Let’s face it, any job seeker needs top-notch job search strategies. Today’s job market is a competitive gig that can often be an intimidating, if not overwhelming, landscape. Gaining an edge over the job-seeking crowd involves much more than only applying to a job and waiting for a response. With a bit of planning and foresight, landing that all-important interview doesn’t have to be an elusive mystery akin to winning the lottery.
Job Search Strategies to Increase Your Chances of Success
Assess Yourself Honestly
Understanding your strengths and weaknesses, along with your likes and dislikes, can help you define your perfect job and highlight your natural skills. Listing all of your qualities, both good and bad, enables you to determine what is and isn’t worth your time and effort. Identifying your weaknesses and dislikes allows you to better match yourself with quality jobs that will fulfill you rather than burden you. Sacrificing quality for quantity will do more to set you back in the long run, so take the time to focus on targeting the “right” job and not just “any” job.
Cover Letter vs. Resume
A solid cover letter and resume are a must and usually what gets your foot in the door. Your cover letter is the first thing employers read and determines whether your resume even gets looked and makes it to the next applicate phrase. When writing, be concise and feature your qualifications specific to the job of interest.
Think of it as a sales brochure and indicate how you can solve the employer’s problem by offering your skillset as the solution. Your resume, on the other hand, fleshes out the details of your employment history and functions more like a technical guide. It provides an outline of your practical experience but doesn’t establish the rapport and trust that a cover letter does. Including accomplishments in your job search documents will help you sell yourself enough to get a job interview. Optimize your resume for online submissions.
Besides your cover letter, your interview may be your only chance to sell yourself. Instead of going into an interview nervous and unprepared, practice in front of a mirror or with a trusted confidant to gain feedback on your presentation. Search online for common interview questions and prepare your answers ahead of time. Try sourcing a wide variety of questions, so you are better equipped to think on your feet if asked something creative or unusual. Also, research the company. Showing interest and knowledge about the company during your interview leaves a positive impression and demonstrates personal initiative.
Of all the vital job search strategies, networking is critical to success. The best way to uncover job opportunities that would otherwise go undetected. It opens new doors and connects you with people and resources you wouldn’t usually have access to gain information. Spread the word that you’re actively searching and be specific about what you’re looking for in a new position. Build your brand by having a LinkedIn profile and start following companies and individuals.
There are many online forums and social networking sites that can be accessed freely to expand your reach further. You never know where a lead might be lurking, so be prepared to follow up immediately and acknowledge the source of the tip by thanking them personally.
If anything, expect the unexpected. Nothing is guaranteed, and even employers can change their minds or processes at any time. It’s not surprising to find out a company has prematurely closed its competition or stopped accepting applications before the deadline. However, they might have other openings or areas to volunteer in to gather information and skills. If you look at all opportunities as a stepping-stone, not just the desirable ones, it can lead you to eventually landing your dream job, sometimes sooner than you think.
Don’t ever give up! As overwhelming is it can seem, your efforts will pay off over time. Stay consistent and treat your employment search as you would an actual job and not just an inconvenience. Keep a detailed list of all the places you’ve applied to and any pertinent information such as names of managers, or staff you may have talked to on the phone or in passing. Understand job interview etiquette to ensure you don’t make any mistakes.
Treat every person at an organization with respect, including receptionists and utility workers. Word travels quickly, and if you are less than professional with someone you assume isn’t essential within the hierarchy, that will get communicated to the top. Always conduct a follow up of your interviews by sending a personal thank you and remind them how your skills can solve their needs and why you’re the best candidate for the job.
Get feedback on anything you write. It’s easy to overlook the little things such as spelling or grammar, but these small nuances can be a glaring flag for those scrutinizing you on paper. If writing is not your strongest suit, locate a resume writer or trusted source who can assist you in crafting an excellent cover letter and resume. They might proofread or edit your work or can draft everything from scratch. Be sure to thoroughly read and provide input on any work done on your behalf. Don’t submit anything you haven’t read or aren’t familiar with and be sure it’s an accurate representation of you that you can confidently display during an interview.
Keeping your resume relevant is important, but it’s a good idea to update it anytime you have achieved new skills or accomplishments. It’s much easier to account for details when they are fresh in your mind instead of rehashing them months or years later. Updating your resume on an ongoing basis makes the job application process much smoother and allows you to apply to unexpected opportunities on the fly.
Make yourself available and easy to find for companies. Post your credentials online to a job board site or a social networking site like LinkedIn. Just like networking, you never know when an agent or employer might come across your profile and consider hiring you. Be sure that your information is updated and consistent across all platforms and be sure to be professional and respectful when conducting yourself on any forum. Your online presence will establish your reputation, so be mindful of how you interact with others.
Of All the Job Search Strategies – Stay Positive
Finally, negative feelings are something that most people battle. Surround yourself with positive people who support your professional goals, and avoid those who drain your excitement and motivation. After all, your efforts need to be put towards the people potentially hiring you, so focus on the resources that will boost your confidence and help you achieve success.
Don’t be shy to seek coaching, even the highest level of executives use coaching to better their skills and communications. Don’t be an island; remember that we live in a diverse community with excellent groups and tools for self-improvement, and you are not alone in this journey.
There are many other job searching strategies you can use to secure an interview and ultimately, a career. Explore the additional pages on this website to further gain a competitive edge in your employment endeavors. Good luck and happy searching!