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Career Corner
Getting the word out

Rob Sulzman -- You've spent hours fine-tuning your resume, and the ink is barely dry on your final print copy, when it suddenly hits you -- What do I do now?

Answer: start marketing.

There is no magic to marketing. Simply put, it's getting your resume to people who can assist you in your career search either by hiring you or by referring you to someone who can. Your goal is to gain as much exposure as possible in the job market as quickly as possible. The Internet has made self-promotion easier and much more efficient. Remember, it's the proactive job seeker that gets the best job the fastest.

The following steps can help you organize your efforts to market yourself.

Identify your network. Your network consists of two types of people: personal and professional. Spend most of your time contacting those in your professional network, because these are typically the people who can help you the most. Who is included in your professional network?

Co-workers, suppliers, vendors, customers, co-workers at former companies, contacts in industry associations, all those people in your "saved" email boxes, and headhunters you've worked with in the past. Let these people know you're on the market. Call the ones you know personally and ask them if they've heard about any positions. Ask if they'll "keep their ears open" for you, and offer to send them your resume.

Call your industry association, as it may give out a list of human resources department contacts within your industry. To headhunters with whom you've dealt in the past, send an updated copy of your resume, advising them you're in the market. Keep in mind that the average headhunter works 10 to 20 search assignments at a time and doesn't usually "market" candidates. So, the more headhunters who receive your resume, the better.

Use the power of the Internet to your advantage. The Internet has changed both the way people look for jobs and how companies and headhunters recruit. When searching for positions on job boards use your competitors' company names as key words to see what types of positions they're posting. Even if your career history doesn't match a particular position posted, send your resume anyway. Phrase your cover letter to ask about openings within the company that fit your background.

Check out your industry association's web site to see if it has an area to post resumes or to search for positions. Companies typically won't post confidential openings to the Internet or to the newspaper; those positions go to headhunters.

Maximize contact with industry recruiters. Resume distribution services offer the job seeker the advantage of large-volume resume distribution at a fraction of the cost of traditional mailing or faxing. These services will ask you questions pertaining to your career history, what type of work you're looking for, salary requirements, and ability to relocate. Then they will e-mail your resume, cover letter, and career profile to thousands of recruiters and search firms that specialize in your industry. The headhunters will match up your resume with existing search assignments, and if you fit, they'll call you or contact you for more information. If you don't fit anything that they're working on today, at least you will be in their database for future assignments.

Since the average recruiter works on 10 to 20 openings at a time, if your resume goes to 1,000 recruiting firms, you'll be getting exposure to 10,000 to 20,000 job openings all at once. In the case of multiple recruiter offices, your exposure could be as high as 30,000 to 100,000 possible job openings.

For job seekers who seek privacy, some services even offer confidential services, or you can use a free confidential email service.

Keep track and follow-up. A key to good career marketing is keeping track of all contacts you make. You can track the information in a contact manager that comes bundled with most computers or use index cards or plain old paper and pencil. Keep track of whom you called or which headhunters called you, their contact numbers, whether you sent a resume, what you talked about, and whether you got new leads. Don't be afraid to send thank you notes to people who helped you out. It's just another way to keep them thinking about you.

The old adage "looking for a job is a full-time job" is certainly true. However, if you're organized, systematic, and realize that the more people who know you're available the better, you'll be in your new job before you know it.

Rob Sulzman, author of Get the Word Out, is vice president of ResumeZapper.com

(c) 2002 CareerBuilder.com

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The views and opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect those of College Central Network, Inc. or its affiliates. Reference to any company, organization, product, or service does not constitute endorsement by College Central Network, Inc., its affiliates or associated companies. The information provided is not intended to replace the advice or guidance of your legal or medical professional.