Expert advice on what job-seekers must do this year

Yahoo! HotJobs
Tags: talent management
The Recruiter Roundtable is a monthly feature that collects career and job-seeking advice from a group of recruiting experts throughout the United States. The question we put before our panel this month is:

In light of the troubling economic climate and tightening job market, what is the one thing that job-seekers must do in order to be successful in landing a good job in 2009?

Exhaust All Options
Tell everyone you know about the type of position you are looking for, network online and at industry events, go on informational interviews, work with a recruiting firm, take on temporary assignments, and be flexible when meeting with prospective employers.

When developing your cover letter and resume, quantify the value of your contributions to previous employers, including how you helped cut costs, reduce inefficiencies or improve profitability. There are opportunities available, but job seekers will have to work harder to find them and cannot afford to leave even one stone unturned.
- DeLynn Senna, executive director of North American permanent placement services, Robert Half International

Network With Smarts
Candidates must be building and strengthening their network - ideally before it's needed. Find networking events to go find other like-minded individuals and connectors. Build your online presence through your social networks and be an active participant in the community. And remember to give more than take - share your knowledge, help others be better, and invest time in building strong, long-lasting relationships. These are the relationships that could turn into future job leads.
- Lindsay Olson, partner, Paradigm Staffing

Flexibility is Key
Stay open to opportunities in new or related industries, companies of a different size, or in a different location; and be aware that with the advent of technology, a new location just may be your home office.

Be flexible. You may or may not have to travel a bit more, take a different title, or give up some of the perks you've had in the past to assume your new role. All things being equal, if you're flexible around these topics you're chances of getting hired increase considerably.
- Cheryl Ferguson, recruiter, The Recruiter's Studio

Diversify and Listen
My advice is two-fold: Be ready to diversify the ways in which you communicate your experiences and listen well.

First, make a laundry list, just for yourself, of all the projects, contributions, ideas, etc., from your last three positions. This is what's not on your resume. It jogs your memory about how you have differentiated yourself. You'll recall and distill examples of your success, and you'll be ready for more questions.

Second, listen closely to what the recruiter and/or hiring manager is asking you. They are looking for something very particular, whether the opportunity is leadership or entry-level. Walking someone through your resume or citing examples that they're not seeking could hinder your ability to seem specific to their job. You want to be very clear about your transferable skills and your willingness to adapt to their environment.
- Ross Pasquale, recruiting/sourcing consultant, Monday Ventures

Tailor Your Resume
The most important thing that job seekers must do in 2009 to be successful is to diversify the content of their resumes based on the roles that they are applying for. For example, a job seeker may have worked in the past as a Java engineer, and also obtained project management along the way. However, a resume that is oriented strongly toward being a Java engineer has only a slight chance of being considered for a project-manager position.

For job seekers to increase their chances at success, they should shape their resumes to reflect relevant matching skills with the job posting(s) they are applying to. By doing so, a recruiter and/or hiring manager will more easily understand how a job seeker's past experiences apply to the posted role. This method increases the chance of being considered a strong candidate, receiving an interview, and, ultimately, a new position.
- Joanna Samuels, senior account manager, GravityPeople

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