My company, Work It Daily, recently held two Virtual Job Search Summits, where we had the pleasure of working with over 2,000 job seekers that were hungry to learn about how to be more efficient in the job search process.

During the two 6-hour summits, myself and WID’s Head Professional Coach, Ariella Coombs, tackled every step of the job search process, including LinkedIn profile optimization, cover letter and resume writing, interview prep, and online networking.

Hosting these summits was an amazing experience! Although they were digital summits and I was unable to see the faces of the people I was working with, through the comments I received during it, I could see a bunch of “lightbulbs” go off as job seekers realized things they were doing wrong and how to correct those mistakes.

As a career coach, there’s nothing more rewarding than seeing someone have that “aha moment,” and then express excitement over applying what they have learned. That’s why I love what I do, and I’m excited about holding additional summits in the future.

I truly believe that Work It Daily will help a lot of people with these summits. I believe this because the people who took part in these summits flat-out told me that there is a major need for the information that we’re providing.

COVID-19 has had a massive impact on the job market. Many of the people currently looking for a job have not been involved in a job search for years, and now they’re trying to put it all together in an ultra competitive job market. By holding these summits I got a good grip on the five biggest things holding people back right now, and I’m as confident as ever that I can help people through this period of uncertainty.

  1. Their Resumes Are Over The Top – “I’m a dedicated and hard-working employee with an extensive history of providing great customer service.”

Resumes are littered with statements like this and, unfortunately, it does nothing for recruiters. Fancy statements and phrases are useless on resumes. Instead, stick to the facts and quantify your accomplishments.

For example, here’s how you quantify the above statement:

Instead of, “I’m a dedicated and hard-working employee…,” quantify your years of service, history of advancement through the company, awards and recognitions, and professional references. Like this:

  • Created 10+ new sales protocols that increased customer satisfaction by 25%.
  • Increased sales by $50,000 annually by creating 4 quarterly customer surveys.

These factual statements of quantifiable results will grab a recruiter’s attention much more than over-the-top, subjective statements. There are many other ways that people go overboard in their resumes, including how they describe their job responsibilities and the amount of information they include in their resumes.

Check out Work It Daily’s resume cheat sheet to get a better sense of what should be included on your resume. 

  1. Their LinkedIn Usage Is Too Low – Some people start a LinkedIn account and never really use it. That’s a huge mistake! You could be missing out on a world of opportunity.

Recruiters use LinkedIn, and a well-optimized Linkedin profile that contains keywords of all your major skills can get you noticed by recruiters. The job search process is a lot of work no matter how you slice it, and it’s impossible to keep track of every potential opportunity, so once in a while it’s a nice break to have opportunity knock on your door in the form of a recruiter with a potential job opportunity. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get the job, or have any interest in it, but it’s an opportunity available to you.

In addition, LinkedIn is a great way to slowly build relationships with your professional network. You want to be connected with the major players in your industry, or the industry that you’re interested in. These are the people that could eventually refer you to new opportunities and vouch for your skills.

  1. They Don’t Use Their Cover Letter Correctly – Many job seekers are not enthusiastic about writing cover letters, and approach it as an obligation they must complete. As a result, they’re always looking for an easy way out, and for many this could include basically copying their resume and dressing it with more useless and over-the-top statements, or copying something from the Internet. 

Both moves set you up for failure! It’s time to start thinking about writing a cover letter as a competitive advantage and get excited about it. The cover letter is your opportunity to stand out.

I once knew a man that wanted to make a career change into financial planning. His reason was because he had helped a sick relative get their finances in order, and it was a long and stressful ordeal for the family. He wanted to use his experience during this ordeal to make sure other families didn’t go through what his family did.

This is the story that he shared in his cover letter, and he now works at a top financial firm.

You have to share a story about what connects you to the company or position you’re applying to, because that’s what will grab a recruiter’s attention. This method is called a disruptive cover letter.

  1. They Fail To Give Themselves Enough Time To Prep For Interviews – If you wait until you actually get an interview to start preparing, then you’re already behind. As soon you start searching for a job, you should be researching common interview questions, and preparing your responses. 

In addition, you should be doing extensive research about the company and position you’re applying for, before actually applying for the position.

One of people’s biggest downfalls in interviews is being nervous, and the best way to combat nervousness is with knowledge and preparation.

Whether it’s in a room by yourself or during a mock interview, you should be doing interview preparation on a daily basis. There will be some interview responses that are fairly universal and others that will need to be adjusted based on the job you’re applying to, but there’s always something you can practice.

The more comfortable you are with your responses, and the process, the more confident you’ll be during the actual interview.

  1. Their Approach To Networking Online Comes Across Wrong – So many job seekers make the mistake of only focusing on building their professional network during times of trouble, and quickly find out that they’re not in position yet to lean on their network for help. A good network is something that you have to build through time, like a bank account, and if you do it well, it can pay dividends in times of trouble.

For example, the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the competition in the job market. Stiff competition means that you have to be innovative in your job search if you want to stand out. This is where online networking comes in handy.

Many job seekers will continue to “spray and pray” by applying for jobs online and hoping to get a call back. However, what they should be doing is leaning on their online network.

There’s a hidden job market out there of positions that you won’t find on traditional job board websites. Instead, these positions may only be listed on company websites, or by referral. If you want to take advantage of this hidden job market, you’ll have to network your way into that market. 

Take time on a daily basis to think about how you can better serve your network, develop a strategy, and begin to execute it.

I look forward to helping more job seekers have their own “aha moments” about the job search process. 

I will also be holding an online Executive Presence Summit on Thursday, Aug. 27 from 10am – 2:30pm ET (7am – 11:30pm PT). This summit will be geared towards helping executives shape their personal brand and online presence. There’s still plenty of time to sign up.

If you attended one of my virtual job search summits and would like to offer some feedback, please comment. We want to know how to continue making them worthwhile. I would also love to hear from you about other subjects we should tackle for future summits.

P.S. Here’s A Way To Always Have Access To Vital Job Search Information

With a membership to Work It Daily, you’ll have 24/7 access to everything I cover in my Virtual Job Search Summits, and so much more!

Work It Daily has a team of trained career support specialists that will work 1-1 with you to come up with a specialized plan to help. All of our memberships offer private 1-1 coaching along with unlimited networking potential, and a library of exclusive career courses. Additionally and for no extra cost, you’ll also receive unlimited resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile reviews by our trained specialists as part of our membership.

AND, If you don’t think a membership to my company’s career coaching service is for you (yet). At Work It Daily, we put together the following free career growth tools for you:

Disruptive Cover Letter Samples

Resume Guide

Disruptive Job Search Checklist

Job Search Mistakes To Avoid Post Crisis