Standing out in a crowd of qualified research job applicants can often feel like waiting for rain in the middle of a drought—hopeless and disappointing. There is an abundance of jobs out there and you keep hearing about how it’s a candidate’s market right now. If the market is so good, why do you keep getting overlooked? Before you throw in the towel, take a step back and evaluate yourself. Are you selling yourself well during the application process? Do you have a complete and robust resume, cover letter and LinkedIn profile? If the answer to any of these questions is not a resounding yes, it’s time to reevaluate your market research job hunting approach. First impressions are everything.
What Story Does Your Market Research Resume Tell
Job experience and relevant accolades are great, but how these items are presented is crucial. All positions are different, but what hiring managers are always looking for is a story from candidates to explain why they are the one who best fits the role. They need a reason to move a candidate along to the interview stage. Ensure that your resume goes in-depth and gets specific about the responsibilities associated with each job title as they are not standard across companies. Send a cover letter with your resume and make sure it illustrates why you’re the right fit for the job.
Cover letters are not a one-size-fits-all either. A templated cover letter is not going to help you stand out, so make sure that it is tailored to each job you apply for to show that you have an understanding of the company and the position. Additionally, ensure details that would come across as red flags to hiring managers are addressed in your cover letter as well. Say you’ve changed research jobs every year for the last few years. Why is that? Explaining and covering your bases beforehand can ensure that no confidence is lost in you despite these potential red flags. Remember, hiring managers are looking for reasons to reject you. Why should you be a ‘yes’ instead of a ‘no’?
Tailor Your LinkedIn Profile
Your LinkedIn Profile needs to be as robust as your resume. In fact, consider putting a copy of your market research resume in your LinkedIn profile and editing it regularly. The purpose of a LinkedIn Profile is to be a resource for recruiters and hiring managers to learn more about who a candidate is, how well connected they are and how well-equipped they are for a job. If you claim to have “ABC” credentials yet you are not connected to anyone in the industry with the same credentials, that damages your credibility. With credibility in mind, here are some LinkedIn rules of thumb:
- LinkedIn connections matter. Connect with relevant professionals in the research industry. Recruiters want to see if you’re connected to mutual industry professionals.
- Job descriptions matter. Job titles are not universal and do not entail a universal set of responsibilities. Elaborate on your duties and responsibilities in your LinkedIn experience descriptions. Be specific! That’s what the description section is there for.
- LinkedIn endorsements are not crucial. While positive endorsements on LinkedIn are great, don’t put too much emphasis on them. Recruiters don’t use these like they would use reviews on Airbnb. Reference checking is part of the hiring process–not the job candidate searching process.
- Keywords matter. Integrating keywords related to jobs you’re applying to in your LinkedIn profile is key. Use them in your market research resume as well!
- Timing matters. Mass connecting with company employees on LinkedIn during the application process can feel like spam and might muddy the waters. Wait until you’re through to the interviewing process to connect with company employees.
Know What You Want
What do you want and why are you qualified to do it? The better a candidate can answer these questions, the easier it is for recruiters to define your candidate profile and find a research job that fits. After all, it’s a recruiter’s job to help you find a job opening that matches your needs, qualifications and desires. If someone can define what they want and prove that they can do it, recruiters can find the right research job for them. Know your value as a candidate, and do not be afraid to show it.
Recruiters are a great way to connect with jobs and find that perfect fit – it’s what they do all day every day. Trusted Talent has the skills and experience to match the right candidates with the right roles, but even we will ask some things of you to help set you up for success. Ensure that you know what you want, can easily define it and can fully illustrate what you already can and have done. Once you know these things, and have an updated and complete LinkedIn profile, you can expect a great journey from there.