1. Welcome to “The Art of Finding Work”

Thank you, and welcome, for reading my column The Art of Finding Work, which I hope will become part of your job search journey.

COVID19 has had a significant impact on the job market. Millions of Canadians have been laid off, had their hours reduced and furloughed. Companies are reassessing if, when, and how they hire. Yes, there are fewer jobs out there, but there are still plenty of jobs—you just need to be strategic in your job search.

Here are my top 5 job search strategies.

  1. Have clear goals.

Reflect on your personal and professional goals. Start by asking yourself:

  • What excites you?
  • What are your non-negotiable “must-haves” for your next position?
  • What are deal-breakers?
  • What’s your minimum salary and benefits requirement?
  • Do you want to work for a start-up or a well-established company?
  • What type of culture are you looking for? (Never underestimate the importance of “cultural fit”.)

By reflecting on how you want your next job to look like, you’ll not be throwing (metaphorically) spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks. You’ll be focusing your time and energy on opportunities that are right for you.

  1. Freshen up your resume and LinkedIn profile.

Surprisingly in 2021, your resume is still the first document hiring managers ask for.

Make sure your resume has a clean format with plenty of white space. Don’t list every job you’ve ever had, just those that are recent and relevant.

Start your resume with a summary of your accomplishments and include any credentials, certifications, and relevant experiences. Highlight your achievements by numerically quantifying accomplishments (i.e., Successfully brought 75 new clients, surpassing the quarterly goal of 50.).

Keep in mind your resume is an organic document. When applying to openings, edit your resume to include phrases in the job description. Many employers use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to filter resumes. If the ATS doesn’t pick up relevant language, your resume will not be selected.

Give this same attention as mentioned above to your LinkedIn profile, along with having a professional profile picture.

  1. Write an enticing cover letter.

Your cover letter has one job: To get the reader to read your resume.

Customize your cover letter for each position you apply to, don’t simply repeat your resume. As with your resume, paraphrase the language found in the job description to show you’re a fit.

Use your cover letter to highlight your most relevant experiences. Don’t focus on what you want, which is obviously a job. Focus on explaining (READ: selling) what value you’d bring to the employer.

  1. Enlist Your Army.

It’s common knowledge most jobs are never advertised—the job postings online are just a fraction of current job openings. Most positions, I’ve read as high as 70%, especially those of senior executive, are filled via professional and personal connections.

Often the word “networking” has a negative connotation—it shouldn’t. Networking is simply connecting with people, the goal being for people to know you professionally and personally, and vice versa. I’m sure you heard the adage, it’s not who you know, it’s who knows you.

Right now, you have a network of people who can help you. Your family friends, neighbors, past colleagues and bosses, alumni, your barber, even your LinkedIn connections—anyone you touch base with regularly or have in the past, is a potential lead to a job opportunity. Start leveraging whatever current network you have while actively expanding your professional network.

Consider using a networking app, such as Invitly, LetsLunch, or Shapr. These apps will help you find professionals in your area who are open to meeting up for coffee or lunch.

  1. Subscribe to job alerts.

There’s no shortage of resources you can use to stay current with job openings. Indeed, Google for Jobs, Eluta, are just a few job boards you can receive job alerts from.

These sites curate from across the Internet job openings, which are then delivered to your inbox every day based on the criteria you specified. This saves you countless hours of not having to search job postings.

In next week’s column, I’ll discuss what is never mentioned, which is good news for job seekers—there’s no universal hiring methodology.