To increase your opportunities to move ahead, try implementing the success strategies that my clients have used to land their new jobs:
1. Build a career on your strengths. You have natural talents you were born with. These talents are the things you find easy to do. Maybe it's teaching or writing. Maybe it's designing, selling, or helping people. You have numerous strengths so list all your talents, including things that others compliment you on. If you begin to use your mastered strengths on the job daily, you'll move up faster, find better jobs, and be paid a higher salary as a result, so make using your talents the basis for any position you choose to pursue.
2. Figure out exactly what you want to DO before you apply. Amazingly many people fail to clearly define the specific job they can do and waste days and weeks job hunting and getting nowhere. Investigate all the various careers you might be able to do. Carefully weigh what work tasks you like to do, and which tasks you dislike, and analyze your current skill set, training level, and accomplishments to date. Go online and investigate new fields, industries, and potential careers. Narrow down the options and create a short list of jobs you love to do. Then conduct comprehensive interviews with individuals who work at these exact jobs to get the real facts and insight into what that career is really like. Evaluate growth opportunities, salaries, benefits, and then, when you are sure where you want to go, determine the best job title to target. If you are stuck or need more help, career counseling might be valuable, option. Or, for starters, read my popular book, "What to Do with The Rest of Your Life."
3. Cover letters are critical -- be sure you use one -- in addition to an attention-getting resume. Employers want to see specific results and accomplishments in resumes and in your cover letter. Typical opening sentences like, "I'm applying for the job I saw on your website." OR "I really want to work for your company." are ineffective according to the survey results. The cover letter and resume only get a 15-second glance, so your first line either grabs the reader's attention or loses it. Hiring managers overwhelming prefer you use a powerful customized first sentence that summarizes the top skills and experience you can bring to the job. For example, "Five years experience as project manager ... " is a good opening. The cover letter is a sample of your communication skills, and can be influential in getting you an interview, so make your cover letter is outstanding. Be sure to hit your key background and accomplishments in a few bullet points to get the potential employer to call you in for an interview. And make sure that your resume screams, "I'm a get-the-job-done kind of person." Click to take our Resume Assessment Quiz to see if your resume stands out.
4. Use a verbal business card. Start the interview in the best possible way: when the interviewer asks the, "Tell me about yourself." question, forget about giving them your autobiography. Use the 60 Second Sell outlined in my book "60 Seconds and You're Hired!" This technique suggests that you analyze the job duties the employer wants accomplished, then select your top five selling points -- your strongest abilities, experience and skills -- that will demonstrate that you can do the job better than the next applicant. Link these five points together into a few sentences and you have created a "verbal business card" that is the most effective way to begin and to close the interview. Keep the momentum going with well-prepared answers to questions and practice before you ever face the interviewer.
5. Pre-determine some specific examples of your past performance. Expect to get the tricky, situational questions, i.e. "Describe a mistake you made at work in the last month." and have prepared answers showing how you have solved problems on your job in the past. Keep the answers short -- no more than 60 seconds.
6. Negotiate the salary. The biggest salary increases are the result of negotiating effectively with the new employer. Know exactly what your skills are worth in the marketplace so you do not undersell yourself. If you aren't certain click here for resources+ tools to use. Never mention money first. Wait until the position is offered. This preserves your negotiation power.
A terrific future is just ahead, so go for it!