The 5 Best Pieces of Advice for Job Seekers
When you consider that there are often hundreds of candidates applying for the same jobs you’re eyeing, you should expect rejection to be the norm. So, how can you spare yourself all the disappointment and finally get an interview for the job you’ve always wanted? You should always be looking for ways to improve your application so you can be the top candidate.
Outside of the advice listed here, the number one recommendation when searching for a job is to find a career coach, who can help you figure out what you can do better to get a job. A career coach can provide specialized advice tailored to you and your circumstances.
Here are our top tips to get you started.
1. Search diligently
A job isn’t going to land in your lap: You must put in the work to find it. You have to devote time and energy to the search. Allocate a specific time in your daily schedule to the job hunt—in this way, you’ll turn it into a habit, and since you’ve already set aside time for it, you’ll be less likely to procrastinate.
If you’re not happy in your current job and want to leave, make it a daily habit to search for a new job before you quit. Thus, you can smoothly transition between jobs, with no unemployment gaps in between.
As you search, think about your long-term goals. You’ll never end up where you want to be if you don’t know where you’re going. Besides, not staying at any job for a reasonable length of time doesn’t look good on a resume. Search for a job where you can see yourself for a few years or more.
2. Search in the right places
You can devote all the time in the world to searching for a job, but if you look in all the wrong places, it could all be in vain. It’s important to search in the right places. What does that look like?
Family and friends
Consult with family members and friends who have strong connections with companies you’re interested in working at. If you’re referred by someone employed there, you have a stronger chance of getting the job since a recommendation bolsters your credibility and reliability in the eyes of the employer. Networking is the greatest weapon you have in the job race, and it’s always best to start with people you already know.
Social media, particularly LinkedIn, are prime locations to grow your network. If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, create one to start connecting with professionals in your field and people working for a company you’re interested in. It can take time to build rapport with contacts inside a company, but the investment can pay off big time.
You can also use other social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Join relevant professional groups, which can help you grow professionally and connect with people who could help you get hired. You may even find job ads that never appeared on the top job boards.
There’s a plethora of job sites that list all sorts of vacancies. Some of the best platforms to start your search on are Indeed, Monster, and Zip Recruiter. Just be careful on these sites because you’ll often see duplicate postings, and applying for the same job twice definitely isn’t a good look, so take note of which vacancies you have applied for.
3. Do your homework
It can be tempting to dispatch your resume the moment you find a job opening that appeals to you—time is of the essence, right? Perhaps, but you should first do some preliminary research to ensure you do want the job. Here are some important factors to consider:
- Salary: Whether you’ve been out of a job for a while or are changing careers, it’s vital that you research what the typical salary for the position is. This will help you adjust your expectations accordingly.
- Benefits: These may include health insurance, paid time off, 401(k), and others. Decide if the benefits the company offers are attractive enough for you. Sometimes, great benefits can offset a below-average salary.
- Mission: You want to make sure that you agree with the company’s mission. Don’t compromise on your values for a paycheck—even if you’re making good money, you probably won’t feel good.
- Responsibilities: Can you really do everything the company is asking of you? If not, you’ll regret being hired. Conversely, do the responsibilities seem too light for you? That’s a sign you need a more advanced position.
You want a job, but probably not just any job. Carefully evaluating each posting before applying will help you avoid wasting time with opportunities it would be better to pass up on.
4. Assemble your application package
Once you find a job you like, it’s not quite as simple as sending off your resume. You can’t just submit the same cover letter and resume for every job you apply for. You should tailor each application package to the specific job.
Your cover letter
Your cover letter sets the tone for the hiring manager. It’s a prime opportunity to highlight your greatest strengths, explain how you can benefit the company, and expand on your resume. There are two major topics to address in your cover letter:
- The why: You have to convince the hiring manager that you are the best candidate. You can use your past experience and even education to do that.
- The how: Simply put, you want to list any qualifications in the job description that you have. Don’t just insert a bulleted list—that’s what your resume is for. In your cover letter, go into a little more detail while still keeping the text concise.
- Before you look over your resume, read the job description and take note of the keywords, which are generally bolded, italicized, underlined, or otherwise made distinct. As annoying as it may be to tailor your resume to each job, a generic submission will hardly ever land you the position. Add all applicable keywords to your resume as many times as you can manage without creating an unnaturally sounding text.
Tailoring your resume can be time-consuming and frustrating at times, especially when you’re pressed for time. Luckily, you can hire a resume expert to help you out. Skipping this step isn’t an option because the applicant tracking system (ATS) will cast your resume aside if it doesn’t feature the right keywords, so let professionals tailor it to each job and help you grab the interest of the hiring manager.
5. Prepare for interviews
One of the most common mistakes job seekers make is waiting until they get called for an interview to start preparing. You should be preparing for an interview from the moment you submit your resume. So, what do you need to be ready?
- Your elevator pitch: This 30-second statement tells the hiring manager why you’re the best fit for the company. You should have it memorized and ready to share in any interview.
- Your qualifications: The interview is your opportunity to expound on all your qualifications. Be ready to explain them, how you obtained them, and how they helped you add value at previous companies.
- Your references: Either before or during the interview, the hiring manager may ask for your references. Have all their information ready to hand over at a moment’s notice. For the best results, contact your references in advance and ask if they’re willing to recommend you.
- Your social media: The hiring manager may evaluate your social media to see how serious you are about your career. Make sure your profiles display a serious professional—no party pictures, controversial political posts, or mean-spirited comments.
- Your outfit: While this may seem less significant than the other points, you should prepare an outfit that signals you’re a true professional. Don’t wear something too revealing or present underdressed for the occasion.
The interview is your first physical interaction with the hiring manager, so make sure you’re adequately prepared. Afterward, write a thank-you note expressing your gratitude for the opportunity. This is more important than you may think as some hiring managers won’t even consider candidates who neglect to send a thank-you note.
You may feel you’ve come to a standstill in your job search, whether because you’re struggling with where to start or don’t know where to go next. Find the best connections to help you get a job, research each job to determine if it really is the best fit for you, and tailor your resume accordingly. Get a professional resume writer to assist you with this step, then prepare for interviews. Do you need an extra boost during the process? Let our career coaches cheer you on!