Cambridge Local News - Ways to Enhance Your Job Search Success

Ways to Enhance Your Job Search Success

As a career counsellor, I have witnessed both good and bad approaches to a job search. However, the worst approach any job seeker can make is to use only one approach: the job posting method. This is the most common approach and the majority of job seekers use this method. When people see a job posting either digitally or on other media, they simply apply with a resume. Most people don’t understand that there is a true downside to using only this one approach. It can lengthen your job search time, and it may not provide you a job that matches your unique skills, qualifications and experience.

Four Successful Strategies

It is critical that you use more than the job posting method by itself. You need to add additional strategies. These strategies will take more energy and effort. However, you can cut down your time in finding a new position. As the popular saying goes, “Time is money”. The shorter your job search, the less money you will lose from being out of work, while improving your odds in finding a job that is much more rewarding and fulfilling. Use these 4 effective strategies:

1. Attain Greater Clarity

2. Actively Prepare and Refine Your Resume

3. Target Your Search

4. Expand Your Market

Clarify: What Do You Want?

When searching for a new job or making a career transition, many people tend to search for positions they are qualified for, without precisely clarifying the next role that they truly want. Gaining true clarity is your very first step.

At this stage, you need to figure out your career objective. This involves specifying the exact position you want, the company you want to work for and industry you want to be in. Unfortunately, many people want avoid this step, by simply putting out resumes to any and all job opportunities. They want to remain open. Ironically, remaining open can actually decrease the chances of getting positive responses. This seems counterintuitive, but putting out a lot of resumes to all opportunities is similar to mass marketing. When you mass market, you need to send out a high number of resumes to obtain a very small percentage in response. In the end, you can shorten your time when you know exactly what role you are looking for, prepare for it and find out exactly where in the labour market it is.

Preparation 1: Understand Exactly What You Have to Offer

Ultimately, the job search is a very competitive process, right from the beginning of a search up until the interview process. When things are competitive, you need to prepare. So, after clarifying what you want, you need to identify exactly what you have to offer employers. This comes in the form of specific skills, qualifications and experience.

Preparation is also about gaining an appreciation of the specific needs of employers, while creating a plan to address those needs. Some questions that you may want to ask yourself are:

  • What unique set of skills, strengths and talents can you offer beyond what employers advertise for?
  • Do you have the required education, certifications and training that support proficiency in the specific positions you desire?
  • Have you acquired the right type and enough experience that allows you to be a very strong asset in the position?

This where you will need to know exactly what is unique and special about you, improving your marketability. In today’s labour market, the ‘Jack of All Trades’ will encounter more job search challenges than someone who is an expert in a chosen field. This is where preparation is important.

Preparation 2: Refine Your Resume

Some people treat their resume like an inventory sheet, describing and recounting all of their work experience. Employers do not need detailed descriptions, they need to understand your career achievements. More importantly, employers need to know exactly how your prior work history can help them solve their current problems.  

Make use of your most practical and valuable career achievements. Identify an employer’s pain points and problems, and create a resume that will provide successful solutions. The next step will help you explore some of the challenges that employers face.

Target: Be Specific with Your Search

You have clarified what you want and identified what exactly you have to offer, you will now need to know what companies will fit. This is where you will need to create a suitable list of companies and industries that you want to work for and will also be a good match. At this stage, you need to determine what employers are looking for. Creating a target list allows you to be both proactive and have greater choice.

First, you will be more proactive because you will be looking for opportunities, as opposed to waiting for specific job postings to appear. Second, you will be the one choosing the roles and companies that are of strong interest to you. Ultimately, if you want to have greater choice, exploring and identifying companies beyond those seen in advertised postings gives you more opportunities. This is called the ‘hidden job market’. Finding the ‘hidden’ jobs provides a strong advantage, because it allows you to apply to positions that other job seekers miss, significantly reducing the competition.

Network: Expand your Job Search

Most career experts will tell you to “never stop networking”, even when you are employed. The bottom-line, building a network takes time, energy and persistence. Having to grow an entirely new network can dramatically increase search time. So, having a pre-existing network is an extremely valuable resource.

Your connections should be based on trust and reciprocity. Keep in mind, networking is not a one-way street, and you should always extend out during your networking activities, providing support to others. You can build a network by developing an on-going habit of assisting others. Use the following ideas to help build your career network:

  • Continually update and refine your social media profiles and frequently communicate with your connections
  • Increase your professional contacts by actively developing external relationships outside your current work
  • Look for opportunities to help others professionally, by supporting them
  • Join and broaden your social activities and groups
  • Participate in professional organizations, along with opportunities for greater skill and knowledge development

Pinnacle Plus Career Services provides support to career searches for both adults and youth, especially with gaining greater career clarity and career development. If you are having challenges or difficulties figuring out your next career move, career counselling and/or an effective career development process can assist you in creating, planning and achieving your goals.

For any direct inquires, please contact – Phone: (519) 603-0060 or email:

For additional information on Career Development Services – Website:

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