Sunday, March 9, 2008

Networking--a useful tool for updating your resume

A few weeks ago I talked about the importance of understanding what your target audience wants to see before you update your resume. However, if one hasn’t looked for a job in several years, and is updating their resume for the first time after a long hiatus, where do they go to find out what their target audience is looking for today?

The suggestion I make to the above question is networking. Before you send your resume out into the world, you should gather information about what’s happening in your profession. A good place to start is with the friends and colleagues you’ve stayed in touch with from previous jobs. Reach out to them. Find out what they are doing. Ask what they are seeing in the marketplace. Find out what types of skills and backgrounds are in demand. What industries at hot? What types of companies are hiring? How much are people in your niche making? Ease into your networking by first contacting people you know will respond and keep your search confidential if appropriate.

Next, ask your close contacts for leads of people they know. These folks will expand your network, and because they don’t know you, they are more likely going to give you objective, unfiltered information about the marketplace and your overall value within it. You can also talk to recruiters. They are a good source because of their knowledge of the marketplace and information about local salary ranges. Be careful about the confidentially factor. Ask your colleagues for referrals of credible recruiters. They and the ones at Alchemy Search Partners are most likely to be helpful and keep your search confidential if you’re currently employed.

There is also a lot one can do on line to gather information. Monitoring the job boards is a good idea. Seeing what jobs are currently posted in your marketplace will give you a sense of what types of backgrounds and skills are in demand, and you’ll get a picture of who is hiring. Another useful place to go for networking and information gathering is Linked In, Linked In is a great tool for professional networking; one just has to be willing to reciprocate when it comes to giving others information to help their career along.

There are also a few web sites one can visit to gather statistical data and job descriptions: and The data at is more general and skewed by region, but it could be helpful for grasping basic job descriptions and getting to a starting point on salary. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is just want is says a statistical website, but it can offer valuable information about job growth and demand within your field.

There are many resources one can use to gather information about demand within their chosen career field. However, I still go back to grassroots networking; talking to people, as the most productive way to jump start your job search. For more information on these topics, reach out to Alchemy Search Partners at

--Steve Hernandez