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Top 5 Job Search Hacks

Sean Weinberg | May 24, 2011

Being in a job search sucks, and standing out from the crowd is nearly impossible. Here are some tips and tricks for hacking your way to a better job search. None of these alone will get you a job, but they will help you take some power back from the employers.


1.) Use an email marketing program (i.e. Constant Contact, Mail Chimp, Vertical Response) to email your job applications.

Most email programs have either free trial periods or give permanent free usage to low volume users (if you email out more applications than they give you for free, you’re doing something wrong). There are a few solid reasons to do this. You can track opens, clicks, unsubscribes (you should include that ability for reasons I’ll go into below), forwards and more. One of the most frustrating parts of a jobs search is not knowing if anyone even saw your application. This minimizes that frustration, even though none of these programs are 100% accurate.

2.) Include a hyperlinked Call-to-Action (CTA) in the email.

You know that unsubscribe link I mentioned above? Include it. But don’t just stop there. Add a few lines of hyperlinked text (have it auto-populate an email and subject line to you) with a menu of options to make it easy for potential employers to give you feedback. Try a few of these:

  • Let’s schedule an interview!
  • Hmmm, looks interesting, but we’re not sure you’re a fit. Can you tell me more?
  • The position is on hold for now.
  • We’re no longer hiring for that position.
  • You’re not a fit for the position
  • We don’t accept email submissions
  • We’re trained monkeys and aren’t actually reading your email.

3.) Become a Guest Blogger.

Everyone knows you should be blogging, right? Not necessarily. Blogging has never completely taken off as a form of branding for candidates. It’s somewhat risky, very time-consuming, and may be unappealing to potential employers. They don’t want to worry about what you may say about them. But you know what’s much better? Guest blogging. Here’s why:

  • It limits your online exposure, so feels less risky to employers
  • It takes much less time to have a committed guest posting relationship,
  • It brands you as an expert. Anybody can throw up a blog, but if you really want to create the perception of value have other people validate it. Pump your resume up with hyperlinks to guest posts you’ve written that are even vaguely connected to your core skills set/ expertise.  Employers will be impressed.

4.) Go to someone else:

If you’ve applied to a job, maybe even had a phone call or connected on LinkedIn with a hiring manager, but nothing happened after that – go to someone else in the company. Now this is also a risky one, but can be remarkably effective. Don’t assume that the hiring process at the companies you’ve applied to is anything approaching efficient. 9 times out of 10, it isn’t.  So you’ve got to approach it like a sales person. Good sales people track down multiple people in a company because they know that power, memory, efficiency and speed are attributes that are generally spread across an organization. I’ve heard many sales people (and job seekers) complain about losing a deal because their contact at the company left. But you should always have more than one contact at the company. Because you never know if you’re really talking to the right person until you close the deal.

5.) Don’t put your resume on the big job boards:

This isn’t so much as hack as a practical warning. If you’re looking for a position at all beyond entry-level, skip Monster and CareerBuilder. There are myriad reasons why but the long and short of it is, hiring managers look down on people who make their resumes searchable on the job boards. It’s like dating; you don’t want to appear too available. The corollary to this is do put your resume on the niche job boards. Again, it’s all about targeting, and appearing to be a known commodity within a limited community.

6.) Surprise! A 6th one! Check out some awesome new tech: Now, obviously I want you to use www.rezscore.com to grade your resume, but there are a few other really interesting sites you can use to optimize parts of your job search.

  • Resunate -Automatic resume focusing
  • Evisors - On demand advice for jobseekers
  • CVCertify – Carfax for resumes (launching this summer I think)
  • CareerCup – Awesome guides to handling technical interviews
  • StartWire - Application tracking system for candidates
  • Resume Bucket – Free resume hosting

Got any other suggestions?

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Category: Internships, Jobs

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