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Four Job Search Questions

I get a lot of questions these days from frustrated job seekers, who want to know how to get noticed by employers, how to network more effectively, etc.

After poring over my email inbox for the last 30 days, I picked four commonly asked questions that really resonate for this month.

If you or someone you know is in the job market now, chances are one or more of these questions (and answers) will apply to you.

So here they are ...

Question 1: "With so many other candidates sending in resumes these days, how can I get mine noticed?"

Answer: Itís always been important to focus your resume on results and use compelling language. Nowadays, itís more than important - itís essential.

You can do two things today to improve your resume and your chances of getting noticed:

  1. Focus on the results of what happened when you did your job well. Not the duties, not the responsibilities - the specific results. To do this, look at how you did your job and what good things resulted when you did it well.

    Hereís a quick "before" and "after" example from one resume that worked like a charm.

    BEFORE

    Cleaned up Microsoft Access database.

    AFTER

    Helped retain $20-million contract with top client after working 16-hour days for four months to clean up Access database and repair reporting problem using Excel and Crystal Reports.

    See the difference?

  2. Understand that the purpose of the first line in your resume is to make employers read the second. The purpose of the second line is to Ö you get the idea.

    NEVER assume hiring managers will wade through a text-heavy magnum opus to discover on page 3 that you cut costs by $35,000 last year. Not when they have 200-300 other resumes to read.

    If itís critical that readers know something about you that makes you the ideal candidate, put it near the top of page one, or at least mention it there, and go into detail later.

Question 2: "How can I find inside contacts in a company I want to work for when I don't know anyone who works there?"

Answer: Try to come at them from all angles.

For example, although you may not know anyone who works at Company X, you do know about 250 people, if youíre at all average.

And the 250 people you know, know 250 others. Thatís 62,500 people. Chances are, one of them is connected somehow to Company X.

If not, find out who the suppliers and customers of Company X are. Use your network to get an introduction at one of those firms. Then move back up the food chain and get an introduction at Company X.

As a final suggestion, the Vault Web site (www.vault.com) is a great networking resource you can use to meet people in companies nationwide.

Question 3: "What industries are doing well in this economy?"

Answer: To find out what the demand for certain jobs is, search for openings at the top job websites. Experiment using a variety of terms.

Examples: a search at www.monster.com for "registered nurse" pulled up 2082 openings nationwide, while a search for "art teacher" returned 71.

If you don't find a good number of openings, try new search terms. If pickings are still slim ... consider a career switch.

Question 4: "I've tried networking, but it didn't work."

Answer: Thatís like saying, "I tried skiing, but it didn't work. I kept falling down the mountain."

Sure you tried networking. But did you try doing it right?

Now, go out and make your own luck!

-Kevin Donlin
Copyright © 2003 by Kevin Donlin Kevin Donlin owns and operates Guaranteed Resumes. Since 1995, he has provided resumes, cover letters and online job-search assistance to clients on five continents.

Kevin has been interviewed by WCCO and WLTE radio, and KMSP TV, among others. His articles have appeared in the National Business Employment Weekly, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Twin Cities Employment Weekly and others.

As a reader of this publication, you're eligible for a special offer. Get your Free Job Search Kit ($25.00 value) at the Guaranteed Resumes Web site www.gresumes.com