target audience (industries), you need to determine what job search methods/mediums you will be deploying. Here’s what you need to know …

  • 9% of job seekers search by job board, 32.1% search career sites, and 6.9% check referral programs (source: Jobvite).
  • Research shows 68% of available jobs are never posted online. (source: StatisticBrain).
  • Only 1% of job seekers who send their resume blindly to every job that pops up are successful vs. 9% who send their resume to targeted companies. (source: StatisticBrain).

> Networking is a key component. Elevate your visibility on LinkedIn, get involved with professional associations, and connect with old friends and colleagues.

  • Spend time each day being professionally active –follow your target companies and join groups on LinkedIn; “like” and comment on discussions, and post articles relevant to your profession.
  • Keep your online discussions, comments, and photos professional! Remember, employers use SM to vet candidates. Keep everything in good taste and edgy opinions to yourself.
  • Leverage social media platforms like Twitter to further establish yourself as an expert in your field and attract employers who are hiring.

Be proactive. The old saying is “People don’t plan to fail. They fail to plan.” Take the time to clarify who you are, the value you offer, your target audience, and a plan for your job search! In the end, the decisions you make affect your career success –if you don’t have a plan for where you are going, you shouldn’t be surprised at where you end up or how long it takes you to get there!

As always, my mission is to help YOU build your authentic brand –one that will put you ahead of your competition and help you gain clarity, confidence, and control of your job search.

Be bold and set yourself apart!

Tammy Shoup is a Certified Master Resume Writer and career storyteller who helps career professionals, thought leaders, rising stars, and high-level executives create branded resumes that demonstrate their unique value, engage their target audience, and give them a competitive edge in their field. She is a multi-certified advanced resume writer with 20 years’ experience writing words that change lives.