Looking for a Job? Here’s What You Need to Know
Whether you’re currently employed or looking for your first job, searching for a job can be daunting. Where do you start? How do you know if it’s a good job? Is the salary acceptable? You can go on job sites and hope you don’t get scammed, or you can confidently search for a job and be certain that the one you find is above board.
Even if scams weren’t an issue, you’ll be hard-pressed to find your dream job if you just stumble around aimlessly. Regardless of where you are in the process, our career coaches can guide you through this journey. Below, we share what you need to know when looking for a job.
Do your research
Naturally, you’ll be inclined to go to sites that have a plethora of job posts, but that might not be the best idea. Some of these jobs may not be legitimate, and you can find yourself falling for a scam. Depending on your field, you may also have better luck finding a suitable opportunity on a more niche job board.
Start with your network
The best way to land a job is to have a connection to someone at the given company, even if it’s just a family member or a friend who works there. Before you start scrolling on job sites, reach out to people you know who work at companies that interest you and see if there are any openings. Hiring managers often put more stock in loyalty and reliability than in skills and credentials, so having connections within the company can be invaluable.
It’s also recommended that you build your network while looking for a job. LinkedIn allows you to establish connections with fellow professionals, and these connections can help you build your network and even get a job. Just keep in mind that networking is a two-way street—if you’re not offering any value, you won’t get any value back.
Study the company
You may find a job through a connection or on a job site, but before you even consider applying, you should first study the company. What are its values? What is its mission? These are key questions to answer before you send your resume. You may find the company’s values and culture in conflict with your beliefs.
You’ll also want to research the position. Do you qualify for the job? Is the pay good? Do you have to relocate or make a long commute? Figure out what’s important to you and whether the position is worth it.
No matter how long your job search continues, the secret is to remain consistent, which you can achieve by drawing up a schedule. Setting aside a block of time will help you avoid procrastination and develop a habit, making it easier to conduct your search even if you aren’t feeling motivated.
Gather your resources
To streamline your job search, it’s a good idea to have all your resources ready to be submitted. For this, you need to keep them as up-to-date and error-free as possible.
Your cover letter
Not all companies will require a cover letter, but it’s a good resource to have ready. As you apply for different jobs, you’ll need to tweak your cover letter for each one. A cover letter briefly highlights your qualifications and the reasons you’re the best candidate, and these differ from job to job, even within the same field. Make sure your cover letter sets you up for success.
Your resume determines whether the hiring manager will consider you for an interview. However, before it gets to the hiring manager, it will probably have to pass an applicant tracking system (ATS), which is a program commonly used today to filter applications largely by scanning for keywords. This means you can’t submit a generic resume for every job—if you want a human to ever see your application, you need the right keywords.
Read the job description and take note of the keywords. Typically, they’ll stand out in some way, appearing in bold, italics, or all caps or underlined. This can be time-consuming, but you can hire a professional resume writer to take this load off you. When you find jobs to apply for, you can send in your resume to have it tailored.
It’s no longer standard practice to list your references in your resume or even say “References available upon request.” However, you still want to have references available. It’s best not to list your current employer or co-workers, especially if they don’t know you’re looking for a new job. This may not sit well with them, and they may not give you a good referral.
Instead, find former employers and colleagues and others you trust to speak highly of you. Ask them in advance, too—you don’t want a prospective employer’s call to catch them off guard.
Always be ready
You never know when you will get called for an interview or when a new opportunity will arise. You want to be ready at all times for that moment, but how can you do that?
Keep your skills fresh
If you’ve been out of a job for a while, your skills may be getting rusty. So, find ways to practice them and even learn new ones. Never stop learning, even during the job search process. You don’t need to sign up for classes—read books and articles that will help you develop your skills and keep them fresh.
Stay up to date
Just as fashion trends change, so do the standards in resumes and job applications. Whether it’s a different resume format or a new job platform, keeping up to date on the newest developments puts you ahead of other candidates. Stay on top of the hiring landscape and learn why certain trends are emerging so you craft the best resume.
Searching for a job may be a lengthy process, but it can be simple if you follow these steps to make it smoother. Try not to overstress yourself. Do your research, gather your resources, and maintain a positive attitude. If you need help navigating this process or writing your resume, consult our career coaches and resume experts today!