Your search for Human Resources jobs will proceed most effectively and quickly if you apportion your time among the high value activities you outlined in your plan for your HR job search. Don’t waste your time on low value activities such as spamming potential employers with applications for Human Resources jobs for which you only marginally qualify. Tweaking that generic resume, just one more time, adds little value to your search for HR jobs; target the resume when you have unearthed a real opportunity for an HR job.
I spoke recently with a marketing executive who had been out of work for almost eighteen months. As I understood her job search, she spent her mornings applying for jobs at the big online job boards. She tweaked her cover letter and resume slightly for each job. She applied to positions listed in classified ads and she had notified her friends and acquaintances of her layoff and job searh. This is not a professional job search.
In recruiting Human Resources staff for several companies, (seven in the past four years), I ran into the same fixation. The HR applicants found their potential jobs in the classifieds or, thinking they had mastered the online job searching world, they applied for jobs at Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com, and the other large, early job boards. This is not a professional job search.
If you followed my advice in step one of this comprehensive HR job searching resource and have targeted the appropriate HR jobs and developed a strategic plan for your job search, you know that these activities barely scratch the surface of your options for your successful HR job search.
Value Added Job Searching Activities for Human Resources Jobs
Here are the ten best value added job searching activities. These are the components of an effective, successful, timely HR job search.
If you’re familiar with a head hunter or recruiters from a prior job, associates, former employers, or friends, now is the time to ask for assistance. If they do not specialize in Human Resources jobs, they can refer you to another recruiter who does. Professional services exist; take advantage of them when you qualify and when they deal with professional level positions.
- Many of the recommended uses of your time as you search for HR jobs involve meeting people, spending time with people, and telling people what you need from them. To carry out these activities effectively, you must prepare. Spend job searching time preparing:
--Your plan for searching for Human Resources jobs. This plan will guide all subsequent time allocation and activities.
--Your elevator speech, a brief, succinct description of what kind of a job you seek. You’ll need this for all of the networking, volunteering, and attending that are recommended next for your successful HR job search.
--Your references. Let them know what you need from them. You are using them as references with their permission. They want to help you land your next professional opportunity. If you prepare your references, they can help your cause much better than if they are clueless about your needs and goals.
--Your application materials including a basic resume, a basic cover letter, a list of references, and the information you’ll need to fill out an application at the employer’s location. Do check dates, addresses, and other details so you are not suspected, during a background check, of a lack of integrity because you made a simple mistake.
- Build your network before you need it, but it's never too late to start. Network with fellow business professionals, both HR and from other disciplines. In addition to professional work relationships, seek out family members, friends, college professors, church attendees, fellow parents, volunteer group members. and more, to build mutually beneficial, powerfully helpful relationships. You never know who will provide that essential job lead, or a lead to the lead, twice or thrice removed.
- Attend local professional and charitable events. In addition to expanding your network, attend any professional events scheduled locally. Not just for networking, but to keep your professional skills sharp, attend local Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), American Society for Training and Development (ASTD), Chamber of Commerce and other HR and business association periodic meetings, seminars, and networking events. Local charitable groups that support and raise funds for organizations such as your local hospital, breast cancer, or mistreated animals, are populated with local business people who have their fingers on the pulse of your community. More? Expand your definition of local and get involved in nearby metropolitan areas.
- Better yet? Volunteer and get involved. Invest your time. The best network sees your skills in action. Spend any free time in volunteer activities that expand your professional network, provide work experience in the career area you’ve targeted, keep your skills and interests fresh and viable for your job interviews, or advance a personal or professional cause that is important to you.
- Network online. Professional networking sites such as LinkedIn and others that are more niche to your career field will bring you job leads and maintainable professional relationships. Increasingly, employers seek employees through online professional networking. They also tap into the professional networks of their employees, so online networking is magnified as a resource. Professional sites such as LinkedIn provide an ever-increasing number of tools to help employers find qualified candidates online.
- Create a list of companies for whom you’d like to work. Research the companies and check their websites. When you target a specific company for your job search, the company website is the best place to obtain information about the company and available jobs. More and more companies recognize the value of their websites for recruiting compatible, interested employees.
You can also schedule informational interviews with the company’s HR staff to get to know them and to let them know you and your interest in their company. Additionally, search your online networks to determine if any current employees are connected to you. Word of mouth referrals and references are still golden in the HR job search.
- Review available job postings in your local newspaper classifieds and on relevant online job boards. According to Alison Doyle, About.com's Guide to Job Searching, these are the best online resources, tools, and websites for general job searching. Looking for a comprehensive listing of jobs? Start your Human Resources job search at Indeed.com.
Spend your time identifying job postings that target your desired positions, positions that make use of your experience and strengths, and for which you qualify.
- Because you have limited the number of jobs for which you apply to the best potential jobs for your profile, you have the time to customize your cover letter and resume. You want to help the employer see that you are a perfect applicant for the advertized job. The cover letter and resume provided as examples in this job searching resource provide guidance for your customization.
You want to draw the connection between what the employer is seeking and your skills and experience. You need to do this for the employer to increase your chances of a job interview; most employers won’t take the time. Additionally, many larger organizations use electronic devices to scan resumes and other application materials. You want to make sure that the keywords emphasized in the job posting appear in your resume and cover letter so your credentials are “found” for your desired job.
- Interview Readiness is essential. If you are pursuing the rest of these activities, job interviews will come. Avoid a last minute scramble by practicing interview readiness.
--Two complete sets of interview clothing are cleaned and pressed; shoes and accoutrements are polished and professional.
--You have reviewed potential interview questions and answers and have prepared responses to anticipated questions.
--Your information needed to fill out an application, your references, business cards, and a couple of extra resumes are ready to take in a briefcase or leather folder or portfolio. If required, your portfolio of work samples is also ready to go.
--You have thoroughly researched the company and the people with whom you will speak. You have prepared intelligent questions in case their answers are not provided during the interview and to demonstrate your interest in the employer.
--You are prepared to skillfully follow up with the interview committee to offer a thank you note or email and to learn the next steps you can expect in their hiring process.
If you pursue each of these ten best methods for searching for Human Resources jobs, your unemployment will be short-lived. Perhaps your efforts will result in the Human Resources job of your dreams. And, you'll have gained job searching skills that will last you a lifetime.
Review a Human Resources Job Search Resource
Websites, job boards, job search tools, and books help people successfully find jobs in Human Resources. If you’ve searched for an HR job, you've likely used these in your job search. So, you've encountered job search resources that you've liked and you've encountered job search resources that haven't done the job. Here's your opportunity to tell us about your Human Resources Job Search Picks and Pans.