Unemployed? 5 Ways to Change That.

This week, Fast Company alleges that it’s a great time to be unemployed. In her article, Lydia Dishman notes that there are twice as many companies looking for candidates as there are applicants.

While that ratio seems off to me, Dishman’s larger point is excellent: you need to stand out in any market, and make yourself irresistible to hiring managers.

Because we’re in the advertising, marketing, public relations world, we know to focus on value proposition. We know that visual presentation is important. We know that tailoring the message for the audience is crucial.

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But as I’ve written before, text-only, simple resumes are winning the day lately, in part because of machine scanning and in part because of ridiculous-font-and-layout overload. So how do you make yourself marketable without going exceedingly wild on your primary communication tool?

1. Position yourself. Really, the application process is a microcosm of marketing. Know the value proposition. Focus on benefits not attributes. Offer proof points. Don’t blather; don’t lie.

2. Tighten copy. Your cover letter (which is now likely an email) and resume has to sing. Slash bloat, inflated adjectives, unsupported claims, old jobs. Make your introduction explain the benefit of hiring you. Make the resume prove your claims.

3. Freelance. We know that companies will more likely hire proven talent. So get in for one project, and sell them with the mastery with which you handle their clients, tasks, and teams. Let them, in essence, try before they buy.

4. Keep looking. We’ve already warned managers that most fully employed, solid performers are always looking for new opportunities. In a market where good talent is worth a mint, don’t settle. Keep roving LinkedIn, social media, and your professional connections, even just a few minutes a week. You might find an amazing opportunity when you’re only casually looking. Likewise, you can often offer a dream job to a colleague because you keep your head in the job search game during a buyers’ market.

5. Focus on your niche. Tara Sinclair, an economist quoted in the Fast Company article, notes that tech and healthcare offer significantly more jobs right now than other industries. If you have experience in either, highlight it. Hone your search to the industries most likely to hire you if you have overall marketing, advertising, PR, and other general communications and visual skills. Our recruiters have been handling more requests from healthcare clients than for any other industry over the past year. We are still staffing at agencies, tech firms, and other industries. But healthcare hiring managers make up a significant portion of our placements right now.

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