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Building a Strong Job Search Chain

A chain is only as effective as its weakest link—and you don’t know which link is weak until the chain is tested.  If your job search is falling short, one of your job-search skills may be the weak link.  By analyzing your chain of job search skills, you can build a stronger chain, one that can stand up to any test.

There are three critical links in your job search chain.  Consider each of them carefully to determine your weakest link, then work to strengthen that link.
Link #1:  Resume and Cover Letter  
If your resume and cover letter aren’t attracting attention and generating interviews, this may be your weakest link.  A quality resume should:
Sell your best transferable skills
Support those skills with bottom-line impacts and achievements 
Be easy to understand at a glance, without dense reading
Have an easy-to-read format with a clear outline
Not typecast you into an industry or job you are trying to leave
Focus on only one career objective
An effective cover letter should: 
Support but not repeat the resume
Not sound like a form letter
Not start every sentence with I, Me, or My
Focus on the hiring motives of the reader
If your weakest link is your resume and cover letter, you may want to consider investing in a professional resume writer.  Many of them have experience in Human Resources and recruiting, so they know what hiring managers are looking for and the best way to present that information.
Link #2:  Resume Exposure
Even the best resume will fail to generate interviews if it doesn’t reach a wide enough target audience. To a certain degree, generating interviews is a numbers game.  If the resume is effective to begin with, then the more resumes you send out, the more interviews you will win.  
How much exposure is enough for your resume?  The answer is subjective, but you’ll definitely increase your exposure by using the following methods and online tools:
Post your resume on the appropriate job boards and social media
Proactively target your resume to prospective employers
Proactively send your resume to industry specific recruiters
Use job board profile options to have job postings emailed to you on a regular basis
Utilize your existing network or build a stronger network of industry and occupational contacts to uncover job leads
If resume exposure is your weakest link, review the articles available on the web to write a compelling resume 
Link #3:  Interview Skills
If your resume is fine and you are getting plenty of first interviews—but no second ones—then your interview skills may be your weakest link. 
To analyze the strength of your interview skills, ask yourself the following: 
Have I adequately researched this company prior to the interview?
Am I prepared to answer tough questions?
Do I know what questions they might ask, or do I find myself stumped by questions I didn’t expect?
Do I know what kinds of questions to ask in order to gain insight into important hiring motives?
Do I know how to uncover any concerns that might prevent a job offer?
Am I a good interview closer?
If interview skills are your weakest link, you’ll receive more job offers by investing in interview coaching with a career expert.  
By strengthening each link of your job-search chain, you’ll avoid months of frustrating, ineffective effort.  With each link strong enough to support your career objective you’ll win your dream job with confidence.

Deborah Walker, CCMC is a Resume Writer & Career Coach.