In this era, getting a job that belongs to your field of interest, or relevant to your profile, is an exhausting process. However, in order to make this easier for those seeking employment, one needs to treat this process as a project and make use of project management skills. There may be a number of issues associated with the process of getting a job, but the ultimate solution is to go through this process by tactfully applying project management tools. One would be able to achieve their targets by treating this process as a project.
In this article, I will present you with a high-level process definition on the ‘getting a job’ process and the steps that need to be taken to optimize this process. However, for this process, project initiation, planning, execution and close-out phases will be discussed in a very concise flowchart in the next article. In order to organize this process and to get maximum success out of it, one needs to understand the process first. For this process, the definition of inputs, tasks and outputs are as follows:
Inputs: Cover letter, Resume, CV and Professional Branding
Activities/task: Online Application, Networking & Marketing
Outputs: Interview, Offer, Job Placement
Now, everyone out there is familiar with this process, but are they aware of the feasibility and effectiveness of each step? Does anyone recognize the fundamentals of this process? The answer is: not many do. Each step in this process has its own weightage and importance and needs to be equally balanced. In this article, I’ll shed light on the effective strategies and tips that are relevant for inputs and activities/task so that maximum results can be achieved in minimum amount of time.
Technology advancement has undoubtedly brought in many benefits, but at the same time it does a bit of damage as well. If one conducts a Google search for resume, cover letter formats and requirements, they will be able to find a bundle of information regarding these inputs. This consequently leaves one in a state of confusion on what to follow or what not to follow, because one doesn’t have time to experiment with different techniques.
Nevertheless, resume coaches and mentors are quite helpful in assisting individuals to organize their inputs and prepare them to start the process. However, I’ll outline and stress on those things which you can’t find through the internet or any other sources.
It is imperative to include a cover letter for an application because it gives a clear and brief overview of a candidate’s skills and requirements that may be relevant to the job. The trick to getting the cover letter right is very simple. Suppose you were to give a present/gift to someone, how would you give it? Ideally, you’ll wrap it in a nice cover to make it look good. Similarly, cover letters can act as those attractive wrappings that can add value to a candidate’s resume.
For graduates: Include achievements and elaborate on practical examples of how you have successfully implemented your skills in different situations. Be careful with the grammar and spelling mistakes, because first impressions count!
For professionals: Choose the target sector that you are interested in and tailor your resume as per required target market skills. For instance, if you have worked in design, manufacturing and maintenance sectors, you could prepare three resumes by highlighting the skills and experience you have in each field separately. This will save you from putting in extra time in modifying resumes for every job application.
This is perhaps the most important part; to explain its importance I always share this example. Get a Nestle water bottle; now remove the paper brand cover of bottle and try to sell it. You will find that no one will buy the unbranded product. Someone might attempt to buy it if the bottle carries the branding of another company, but at lesser price than what a Nestle bottle is actually sold for. Food for thought from this example is: brand identity and brand repute are critical. One must learn to express his/her brand identification (specialized skills) and then develop its repute.
For this process, brand identification is basically one’s resume and existence on professional networks such as LinkedIn. People are often good at creating resumes, however, the trends these days are changing and one is most likely to get a job if they have good brand repute. One can develop their brand repute on professional networks and through networking. Moreover, one can escalate their branding repute by adding people who have share the same skills, have the same profession, and even by connecting with recruiters. By building a professional network, you will be able to ensure that your network is the first to know when you communicate your career updates and achievements.
Online job application
Treat each job as an opportunity by reading the description and matching your skills and interest. This is followed by sending in a professional application for the vacancy (cover letter, CV). One thing important to mention here; often job advertisements mention the contact details of the recruiter or hiring manager. If this is the case with the job you are applying for, it would be ideal if you give them a call to express your interest in the job while simultaneously trying to communicate your brand to them.
If the phone number is not available in the ad, it is possible to run a quick Google search on the hiring company and get contact details. It is then possible for you to make a call and express your interest to the relevant people. Follow up after a week with an email or a call.
Networking & Marketing
There is a saying: “When there is no opportunity, create opportunity.”
Networking and marketing work simultaneously, therefore I’ll explain them together and highlight ways to ensure their effective utilization. Being a professional, there are a few ways through which you can market your brand.
Prepare an email (shout out) as an expression of interest, declaring your brand and giving a brief description of your experience and skills. This is a bit different from a cover letter. Start by sending this to selected people in your professional network list and let them know that you are open to new opportunities. Also prepare a list of companies where you can utilize your skills. From the company website, find an email and express your interest in joining the company by sending in your resume and cover letter. You can also mention the roles, projects or services where your skills could be relevant if you are made a part of organization. You can also reach out to relevant people in the company by calling.
In the end, I would say that it is important for people to remain positive, be organized and always plan ahead. I believe that it is essential to understand the ‘getting a job’ process, plan and execute it as a project. Only then can one have higher chances of securing employment.