What does it mean to stack the odds in your favor in your job search? In general, stacking the odds means you do whatever you can to achieve your goal. Of course, it’s best to use ethical methods to reach that goal, because it presents you in a positive light. However, it doesn’t mean you have to let your competitors outshine you if you have real value to offer employers.
What Does “Stack the Odds” Look Like in a Job Search?
This requires taking a realistic view of your situation. What’s more, if you try to avoid this step, you could slow down your job search or stall it completely. Aim for a clear idea of where you stand and what might work against you for a successful job search. Then you can make a plan and execute it with a decent hope for a good outcome.
Review your employment assets—strengths, expertise, in-depth experience, and more—to decide what you can offer that employers will value. Don’t overdo it, but don’t let false modesty block your path either. If you can identify advantages you have over your competition, think about how to make those work for you.
So what are the key points you need to look at when aiming to stack the odds in your favor? As a critical foundation, they include a well-crafted résumé, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile. How you get there rests on your shoulders, but below you’ll find a few useful pointers.
Do You Know What to Include in a Résumé?
I’m not referring to the obvious items—your name, phone number, etc. (However, if you prepare a two-page résumé, do make sure your phone number shows on both pages. That way, if the pages get separated somehow, the reader will still have a way to contact you.)
I’m talking here about the critical aspects of an effective résumé—your value-added pieces of the puzzle. If employers don’t see potential value fast, you’re probably history as far as they’re concerned. You need to make a powerful impression at the outset, because you won’t get a second chance.
In other words, think about what you have done in your work that makes you stand out from the crowd. Ideally, this means information on your actions that have produced measurable results for your employers. Keep employer needs at the top of your mind as you create the résumé. Use those needs as a guide for what you include and what you leave out.
Be aware, too, that applicant tracking systems will almost for sure be used to screen your résumé. You need to know–and include–all the most relevant keywords and phrases.
Are Cover Letters Necessary to Stack the Odds in Your Favor?
You can argue on both sides of this question! I prefer the concept of hedging your bets, especially if you want to stack the odds in your favor. Great cover letters might not win you an interview on their own—sometimes they won’t even get read right away. However, they can tilt the odds your direction in some cases, and I believe that makes them worth doing. They simply need to be done well.
What to Consider about a LinkedIn Job Search
First, I don’t mean looking for jobs listed in LinkedIn and applying for those, although you certainly can do that. It can’t hurt and might help.
Second, understand that using LinkedIn as a job search tool makes good sense, but not as the only one. You need a well-stocked job search toolbox.
Finally, realize you stand a better chance of maximizing LinkedIn’s value if you build and sustain a healthy connection network. You can significantly improve the odds in your favor when you have a robust network and a compelling profile.
Choose & Prepare Your Job Search Tools Carefully
Even in an active job market, your odds of success increase when you create a compelling presentation of your value. If the market favors employers instead of job seekers, you face an uphill battle. That makes it more imperative that you find—and use—well-chosen methods to stack the odds in your favor. Either way, making the wisest choices can put you on top.