7 Tips for a Successful Job Search
If it has been a while since the last time you embarked on a job search, you are bound to notice that much has changed over the years.
For example, you are likely to discover that applying for jobs online can at times feel like a futile effort in which your resumé seemingly disappears into the abyss. One reason for this is that, in our current digital age, many recruiters use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to sort through the inundation of resumés received.
ATS software filters applications automatically based on criteria such as keywords. Therefore, a great way to optimize the likelihood of your resumé seeing the light of day is to use keywords that align your experience and transferable skills to those used in the job descriptions for the position(s) you seek.
Here are 7 additional tips for embarking on a successful job search today:
1. Network, Network, Network
- Embrace LinkedIn – LinkedIn is an incredibly valuable career tool. Put some time and effort into updating your profile, growing your connections, and honing your professional brand on LinkedIn.
- Ask to be introduced – Chances are that one of your connections is connected to someone at a company of interest you uncover during your job search. Reach out to your connection and ask them to facilitate a LinkedIn introduction.
- Talk with people – Your personal connections are a wonderful resource. Socially we tend to bond with people who have similar values and interests. It follows that friends in our social network are very likely to be able to help with referrals that align with your professional goals.
An important thing to remember is that there is a hidden job market brimming with postings that you will never see online and jobs you will never know about until you start networking and getting referrals into HR. Become a candidate for hidden job opportunities through your professional and personal network and/or also by working with a recruiter who is likely to have direct access to opportunities that aren’t posted. This can significantly decrease the time you spend on your job search.
2. Target your job search
- Focus on positions that match your skill set (rather than a specific job title). Job titles are constantly evolving and often entail vastly different descriptions industry-to-industry and even company-to-company.
- Sign up for free job alerts – Digital job boards are massive, meaning there is always the chance you might miss a job posting. Plus, it is incredibly tedious and time-consuming to sort through it all in hopes of finding relevant postings. Save time and gain more productive results by letting the job sites alert you when something might be of interest. You can do this through LinkedIn, HotJobAlerts, and many others. Set up keyword searches so you can get alerts and never miss an opportunity. You can use all the time you are saving to do some more networking!
3. Continue to grow and gain skills and experience
- Identify areas where there is room for growth in terms of your skills and experience. Many people find that working with a certified career coach is a great way to objectively gain this insight. Then explore and engage in options for attaining this experience, such as: online courses; volunteering; side gigs; entrepreneurial ventures; freelancing; internships; etc.
- Request Informational Interviews – An Informational Interview is a brief, informal conversation with someone working in a company or area that interests you and who will give you information and advice. Informational interviews usually only last about 15-20 minutes, but they are very useful. Not only will you gain valuable insider intel and direction, you will also have an opportunity to grow your professional network and to position yourself as a potential future colleague.
4. Create a compelling resumé and always include a customized cover letter.
5. Present yourself professionally online
- Create a professional-looking email address
- Clean up social media profiles – Hiring managers will most definitely be interested in your online presence …. make sure that you will not be embarrassed by anything that they find!
- Present well on Google – Google yourself on a regular basis so that you see the results that prospective employers will see when they Google your name. Create a profile on professional networking sites such as LinkedIn and VisualCV so that a Google search results produce a positive and professional first impression.
7. Prepare for the interview
- Do your research – Research the company and research the background of the interviewer(s).
- Practice, practice, practice – Make a list of the types of interview questions that you are likely to be asked. Write the questions and your responses on index cards and study as you would for an important exam. Enlist a friend, relative, or career coach for a mock-interview session.
- Ask questions – Prepare several questions to ask during the interview … this will help show that you are engaged and interested.
- Have references ready to go – line up several references ahead of time and have a good idea of what they will say when called upon to speak on your behalf.
- Be camera ready – It is increasingly common for companies to conduct initial interviews via a video conference. If this is something outside of your comfort zone, consider engaging in a digital interview training session with a career coach.
- Stand apart from the rest
With these tips in mind, you are destined to embark on your most productive and successful job search yet!