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By Susan Hoffman
Contributor, Online Career Tips
A job search can sometimes last for months. The wait feels especially long when you’re unemployed, your bank account is shrinking and you’re anxious to get back to work.
However, why a company hires someone instead of you often has nothing to do with you personally. It could be that the company prefers to promote an insider or wants the new hire to be a personal referral from a current employee. Maybe that prospective employer put out a job ad and then later decided to cut the budget and stop hiring for a while.
But if you’ve made yourself into the best possible candidate, polished your resume and LinkedIn profile, and are still having trouble landing a job, it may be time to reassess what you’re doing. Consider the following questions:
1. Is there a true demand for the skills you offer in your area? For example, think about going to networking groups to hear about what skills are most needed in your community and what business needs are not being served. If there is an overabundance of people with your skills in your community, maybe it’s time to seek employment in other areas where people with your abilities are more scarce.
2. How do members of your networking groups see you? For instance, do others know your personal brand and what distinguishes you from similar people in your field? When people in a networking group talk about a particular area of expertise, does your name immediately come to mind as being an expert in that area? Try asking your fellow members for feedback on how you come across to other people.
3. Have you checked to see what are the hottest, most in-demand skills in your industry? Maybe it’s time to shift your career direction and acquire some new skills or certifications during your job search.
4. Have you thoroughly researched your prospective employer to the point where you could give a quick description of the company on demand? Read more than the company website. Look at press releases, LinkedIn profiles of company employees, Glassdoor reviews, and other online material published about the company. Knowing all of this information will come in handy when you land an interview.
5. Has your resume been adapted for applicant tracking systems? Many companies use this software to screen out resumes from candidates who lack the right skills for the job. These days, it’s not enough to simply tailor your resume for the job, but your resume also needs to make it through an applicant tracking system.
6. Does your LinkedIn profile contain the right keywords for someone in your industry and show a track record of success? Sometimes, LinkedIn members use unusual terms such as “ninja,” “guru,” and “rock star” to describe themselves. But LinkedIn is similar to a search engine like Google; it tries to find the closest possible match to the search term someone types into the search box. Be sure that keywords associated with what you do are in your profile and make sure that your experience reflects your business success.
7. Have you practiced interviewing by video? Some companies have turned to using Skype to conduct interviews with candidates. Think about conducting a practice interview with a friend to see how you come across on a webcam.
University Resources Are Available for Your Job Search
The university’s Career Services department offers many resources for job seekers, including virtual career fairs, resume reviews and mock interviews. If you’re experiencing problems with your job search and are currently an active AMU/APU student or alumnus, consider talking with one of our career coaches for more information.