Is Your Job Search So 2020?

Is Your Job Search So 2020?
If you have not looked for a job in the past several years, your job search probably needs a refresh. Here's how to do it.

It's late fall/early winter. Suddenly, you begin to put all the hints and signals together. That promotion you were counting on is most likely going to one of your colleagues, not you. After you rehash what is probably going to happen and why, you decide that it's time to move on. A change of scenery and new challenges will do you a world of good, right? Absolutely. Now, how do you make it happen?

First of all, it dawns on you that your curriculum vitae is outdated. You haven't revised your resume in years. Sadly, you realize that your resume and other job-searching skills are so, well, 2020. What are you going to do? Not to worry. Here are some strategies for the very competitive job market of today.

Get involved. Stay involved.

Hopefully, you decided to get involved when you arrived at St. Swithin's five years ago. I'm not talking about involvement at school. That's expected. Indeed it is probably a contractual obligation. What I have in mind is your involvement in local community activities. For example, belonging to a service club or singing in the local choral society gets you out meeting people. Did you attend any workshops offered by your state independent school association? Better yet, did you help organize a workshop? What about those regional, state or national conferences in your subject area? Yes, attending these kinds of professional gatherings requires time and effort and no small expense. But you need to get your brand out where people can see it and experience it.

Unfortunately, getting involved is not a quick fix for your immediate situation. But at the very least, begin to take steps wherever and whenever you can to get more involved professionally. The wider you cast your net, the better the results.

Get connected.

Years ago, Facebook was around. So was Twitter, now known as X. But you probably thought they were for hardcore social networking addicts. Since then, Facebook and Twitter have empowered people everywhere in the world. The Arab Spring, for example, would have never gotten the traction it did without social media. Facebook has groups. Find one that appeals to your professional interests. A professional level of discourse, information, and research, just like you'd expect to find at a conference, is what you should hope to find and maintain within a Facebook group. If no Facebook group meets your professional requirements, create one and invite other like-minded people to join.

This video shows how companies use social media to vet applicants.

Be careful to set a polite, inoffensive tone on your Facebook page. You never know which trusted friend or family member might decide to share your posts and pictures. Assume that anything electronic can and will be shared. Facebook posts, tweets, texts, emails - the lot.

Social media is the new meeting place. It's easy to use, has an enormous reach, and isn't expensive. Nobody's expecting you to post three or four times a day. That's not necessary. Be strategic with your posts. Post something worthwhile. Imagine that a friend is sitting across the table from you, and you are telling her about some exciting new research you just discovered or a great new book. Whatever you feel is professionally worthwhile is the stuff you share on Facebook.

What about X? Remember that the 250-character limit makes your tweets short—like the bursts of information they are and were designed to be. Tweets are great for congratulating your colleagues on achievements, noting special occasions, and so on. Limit your tweets. Nobody needs to be bombarded every few minutes with your thoughts. On the other hand, if what you are tweeting is newsworthy and relevant, then tweet as necessary.

LinkedIn? It's social media for business and professional people. It's enjoying widespread acceptance because it filters out much of the static that Facebook and X are famous for. LinkedIn members are there to talk about their achievements in their professional lives and careers. They are there to share information and experiences with their colleagues. Many private schools have their groups on their LinkedIn pages. Take advantage of those. You will know somebody who can invite you to join.

Being connected is a critical part of your job search and career advancement. Ignore it at your peril. Your network is usually the best way to find out about openings and opportunities in other schools. Sometimes, openings arise because of retirements and advancements. Sometimes, openings occur because a school decides to add a program or revamp its organizational structure. When you stay in touch with your network, you will hear about openings and opportunities almost as they happen.

Update your curriculum vitae and your resume.

You have your curriculum vitae and resume stored on your computer anyway. Add new entries to your CV once a year or more frequently if necessary. Your CV is a chronological record of everything you do and have done professionally. When you add events, honors, and all those other professional achievements as they occur, it is much easier to keep track of them than trying to remember all those events and the times when they occurred.

Here are some resume and curriculum vitae writing basics.

Your resume will probably remain fairly static. Of course, it needs current employment and academic information, but it should also be customized for a specific job opening. Resumes are not one-size-fits-all documents.

An up-to-date approach to job searching makes good sense these days. It will help you get the exposure you need to compete effectively for whatever job openings are out there. Embrace and implement the suggestions I have laid out above. If you use a cafeteria approach and merely select the points you like or are comfortable with, you will probably not have the success you are looking for.

Find a mentor

I have laid out a road map for you. The next step is finding a mentor to help you find the desired job. Your mentor needs to be a friend or family member you can trust. She is the kind of person who can review your resume and cover letter and suggest the tweaks they need but which you might have overlooked. Use your mentor as a second set of eyes.

Your mentor can help you with interview preparation. Preparing for that first interview is critically important if you have not interviewed for a position in several years. Then, when the real thing occurs, you will be confident and focused. In a very competitive job market, you can assume that the other candidates will have prepped as carefully as you have.

Willo O'Brien explains how career mentoring works.

Your mentor will inject realism into any off-the-wall ideas you may have about your capabilities and the location of that new position. It's one thing to move to the next town. But moving across the country is a different matter. You may think you are a good candidate for an administrative position. But if you don't have the qualifications and experience, perhaps you better set your sights on another position. Your mentor will help you clarify your thinking. Finding a position in today's job market requires up-to-date resumes and curriculum vitae. It also requires a robust network of friends, colleagues, and a trusted mentor. Good luck!

Questions? Contact us on Facebook. @privateschoolreview

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