If it’s been a few years since you were last in the job market or you’ve been in the market for awhile looking for a job with no success, you may need to brush up on your job search techniques to help you find a job. Understanding what employers are looking for and knowing the best ways to get yourself in front of hiring managers will help you land a job much faster.
1. Put in enough time and effort to really look for a job.
Employers have lots of job applicants to choose from, especially those with large companies and in highly competitive fields. You might get lucky if you apply for just a job or two here and there, but why leave your job search up to luck? You need to have your name in as many hats as possible, so to speak.
Spend a few hours each day looking for a position that’s best suited to your experience, skills, and goals. You may have to apply for dozens of jobs, network like crazy, and interview several times before you finally find a job. A strong willingness to put in the work gives you the best chance of success. Avoid applying for every profession you come across and instead focus on applying for the jobs that truly seem like a good fit.
2. Update your resume.
Make sure your resume includes your latest work experience and skills and is formatted with the current resume trends. It can help to create a “Master” resume for yourself that includes all your jobs and skills. You can then customize that resume for each job you apply for, leaving off irrelevant jobs and tasks that aren’t pertinent for the job you’re applying for. Study the job description for the job you’re applying for and be sure your resume showcases the experience and skills that make you a great candidate for that position.
Your resume should be more than just a list of tasks you preformed in your list. Include your most important accomplishments for each position – how you increased revenue, reduced costs, improved productivity etc. Including your accomplishments shows prospective employers that you can deliver results.
3. Clean up your social media.
A growing number of managers and recruiters use LinkedIn to search and screen candidates. Knowing that, you can use it to put yourself in the best position to be called for an interview and eventually hired. Make sure your LinkedIn profile has a recent professional photo, includes your latest work experience, current skills, and your most impressive accomplishments.
LinkedIn isn’t the only social media platform to think about when you’re finding a job on websites. Many employers preview your social media profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. before calling you for an interview. Clean up anything on your social media profiles that could keep you from getting a job. Play it safe with your social media profiles, even if you’ve set them to private.
4. Reach out to your network.
Networking is one of the best ways to find a job, especially since many of the best jobs are never advertised. Having a friend or family member recommend you for a position can put you above cold candidates and even get your foot in the door for a job you would never have found on a job board. Your college alumni network, for example, can be a good place to get jobs within your field. Previous managers and mentors can also be a good source of career leads, as long as you’re still on good terms.
Personalize your email or text to your contacts so you don’t look spammy and always ask before sending your resume over. Having a specific description of the type of work you’d like will help your contacts get you in touch with the right people. The more specific you are, the easier it will be for your network to refer to you something. And if your friends don’t know of a role within their company, perhaps they know someone who does. Ask for a warm introduction to someone who may be in a better position to help find a job for you.
Your network isn’t static. You can grow your network – and the number of people who may be able to get you a new job – by continuing to meet new professionals. Consider attending conferences and networking events to meet new people and to canvas the current employment landscape.
5. Prepare for your interview.
When you finally get the call or email for an interview, make sure you’re prepared. Research the company you’re interviewing with, the industry the company operates in, and the work they do. Being knowledgeable of recent company and industry news articles and trends can also set you apart from other candidates. If you’re familiar with the line of work you’re applying for, you can make yourself memorable by giving specific and creative ideas of what you can bring to the position.
If you know the interviewer’s name, gather some background information on that person, too. You may have something in common that can create a connection. Or, asking the person about recent accolades or accomplishments can show that you’re genuinely interested in the position.
Research job interview questions and practice answering them. Having a friend pose as the interviewer can help you get used to answering aloud and interacting with the interviewer naturally and confidently.
Expect the interviewer to ask if you have any questions at the end of the interview. Use this time wisely. This is your chance to ask questions about the position you’re applying for or the company itself.
6. Send a thank you note.
The post-interview thank you note is still a good gesture to make after the interview. Send a separate, personalized thank you note to everyone who interviewed you. Mentioning something specific from the interview can demonstrate your attentiveness and keep you at the top of the interviewer’s mind. You can mail or email your thank you note, either way make sure you check your thank you note for spelling and grammar errors before sending.
The key to finding a job is to be consistent in your search and use multiple strategies. Search online, use your network, and don’t be afraid to cold contact companies you’re interested in. There’s a job out there for you, it’s just up to you to find it.