Five Tips for Job Seekers

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2014 is off to a fast start!  Your goals for 2014 are outlined and you’re clear on your company’s direction.  Everything’s great- right?  Ummmm….

Some of you may be anxiously awaiting word on 2013 comp/bonus, which is usually delivered in March.  Others may feel good about the work they are producing, but have come to the realization that your company is not performing on the level the executives tout. Worst yet, you’ve decided that although you love your co-workers and the company, you just can’t stomach another year being micro-managed by your boss. There’s a saying that employees don’t leave companies, they leave their managers. US Department of Labor reports that the average tenure of an employee is 1.5 years and most report its not due to salary/comp but a gap in their manager’s engagement/empathy or a lack of a career path.

The good news is that experts are predicting real improvement in the job market in 2014.

Five Tips for Job Seekers

Spend some time thinking about what is your passion and what do you really want to do.

For me, its change management, organization transformation, enterprise collaboration, driving team performance and coaching early career talent. When do you feel most alive? Performing at your best? What are your long-term goals?

I’m always willing to help job seekers, but I get frustrated when I get a vague response to simple questions , such as- “What do you want to do? What are good at?” Do NOT answer, “I’ll do anything.”  Or, “I’m good at a lot of stuff, just what ever you need me to do.”  Be specific as possible- say, “I’m a highly motivated individual looking for an mid-level position in marketing or economic development.  I have strong communication, organization and negotiation skills.”

Update your resume and include your latest accomplishments.

Highlight your skills that are transferable. Look up job descriptions online for roles that pique your interest and that integrate language along with key words into your resume.

Don’t spend hours word-smithing! Most recruiters will spend 5-7 seconds looking at your resume!  Correct any typos and make sure that you list a professional email address (Nix!)  Have a strong objective, list out your skills, accomplishments in your current role and include your education at the bottom.

Update your Linked in profile.

Most recruiters/future employers will look at your profile for key words, experiences, background, etc.  If you need help on your Linked In profile, (I’d suggest reading Jan Wallen’s book, “Mastering LinkedIn in 7 days or Less.”)

An estimated 33% of candidates are rejected based on information that the recruiters found online.  Make sure all of your social media profiles are a positive representation of who you are.  It’s important to be deliberate and thoughtful in your posts to give people a sense of how/what you think about.

Make a list of companies that you’d really like to work for.

Think big! Group them by the places that you want to live.  Do not limit yourself by industry- your expertise is transferable and can span different industries.

Look at “Fast Company” for companies in “high growth” mode, or check out Working Mother Media’s Top 100 companies or Glassdoor’s Top Fifty Medium size companies list.

Think out how to expand your networking to get in front of the right people.

Once you have your target list, leverage your network to get introductions.  Applying online can be a “black hole” so whenever possible as your contact to provide an introduction to the recruiter at the target company.

Set up coffee appointments JUST to get to know people. It’s important to expand your network and connect professionally.  Also, make sure that you ask, “How can I help you?” Networking is a two-way street.  Even if you’re not in a position to help advance someone’s career, they’ll be happy that you offered.

An average of 250 resumes are received for each job posting.  Better position yourself by thinking through your value proposition, developing a target list of companies and leveraging your network to get in front of the right people.

What job seeking strategies can you share? I’d love to expand this list!  I welcome your comments, and good luck!

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Lisa Bonner

Lisa Bonner is an experienced change agent and Senior Vice President with Roberts Golden Consulting. She helps global Fortune 500 companies solve organizational issues and manage major changes to drive achievement of bold business objectives. Lisa is passionate about football, fitness, decorating and raising twin boys. Connect with Lisa.

Reader Interactions


  1. Lisa - Good.Co says

    I have to respectfully disagree with point number one on your list. Not everyone has a passion; many people never will, and that’s just fine for all concerned. However, I wholeheartedly agree that, at some point, a choice of direction should be made, if only to simplify the job-hunting process. If you find yourself frustrated with job seekers who have not made that choice yet, I invite you to imagine how they feel – especially if they currently have no job at all. Having been on their side of the table more frequently than I’d like, and having been met with frustrated sighs when confessing my lack of focus, I can say that what I would have appreciated was a bit of guidance in that regard. To that end, I invite the focus-less to take the always free, ever easy, 3-minute personal assessment on the Good.Co website. You may not discover a passion, but you might take your first steps to finding one. Or not.
    Cheers! Lisa Chatroop, Good.Co

  2. Kevin Jones says

    I agree with the comment that, “Not everyone has a passion.” Why? Because there are some who have dipped so far into mediocrity that they have forgotten what it was they were passionate about. Either that or they don’t want to admit it because they don’t think that their passion will do anything for them.

    Passion is like a living organism – it must be fed or it will wither and die. So, yes, not everyone has one, but everyone who does not have one can quickly remember what it was that they were passionate about and act on it.

    Passion is not a gift given to some and not to others. It is always there and must be nurtured. Or you can ignore it and it will die.


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