Regardless of the industry, job hunting can be rather tedious. Despite what the majority may think, it is not a swift process—it could take up to nearly six months. And if you’re a graduate who’s just starting out, it can be even more overwhelming.
What makes job searching difficult is all the steps you should follow, which you may not be fully aware of. First, you need to find a splendid job opportunity; next, you need to perfect your resume and cover letter. Having applied, you cross your fingers, hoping to be shortlisted and invited for an interview.
Mind you, this is just one part of the process. Other steps involve rounds of interviews, skills assessment tests, aptitude tests, blood tests, etc. All things considered, it’s no wonder why many people view job hunting as scary and daunting.
However, it needn’t be so. The reason why the majority believe job searching is tough is because they don’t understand its essence very well. It is a skill of its own, and with our comprehensive guide, you’re going to master it!
- Job seeking is the process of searching for employment, which involves careful planning and preparation. One of the greatest mistakes you can make is to spray and pray.
- To succeed in a job search, there are numerous strategies you should pursue. They will not only boost your chances of finding a job but also of landing the perfect one for you!
- After you’ve applied for a job, you shouldn’t just sit and wait. There are a lot of things you need to do to prepare for the next steps.
- A pool of opportunities, along with numerous talents and skills in a competitive market, make job-seeking pretty challenging. Yet, with the right tips and strategies, you can overcome every challenge.
How to Prepare for Job Hunting
Unfortunately, job hunting is not a process that can be completed in a day or two; instead, it takes thorough planning and preparation. It’s rarely possible to wake up one morning, decide to look for a job, send a couple of applications while having a morning coffee, and get a job instantly.
The sobering truth is that searching for a new position should be proactive and on the go. In other words, you should send as many as 5-10 applications per day, five days a week. Yet, this doesn’t mean that you should submit them uncoordinatedly whenever you see any job application.
Instead, you should devise a plan with carefully developed strategies and stick to it. But before you get to it, there are a few preparatory steps you need to take.
#1. Modify Your Resume
Prior to applying for a position, check your resume and modify it if necessary. Pay special attention to your transferable skills and highlight them. These skills refer to everything you excel at, which can be transferred and applied to different roles in various industries. They may include (but are not limited to) writing skills, time management, and problem-solving.
Don’t forget your soft skills, either. Good communication, teamwork, leadership, delegation, and interpersonal skills in general, along with a good work ethic, are highly valued regardless of the position, so make sure that you underscore them in your resume.
Last but not least, make sure that your resume is ATS-friendly. ATS stands for Applicant Tracking System and refers to a novel technique recruiters use to screen resumes. To adapt your resume, include the keywords that keep repeating in the job ad—such as technical skills, industry-specific terms, qualifications, etc.—and place them strategically.
Be careful not to cram your resume with keywords, as it may seem forced and unnatural. Whenever possible, try to use synonyms; instead of ‘project management,’ you can use expressions such as ‘project coordination’ or ‘team leadership.’
#2. Update Your LinkedIn Profile
Nowadays, your LinkedIn profile is your virtual resume; therefore, you should update it as frequently as you can with new skills that you’ve acquired, certifications, and even references from your co-workers or supervisors.
Start with your profile photo. If you think it’s not professional enough, replace it with the photo from your resume. Alternatively, take a fresh one, but make sure that you keep a friendly yet professional demeanor.
Review your headline and summary, and, if necessary, craft a compelling one. This is a good opportunity to make a strong statement about your professional identity. Avoid listing titles; instead, use this space to highlight your experience, skills, or passions.
Update your education and experience with the most recent accomplishments. You may use bullet points to specify key achievements and responsibilities in each role. If you’ve won any awards, don’t shy away from letting people know.
#3. Go Over Your Other Social Media
Sometimes, we tend to post various stuff on social media—party photos, rants, complaints, etc.—that we don’t want everyone to see. Thus, review your social media profiles and check whether you have such content.
Though seemingly insignificant, this step should not be ignored. Recruiters and employers may peek at candidates’ social media profiles to gain insight about them. Even 54% of employers turned down candidates because of their social media activity. Though such a practice may seem a bit intrusive, it’s not quite uncommon.
To mitigate the risk of a recruiter stumbling upon undesired content, make your profiles private. Consider them your private photo book or journal, which should not be available to everyone but to selected individuals.
7 Job Hunting Strategies
No matter if you’re an experienced worker or a fresh graduate, it is necessary to pursue specific strategies for your job hunting to be successful. If you keep spraying and praying, there is very little chance that you’ll land the job of your dreams.
Before you even begin, it’s essential that you stay realistic. You won’t get a job immediately after applying, and you won’t land the first one you’ve applied to. Stay persistent and don’t pull out—giving up is never an option.
We present you with seven strategies to nail your job search.
#1. Reach Out to Recruiters
Recruiters are your allies on your job search journey, so don’t hesitate to reach out to them. Building a good rapport with a recruiter may open the door to unadvertised positions that could suit you better, introduce you to prospective employers, or grant you useful advice.
Be careful not to approach a recruiter with a demand to do the research and legwork for you, as they certainly won’t. You are the one who needs to find all the necessary information. When reaching out, be as specific as possible so that they can reply in a timely manner.
#2. Use Your Network
Expanding your network enables you to open yourself up to new job opportunities. Networking is among the most effective job-hunting strategies to implement; as many as 85% of positions are filled through it.
Therefore, networking can be a goldmine for job leads. It enables you to find out about vacancies that are not advertised or to reach out to a prospective employer directly.
