It is no secret that searching for a new job is stressful. You need to update your resume, research companies, and sift through hundreds of websites, job descriptions, and LinkedIn pages. You can spend hours sitting in front of your computer applying for jobs. Do not let that time be wasted! Below is a list of tips that will help you fine-tune your job search strategy and hopefully, cut down on some of the time and frustration that comes along with it.
1. Know What You Want
Before you even begin your job search, make sure you take the time to reflect on what type of work you would like, what kind of workplace would be right for you, and on what you would bring to the table. Weighing out what matters most to you in your next job is crucial in narrowing down the positions you will apply for. Is money the major influencer? Or are you looking for an entry level position with the opportunity to grow? Are you looking for a specific kind or company culture? How important is the commute time? All these questions and more are important to gauge what your ideal job will look like.
Prior to applying, browse company websites or resources like Glassdoor to learn more about the companies you are interested in. The more aware you are of what you want and what the company wants, the more likely you are to find something that will be a good match.
2. Have a System
Create an organized system to track your job search. An excel spreadsheet can be a great way to keep a detailed record of the positions you have applied for, need to follow up with, and have heard back from. Use this system to assess the success of your search. What applications did you get feedback from? What strategies are working, and which ones are not?
3. Understand How Online Applications work
Ever heard of an ATS? ATS stands for Applicant Tracking System, an online database for job applicants that is used by companies to sort, organize and communicate with applicants. Chances are your resume will be screened by an ATS. These systems search out keywords and phrases in applicant resumes which match the job description posted. So, it would be in your best interest to make it very easy for the computer to pull out your resume. Mirror language directly from the job description to quickly get your resume out the database and in front of a human’s eyes!
4. Go Beyond the Online Application
When you come across a job you are really excited about, don’t limit yourself to the online application. Reach out to that company directly and follow up on the application you submitted. Learn about the company and the people who work there. Do you have a connection to any of their current employees? If so, set up an informal coffee or phone call. Does the company have their internal recruiters listed on the website or LinkedIn? Send them an email or give them a call to ask questions about the position. Do whatever you can to put yourself in front of the people who may influence your chances of getting an interview.
5. Adjust and Adapt
Your resume should not be set in stone. Adjust your resume and ESPECIALLY your cover letters to cater to the position you are applying for. As mentioned before, include experience and skills in your resume that reflect the language used in the job description. Make yourself a no-brainer fit for the position. You will have a better chance at getting noticed in a stack of applications if you treat your resume as a living document that will change and adapt for every role.
6. Show Some Personality
Your cover letter, LinkedIn profile, and follow up emails are a great place to show off some of your personality. Recruiters see perfect, professional resumes all the time. Yes, your resume should be these things, but if that is all it is you can come off as stiff, repetitive, and boring. Utilize certain areas of your application to demonstrate who you are. Your cover letter is an opportunity to throw in some more endearing personal tidbits about yourself. Your LinkedIn profile is also an example of a space where you can have a little fun and do something to make yourself stand out from the pack.