Interested in scoring a job? Or just looking to advance your career potential? It’s not rocket science (unless you’re looking for a job as a rocket scientist, that is). But it is hard work. Everyone knows the importance of building a great resume and preparing for an interview. The real path to a successful career involves a lot more subtle choices, however. If you’re a cleared professional wanting to work on your career, here are a few subtle tips to help you score a job or land your next career opportunity.
1. Log in more often.
A clear way to signal you’re active is to log in and refresh your profile. It’s easy to search jobs without logging in. It’s also possible to apply to jobs directly on a company’s website without logging in. But if you don’t log-in, you’re less likely to be displayed in recruiter search results. If you want a recruiter to contact YOU with that dream job, you need to log into the site. And it’s a good idea to do so regularly.
“I logged in on on a constant basis, maybe twice daily on some days, because I was really motivated to find the right type of job for me,” said Carl Little who recently found a great job using the Cleared Network. “I found the current position that I am so happy with as we speak while on ClearanceJobs.com. I do believe being logged in was great part of the reason I found what I wanted.”
2. Cross pollinate.
Think about your career like an ecosystem. You have to maintain the right balance in order to get ahead. I’ve never understood candidates who attend an in-person networking event with no strategy. Not every event calls for bringing along 15 resumes and an elevator speech. But it’s a good idea to know which companies might be there, which influencers or potential mentors you could link up with, or what career advice you’d like to take away. Just randomly signing up for any career fair isn’t a great job search strategy. But doing your job search homework, identifying companies and recruiters you’d like to meet, and then networking with those individuals at an event – that’s a recipe for career success.
3. Do more of what you love.
This applies to your career life and your job search life. I often hear from candidates who hate some aspect of the job search – building a resume, networking, interviews, etc. In an effort to improve their success, they focus a lot of time on what they consider their weak spots. If resume writing is their bitter pill, they spend hours tweaking it and use multiple review resources to make it better. Little does that candidate realize they may be able to land their dream job at a networking event by dazzling with their quick wit, personality and clearly demonstrated verbal skills. Yes, you need a good resume, too. But your resume may never dazzle, so if there’s another area where you know you shine, work to make that the highlight. If you’re currently employed, the same advice holds. Yes, you need to spend some time building weak skills. But focus on what you’re great at – that’s how you’ll impress.
Keep this tip in mind when it comes to what you include on your resume. Ashamed of your alma mater? Don’t list it. Lead with your skills and certifications instead. A great resume is all about accentuating the positive. If you’re afraid to highlight something, you probably shouldn’t include it.
4. Find an Accountability partner for what you hate.
Let’s say you hate attending networking events. Let’s say every time you register for a networking event it is some waste-of-time sham where you spend your afternoon in a line and don’t meet a single useful contact. Maybe you should let someone else be in charge of the networking schedule. Chances are there is someone in your rolodex who has some skill or affinity you envy. Bite the bullet and ask that person to let you in on their secret. Better yet, make them your partner and work together, whether it’s on tweaking a resume, attending a networking event, or creating a creative profile photo. Chances are if someone is really good at something, they’ll enjoy sharing their gift with you.
5. Know you’re always ‘on.’
Some of the best career advice I’ve ever heard is to always make yourself open to your next great opportunity. Even if you’re happily employed, having this attitude ensures you never ‘rest on your laurels.’ It’s never a good idea to put your career on auto pilot – you need to be actively behind the wheel. That means when a recruiter reaches out with an opportunity – respond. It also means logging in and updating your career profiles. Update your status message with a post about being happily employed – that will let employers considering you for positions know you’re probably not in the market now. But by keeping your profile active, you won’t lose any ground if you find yourself out of a job at the last minute. Even in today’s candidate’s market, contracts can shift, and your personal situation can change. If an employer is able to offer you an opportunity that cuts your commute in half and increases your salary by 10 percent, don’t you want to hear about it? Stay active, stay attentive, and you’ll be looking at a great career.