You’ve got the resume and cover letter written, the LinkedIn profile is up. You’re pumped and ready to find that new job. How hard can it be?

It’ll be easy, because you’re awesome. But it will be even easier if you employ these seven most successful job search strategies according to the career experts consulted by HR consulting firm OI Global Partners.

A press release says, “OI Global Partners surveyed its career consultants throughout North America and developed the following list of the seven most successful job-search strategies being used today.” Here are the strategies.

  1. Customize all communications to fit each prospective employer (selected by 80% of consultants): “Employers are using technology to screen applications and non-customized submissions will not meet the criteria or key words in the job specs,” says OI. Patty Prosser, chair of OI, says, “‘Customize all communications’ does not mean continually customizing your resume. It’s not only time-consuming, but causes more confusion for job seekers when trying to recall which resume was sent to whom. Instead, customize each cover letter based on what qualifications the potential employer is seeking. Include the name of the hiring manager or human resources manager in your cover letter.”

    One hiring manager I know says 90% of applicants don’t customize their communications and those are the first ones she ditches, leaving only 10% to actually consider. I would actually argue that in many cases, you actually should customize your resume, as not all your experience will be relevant to every position.

  2. Learn how to transfer your capabilities to match the desired job opportunity (78%): Prosser says, “You need to be able to state how your skills translate to the new position. Highlight your competencies that match those the employer is seeking. Applicants must demonstrate they can do the job.” An employer might not be able to see how your previous experience will apply to their position and they aren’t going to work for it. Hand it to them.
  3. Remain open to new and different job-search strategies (68%):
    OI refers to working with a career coach, learning about social media, and using a “handbill” – which is essentially a flier advertising yourself, an idea on which I am not at all sold – as some of these strategies. Other tactics might be cold calling, tapping your network, creating a new or different type of application, using a recruit … and whatever else you can come up with yourself.
  4. Develop a comprehensive social media profile with searchable key words (65%): Prosser says, “Employers are relying on technology first and the human touch second. More than 8 out of 10 internal and external recruiters use LinkedIn to search for potential desirable candidates, so you need to be included in LinkedIn searches. Review the LinkedIn profiles of others in your field and/or advertised job descriptions to capture frequently-used “buzz words.” Develop a strong, consistent branding message with searchable key words.”
  5. Have as many face-to-face networking and informational meetings as you can (60%): According to OI, “As many as 80% of new jobs are found in the so-called ‘hidden job market’ – not listed on websites, job boards or with recruiters.” This is why meeting people in person can be effective. You get insider information. Also, once someone has met you they’re more inclined to want to help you (as long as they like you, I mean).
  6. Only target jobs for which you have at least 75% of the stated qualifications (58%): In the era of credential creep, it doesn’t make any sense to insist you have 100% of the qualifications for all positions. That person often doesn’t exist. But if you don’t have at least 75%, you’re just wasting your time. You’ll probably be filtered out through the electronic screeners, and if an employer does see your application, they’ll just be annoyed at your audacity.
  7. Explore temporary and contract work and freelance arrangements (55%): Freelance or contract positions often turn into full-time jobs. Mine did. Also, freelance work can often pay just as well or better than full time work. Some predict that by the year 2020 40% of the American workforce will be contingent. OI also points out that employers don’t look kindly upon resume gaps, and contract work can help fill these.

“These tactics will help people differentiate themselves,” said Prosser. “From their resumes and cover letters, to translating their past experience to new positions, to building strong social media profiles, to acquiring new skills from temporary and freelance jobs – and demonstrate why they would be the best hires.”

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