Does Your Job Search Strategy Need a Pick-Me-Up?

Earlier this year, the Florida Center for Nursing released a report reviewing their findings of a 2013 survey they conducted of Florida's nurse employers. The study revealed that there are more open nursing positions in Florida than there are candidates to fill them. Schools in Jacksonville and other areas of North Florida are increasing their nursing and healthcare programs to help produce graduates to help fill the open jobs in Jacksonville and the surrounding areas.  

If you choose a career path where there is a shortage in qualified candidates you may not find the competition as fierce, but what if the industry you have chosen has tough competition?  How do you set yourself apart from the crowd to get noticed in your job search?  Here are a few helpful tips:

1.  Have you revised your LinkedIn profile lately?  Take a good look at your current profile and see if you can fine tune it a little bit. Make sure you are showcasing your previous accomplishments (include examples).  Add some keywords to your headline (it doesn't have to be the exact job title you held or currently hold).  Also, you may want to revise your job descriptions for each of your positions.  Your LinkedIn profile doesn't have to be a carbon copy of your resume.  Use action words when you can.  Reach out to a previous boss or co-worker and see if they will give you a reference on your profile.

2.  Are you showcasing your work?  Do you have a portfolio (either online or hard copy) that gives a snippet of your work?  Depending on the field you are applying to, it might be a good idea to keep an ongoing collection of your work.  Any articles you have written, web sites you have designed, pamphlets, postcards, or direct mail pieces you have created are all great pieces to have when applying to jobs.  Remember that saying, show, don't tell?  It applies perfectly here.  Show your prospective employer what you can do.  They will also be impressed by how organized you are.

3.  Sometimes doing extra credit helps.  For example, if you're applying to a marketing position at several local Jacksonville companies, you may find yourself one of maybe 500 applications. If you're fortunate to make it past the initial screening phase, to the phone interview, and then the in-person interview, you want to find a way to wow your interviewer so they remember you out of all the other finalists.  

What's the best way to do this?  Do a little research on the company and craft an exciting article, pitch an idea for a new event, or design a pamphlet.  Once when applying to a non-profit position, the interviewer asked me to write a single thank-you letter from either a fictional volunteer or family perspective.  I chose to take the project a step further and write two thank-you letters, one from the family perspective and the other from the volunteer who had worked with the same family from my first letter that I wrote.  The employer was impressed by my initiative and offered me the job a few days later.  

Hiring is a long and expensive process and employers want to make sure they have the right candidate.  So, even though you may know you are perfect for the job, you have to show them you can do it.  Don't be shy, go the extra mile and show you're worth the investment.

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