Friday, May 15, 2009

TMI, advice, opinions & other confusion for job seekers

These days, there may seem to be a shortage of jobs, but absolutely no shortage of information on how to get one! Recently, I’ve noticed an influx of experts touting all sorts of solutions for job seekers. Various sources of advice label themselves with clever and mysterious sounding titles such as maven, guru, evangelist, and so on…

What stands out is how abundant and contradictory all of their information has become. The phrase “TMI” comes to mind as in “too much information” for when you cringe while hearing something unnecessary, inappropriate and uncomfortable. Likewise, the saying “opinions are like _____, everyone has one and they all stink!” also seems fitting to describe this phenomenon.

For example, many articles, blogs, websites and newsletters cover tips for using job boards, how many pages a resume should be, having a supplemental version of a resume, using social media networking etc. Here are a few selected points I’ve gathered to illustrate the conundrum facing job seekers:

Using online job boards is one of the most effective ways to get a job
Don’t bother with job boards - no one gets hired that way any more

Post your resume as many places as possible for maximum exposure with recruiters
Control where you post your resume, don’t post to the main job boards

Job seekers must identify and work with recruiters for their industry
Recruiters can’t be trusted and only serve their clients, not job seekers

Professionals should have a 1-2 page resume
With significant experience or expertise, 3-4 pages is the appropriate resume length
Keep your resume to one page maximum

Everyone should have a supplemental version of their resume for networking
If your resume is effective, you don’t need an extra piece of paper for special events

Most people get jobs through networking
Traditional methods help more people find jobs than networking

Creating an “elevator pitch” is essential for job seekers
Job seekers should stop using elevator pitches and start using “solution” speeches

If you are not using twitter, you are missing out
Twitter is a waste of time

Your facebook page will only hurt you in your job seekers
Facebook can be a great way to share information about your job search

LinkedIn is the best professional networking tool and should be used by all job seekers
The jury is still out on whether LinkedIn is a valuable connector for job seekers and employers

With so much free information out there, job seekers are able to prepare and conduct successful job searches all by themselves
Job seekers should seek professional expertise to ensure an effective job search

Obviously, these samples have been paraphrased and taken out of context, but they are actual representations of available information. So, what does it all mean? Which version of the opinion(s) does one believe?

Well, my take on this is that it depends… Sure, that is a weak answer, but really truth can be found in most of the above statements. Each person is unique and has circumstances that might make one idea effective today, while a month from now the opposite would be a better option.

Bottom line, my suggestion is that job seekers keep informed about the rapidly changing job market and make decisions based on what works for them. If results aren’t coming quick enough it might make sense to invest in a new strategy and continue to refine it until the right blend is in place.

TalentTalks helps individuals and groups optimize their talent. Our talent coaching consists of personalized support, professional branding, techniques and strategies to make job seekers stand out from the competition and maximize their return on investment.

As a job seeker in these competitive times, can you afford not to invest in your talent? Remember, most job search expenses are tax deductible. Consult your tax preparer, financial advisor, CPA or the IRS for more information.

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