The Hunt Is On: Things to Remember When Searching for a Job
Whether you’re looking for a full-time or a part-time job, getting noticed by employers can be extremely difficult. Looking at job post after job post is exhausting, and you may still end up where you started. Are you utilizing fully your resources, or are you aimlessly browsing job boards in hopes that something decent pops up?
If you’re feeling stuck, contact a career coach for solid, trustworthy advice. Instead of just passively looking, take your job search to the next level by following these steps.
Develop a clear plan
Before you even start, draw up a plan that will enable you to effectively search for jobs that align with your career goals. This will also help you steer clear of irrelevant and distracting jobs.
Here are a couple of questions to ask yourself.
What type of job am I looking for?
Don’t brush this question aside as obvious—think about it seriously. If you don’t know what kind of job you’re looking for, you can spend hours scrolling through vacancy postings that don’t benefit you in any way.
Consider your career goals. You may realize that you want to take a different direction from the one originally planned. Be specific about the type of job you want, too. Don’t just say you want to be a store manager—think about the kind of store you want to manage. Would that be a hardware store, a clothing store, or a grocery store?
The more specific you are, the better you can filter job posts. There is one caveat to this: Don’t fixate on something to the extent that you close yourself off to other options. Have a vision of what you want, but don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone a little bit. You won’t get anywhere if you wander around aimlessly without a map, but you don’t want to focus on the map so intently that you miss the inviting path right in front of you.
Where should I look for a job?
It can be hard to know where to start—the options are almost endless, with countless job search sites dotting the internet. A great place to start is LinkedIn, which not only has job postings but also gives you the opportunity to build professional relationships that can open new doors. Having the right connections is invaluable!
Reach out to your network and see if anyone can help you. Job listing sites such as Indeed and Monster are also solid options. There may even be job search sites dedicated to your particular field. Do your homework and find the best ones for you.
How much time should I spend searching for a job?
Scrolling through job posts can seem like a never-ending task, eating up hours of your time on any given day without you realizing it. On the flip side, it’s also all too easy to put your job search on the back burner and forget about it.
The best way to avoid either extreme is to determine how much time you want to spend daily searching for a job and schedule it into your routine. Thus, you can’t keep pushing it off until it’s too late. The amount of time you want to spend searching is entirely up to you, but the more time you devote to it, the greater your chances of getting a job.
Read each job description carefully
It can be tempting to simply read the title of a job posting and submit your resume based on that. That’s a great strategy if you’re looking to collect rejections, but assuming you do want the job, reading the description is a must.
Here are the elements to focus on.
Keywords and requirements
Look for keywords, which are often bolded, italicized, underlined, written in all-caps, or otherwise different from the rest of the text. These generally describe the most important qualifications and skills for the job. If you don’t think you can do the job based on its description, don’t apply. What level of education is required? How many years of experience? What specific skills?
It’s okay to apply if you feel a bit underqualified—you can use your resume to highlight your strengths and show the hiring manager why you deserve the position, but you have to draw a reasonable line.
Some positions allow for remote work, which is great, but some require you to be on site or keep to a hybrid schedule. It’s important to note where you’ll be working since you may have to relocate.
Also, even if a job entails working from home, you might have to attend on-premise training before you start. Decide what’s the best fit for you. If you want to work remotely but the job calls for on-site work, don’t push your luck by trying to persuade the company to let you work from home. Just move on—there are plenty of opportunities out there.
Before you even consider applying for a job, decide whether the salary aligns with your expectations. You may be able to get a pay raise after you’ve been with the company for a while, but that’s not something you want to bank on. The salary is something you should seriously weigh before submitting your resume.
Use your connections
Building connections can be critical in a job search. In fact, sometimes your connections are even more important than your skills and qualifications.
Here are some ways to build connections.
Much recruiting and networking is done through social media today, and LinkedIn is the leading platform for it. If you don’t have an account there, create one and begin exploring the platform to build connections with professionals in your line of work and people at the company you want to join. It takes time to establish rapport with contacts, but the result is often a better job, accelerated career development, and more opportunities.
Whether you're fresh out of college or have been out for a while, your alma mater probably has a program that helps you connect with employers in your field or gives you access to job opportunities. Use your college professors and career programs to find a job. Most institutions even host career fairs that give you the chance to talk to recruiters in person before applying for a job.
You can also get help with your resume at your college’s career center, but be careful—their resumes tend to be generic, and their advice may be outdated given the fast pace of changes in the corporate landscape.
Family and friends
One of the best ways to get a job is through a recommendation from a family member or a friend. Having a reliable source vouch for you is often more valuable than possessing all the right skills. Hiring managers tend to be more interested in reliable, dependable, and loyal workers than in those with the most impressive qualifications. If you have a family member or a friend working at a company you’re interested in, reach out to them for a recommendation.
Are you just passively looking for a job and closing the browser tab at the end of the day with no leads? Devise a plan, read the job descriptions carefully, and use your connections to take your search to the next level. Things will quickly take a turn for the better when you follow these important steps. Still having trouble finding the right job? Consult a career coach for specialized assistance.