Is it smarter to focus on landing a job or on getting interviews?
Answer: Focus on getting interviews with someone that can hire you. If you focus mainly on getting a job, you might inadvertently do something that spoils your chances of getting interviews, e.g., sending a resume to HR.
Should I hire a resume writer?
Answer: Since you only need a standard resume, why pay someone for that?
Should I contact recruiters?
Answer: Only if they contact you first or if you see a job listing they posted and it’s the same or nearly the same as your current/recent position.
If I don’t send a resume immediately, is the game over?
Answer: No. First, most good jobs are rarely filled very quickly. HR may stop accepting resumes in a matter of a few days. However, you shouldn’t apply via resumes to HR. Instead, you should send a letter (only) directly to the hiring authority. Wait at least a week before you send it. That way you’ll be like a breath of fresh air after all of those “me too” applicants.
Should I be tested to identify my strengths?
Answer: By now, surely you know what yours are.
Which is more important to the hiring authority: education, experience, accomplishments, or the capabilities you can bring to the table?
Answer: Capabilities. Your education, experience, and (relevant) accomplishments are each important; however, what you can do to help the hiring authority reach her/his business financial goals faster is the most important qualification you possess. All of the others are from the past and may or may not be seen as very relevant. You want the focus to be on the future. Let others try the “me too, only more” tactic. Their doing so (and most other applicants will) forces the hiring authority to have to figure out the relevancy of those factors — and a busy hiring authority may simply not take much time to do that.
What is the most effective way to differentiate your candidacy?
Answer: Communicating an offer to be of service. Most applicants will be making an attempt to sell their services.
Should I do networking in my job search?
Answer: Yes. You should give yourself every possible advantage in a job search. Don’t be shy. Your networking group leader surely has a lot of contacts. Let them know you’re ready for a better full-time job, and ask them to call or write some hiring authorities and set up some f2f meetings for you. After all, isn’t networking all about being helpful?
Should I secure professional career marketing assistance?
Answer: If your severance package includes outplacement assistance, use it. If you aren’t exactly sure how to market yourself successfully or you just want to avoid a long search and the risks of mediocre results, you should definitely secure professional help from an expert in executive marketing. The problem with most so-called career marketing or career management firms is that they only “manage” a job search. They redo resumes, provide lists of recruiters, and provide interviews coaching. When it comes to actually figuring out the best way to market you so that you get interviews directly with hiring authorities, they only provide very generalized advice. The burden of actually securing interviews is still left squarely on your shoulders. When you want to get a high-compensation job, you should get help — but friends and contacts are rarely experts in knowing how to effectively and personally help someone else secure a new job. Besides, they don’t have the time to devote to your personal situation. All successful politicians and even most lawyers know it’s hard to be completely objective about oneself, so they get personal, professional marketing assistance.
Why should I hire you?
Answer: Because I’ll do the job exactly the way that you want it done!
Remember: The better candidate doesn’t win. The best marketer does.
Tom Kellum is a job hunting consultant, helping people's dreams come true since 1987. He specializes in providing a personal job-landing service based on proven marketing strategies and methods. For more information, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.