Recently, I was contacted by a job seeker who was stuck in a prolonged job search. This individual had submitted online application after application and was not hearing back from employers. Month after month, revision after revision, the job search dragged on.

In my opinion, the individual’s resume was too generic (created this way for ease of revision) and their job search plan was flawed. I’m sharing with you the information I shared with them.

If your main job search method is online via job boards, think about this …

On average, 4 million job positions are posted online each month.

60+% of available job are never posted online.

You also need to take into consideration on average 245 people apply to a single online job posting.

As you can see (or maybe you’re living it), blindly applying to every position you come across increases your competition and does not yield very good results! Searching for a job is challenging but, if you’re in a rut, I encourage you to take a step back, create a plan, review your career communications documents (including your LinkedIn profile) and create a plan that will breathe new life into your job search.

h Define Your Job Search Goals & Develop a Strategy. Yes, your ultimate goal is to land a new job but what path are you going to take to get there? Start the process by identifying your professional identity. Are you an architect, engineer, management or IT guru?  What skills and experience do you possess that relate to your profession? What problems are employers within your industry experiencing that you can solve? Use your answers to create a targeted list of employers for which you can put your subject matter expertise to good use.

  • Make a list of companies that interest you. Do your skills and experience align with their needs? How can you help them make a difference? Employer’s hire for their reasons not yours.

Companies hire employees to solve a problem they have. Align your skills and experience and establish yourself as “their” problem solver. #jobsearch (Tweet this.)

  • Be specific when creating your list. Do your values and beliefs align with company culture? Are they in the right area (geographically)? The more specific you are the greater your chances of finding what you are looking for and being happy after you get there.
  • Now develop a step-by-step action plan based on your goals. (Goal) Work for XYZ Company. (Action Plan) Build my visibility and credibility by networking on LinkedIn, joining LinkedIn and other professional groups, posting articles and/or professionally commenting on posts. Further my connections by following industry thought leaders on other social media platforms (Twitter, Company Facebook Pages, Instagram). Attend company-sponsored events.

h Do Your Career Communications Documents Tell Your Story? When you wrote your resume did you fill it with overused words, generic phrases, and job tasks/duties? Look at your resume through the eyes of an employer.

An employer doesn’t have time to determine where you would be a great fit. Take the time to define your career target. #BreakthroughResume (Tweet This)

The old saying goes something like this, “Jack of all trades. Master of none.” If you created your resume with the thought of showing you are open to a wide range of roles because you have a broad range of skills, you need to start over.

  • Take the time to identify what type of role you are looking for and how your skills and experience are in direct alignment with the employer’s needs. Focus on the value you offer by using metrics and the context in which the accomplishment happened.
  • Customize your cover letter to showcase how your experience proves your ability to solve the company’s problems.
  • Companies use applicant tracking systems easing the burden of HR personnel. Make sure your resume is ATS friendly. Steer clear of uploading PDFs and Word documents with graphics, tables, or text boxes. Create a presentation resume and a plain text version for uploading.

h Are Your Social Media Accounts Helping or Hurting You? Employers use social media to screen out candidates. Be mindful of what you post, comment on, and upload. Google your name (what comes up?) and audit your accounts. First impressions count –remove offensive comments and opinions; unfavorable photos; and don’t forget posts and photos you are tagged in.

35% of hiring managers immediately screen out candidates based on what they found on their social networking profiles. (source StatisticBrain).

  • Complete your LinkedIn profile. Make sure your photo is professional and your headline and summary are compelling. Your LinkedIn is an online portfolio and should give the reader a more personal account of who you are –passions, unique skills, qualifications, and experience. It should not be a cut and paste of your resume, but it should maintain your brand message.
  • Build your brand image, share with purpose. What’s going on in your industry? What changes do you see on the horizon? How are you a thought leader in this space?

Give your job search a solid foundation by defining what you want, your professional identity, where you want to work / the work you want to do, and an action plan 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.

Tammy Shoup