If securing a new opportunity is one of your New Year’s resolutions for 2019, it’s time to start thinking about what you have to do in preparation. As search consultants, we understand what a monumental task this can seem like. But, because we work with candidates every day in exploring opportunities with our clients, we also know the steps involved and thought we’d share them with you, as well as few tips, so that you have a ready-made list to work from. This should make it a little bit easier...
While you’d like to be in denial about this, it’s real. It has to be done so jump right in and get it done. Regardless of whether or not you have updated your resume in the last five years, you will want to do a complete 'refurbish'. Even though there is a shortage of talent in the AEC (architecture, engineering, and construction) and facilities sectors, it’s still extremely competitive. Prospective employers expect you to customize your resume for them and for a specific role. Therefore, take a good, hard look at your resume. If you were a hiring manager and your resume came through, would you give it a second glance? Would you be interested in talking to you?
Resumes can be in various formats but, it's best to keep it clean, easy to review, and with little extra formatting. That way, you can be sure that, regardless of the program the prospective employer uses, it will look correct on their end. The key thing you want to include and make sure they stand out are your accomplishments! And, the more quantitative they are, the better. Sell yourself! (Read 4 Tips for Getting Noticed by Recruiters for more insight.)
To make sending your resume a whole lot easier when you find an opportunity that interests you, have a basic cover letter ready. You can customize it with every resume you send. We don’t mean customize as in changing the employer name and the recipient of the note. We mean create a paragraph that briefly describes why you are interested in the specific role and the organization. Don't be shy about mentioning your applicable soft skills either. In other words, let it be known that you’ve given initial thought to the position and what you could bring to it, and why you want to work for the company. Our post on resume cover letters can provide more insight and guidance for you.
If you have a LinkedIn profile (and you should in this day and age), make sure it’s updated with a recent professional photo, customized header, and summary. Previous employers and titles should be noted even though it’s not necessary to include what you did in your previous roles. While there are still some professionals out there who aren’t on LinkedIn, it’s probably because they have very senior roles, and they have already accomplished much success in their careers. In other words, they have no need for LinkedIn. For the rest of us – a strong, updated LinkedIn profile is a necessity. Don’t, for one second, think that a prospective employer won’t look you up on LinkedIn, if only to see if you are career-minded and made the effort to update your profile. As far as other social media platforms, we assume you know the drill. If there are incriminating or questionable photos and posts, do yourself a favor - remove them.
There’s no question that many new jobs are acquired through a person’s own professional network. So, don’t be shy about reaching out to people you know who may be able to introduce you to prospective employers. You can still keep your job search confidential by just telling them you’d rather not make it public that you’re looking. To support your efforts, you can also reach out to executive search firms that specialize in your job function/expertise and/or industry. If you’re going to spend time doing this, it’s best and most efficient to connect with recruiters who are specialists. Most will understand what you’re qualified for and what types organizations will be applicable – much more so than generalists. Just type some key words into Google to find relevant firms and read our post on how to find executive search firms and consultants.
This is often surprising to people. They don't readily think of applying to different types of organizations. If you’re really looking for a change, doing so could really expand your horizons and progress your career in ways you hadn’t considered before. This can also be done with recruiters who specialize in your job function but not necessarily in your current industry.
So, there you have them – the most important five things you need to do to find a new career opportunity in 2019. The New Year is right around the corner – so you may as well start knocking these out. You’ll be happy you did.
Just think – you could be settled into your next endeavor by the end of Q1 ’19! Wouldn't that be awesome?!