The more people you connect with, the more recommendations you may receive for a position. Hence, shush the introvert in you that tells you not to bother others and inform people that you’re on the lookout for a new job. Many vacancies are filled through referrals and word-of-mouth recommendations.
#3. Attend Job Fairs
Job fairs offer an exquisite opportunity to connect with numerous employers simultaneously. Research the companies that will be attending a fair, select the ones you’re interested in working with, and learn more about them.
Prepare an impressive elevator pitch, make multiple copies of your resume, and engage with company representatives. Be ready and willing to have a brief interview with recruiters you meet. In-person interaction can leave a lasting impression and may lead to job offers.
#4. Find Referrals
Seek out referrals from people within your target companies or industries. A personalized introduction may help you avoid the screening process and put you on the radar of recruiters or hiring managers. Plus, some companies rely on referrals from their current employees to hire new people.
Thus, go ahead and ask that friend of yours whether their company has any vacancies. If the answer is positive and they see you as a fit, they can recommend you to the hiring manager. You may get a job while they receive a nice referral fee.
#5. Visit Company Websites
If a company is of particular interest to you, start visiting their website on a regular basis. Check out the Careers section to see if they are hiring. Some companies advertise job openings on their websites instead of job boards, so unless they pay a visit to their website, job hunters are not aware of open positions.
Keeping an eye on the company’s website, as well as their social media, will allow you to spot any new vacancies should they emerge suddenly.
#6. Learn New Skills
Acquiring new skills in your field can boost your confidence and motivate you. It enables you to surround yourself with individuals who are always happy to use their talents.
Having other professionals from your industry around you allows you to find out about any new opportunities. Plus, you can enhance your resume with new skills, thus showing hiring managers that you appreciate both personal and professional growth.
#7. Do Internships
If you have just graduated from college or university and have zero working experience in your industry, doing an internship is an excellent way to build your resume and make personal connections. Plus, internships may grant you an opportunity to get a full-time job once you complete the program.
Throughout your internship, do your best to prove that you will be the right person for that position. Ask questions, participate in discussions, and offer to take on more responsibilities and projects once you get used to working.
You’ve Applied for Jobs: What’s Next?
When you’ve submitted your applications, the next logical step is to wait to be invited for an interview. On no account should you pop out to the interview offhanded. Take the best of those several days before the invitation arrives to prepare for the interview.
The best way to do it is to practice giving interviews. Ask a friend, co-worker, or even relative to conduct one with you. This will help you improve your interview-giving skills, as well as your communication.
Don’t forget to follow up after you complete the interview. If you don’t do it, the recruiter may miss out on you, while you will miss a great opportunity.
Within 24 hours of your job interview, send a thank-you email to a recruiter or employer. You should mention that you’ve enjoyed talking to them. You may also want to ask if they have any suggestions for the upcoming steps of the hiring process. Don’t be afraid to ask if they expect something else from you.
Now that they’ve offered you a job, it’s up to you to accept or decline it. This is a crucial step in job hunting. Though it can be tempting to accept any job offer, think twice if it would benefit you in the long run. It’s totally acceptable to say no to the offer if you feel something is off or you think it may negatively affect your career.
Best Practices for Job Hunting
Acquiring job-hunting skills is not a linear and one-time process. Sometimes, unfortunately, you may not land a job despite implementing all the job-hunting tips.
To prevent that from happening, it’s always good to have backup strategies, i.e., lesser-known tips and tricks to help you succeed in your job search. Some of them are listed below.
- Cultivate kindness. Regardless of their position, everyone deserves to be treated with kindness and respect. A positive attitude and polite demeanor can set you apart from the competition.
- Request informational interviews. Don’t be afraid to ask professionals in your niche for an informational interview. It will not only provide you with valuable information about the company, vacancies, etc., but it may also lead to unexpected referrals and even job opportunities.
- Keep an application log. Maintain a detailed record of the jobs you have applied for, along with deadlines, submission dates, and contacts. This way, you will stay organized and make sure you don’t miss any important calls, interviews, or follow-ups.
- Diversify your job search. Don’t rely solely on online or offline job boards. Reach out to companies, even if they aren’t hiring at the moment. Your proactive approach will kindle the recruiters’ or employers’ interest in you, which may further lead to a job opportunity.
Why is Job Hunting so Challenging?
Job seeking has never been easy or straightforward. However, a few decades ago, hiring processes were much less complicated than today—securing a job for life was much easier, that is. Nowadays, there are specific obstacles and circumstances that make job hunting grueling.
Most companies are seeking mediors or seniors with a wealth of hands-on experience. The job market, however, is jam-packed with juniors looking for new opportunities. This discrepancy between supply and demand makes job searching extremely difficult.
On the other hand, you should not apply for the positions if you’re overqualified. Hiring managers or employers will not take you into consideration out of fear that you’ll have high salary expectations and be easily bored by tasks.
The lack of a network may cost you a job opportunity as well. Many companies are hiring internally and outside job boards, and networking is a handy way to find out about the vacancy and boost your chances of getting hired.
Sometimes, your resume might be a problem if it’s not ATS-friendly. Numerous companies implement ATS software nowadays, which filters out resumes that don’t contain specific keywords. Due to this, many resumes are not reviewed by a hiring manager.
Job hunting is a long process that requires patience and persistence. To land a job, you need to be dedicated and apply for several positions per day.
However, devotion is not the only key to success. You shouldn’t submit applications randomly whenever you see a job advertisement. Instead, you need to devise a plan of action and pursue specific strategies to help you land a job.
While pursuing those strategies, you should also work on yourself, your skills, and your knowledge. Growing professionally and using strategies from our guide will help you find and then land the perfect job for you!