Today, employers are receiving countless resumes and cover letters. Job searching isn’t about applying for jobs and hoping to get called for an interview anymore. Many people applying for the same position as you may have very similar credentials.
You need a way to truly set yourself apart. This applies whether you’re a recent college grad, just finished a tech boot camp, or have been in the professional world for years.
We’ve compiled a list of job search strategies that will help you stand out from the crowd and ace your interviews to get the job offers you’ve worked so hard for.
1. Know what you want in a job
Before beginning your job search, take the time to reflect on your strengths and weaknesses and the type of work you enjoy doing. What do you want in a job? Are you willing to move for this new job, are you planning to find a remote job, or will it be one close to your location? The better you know what you want, the more likely you’ll find a new job that you’re happy working at. Then, it’s time to find out what the companies you’re applying for want.
A great tip for finding out if a company will be a great fit for you is to investigate the company’s Glassdoor page. It will help you get a feel for their company culture, figure out what questions they commonly ask in interviews, and even discover what salary you’re likely to be paid.
2. Stay Organized and Keep a Portfolio of Job Application Materials
Before you start applying for jobs or interviewing with employers, take a moment to develop a system that works for you in organizing your job search. Using something like Airtable or Excel can help keep track of the jobs you’ve applied for, what stage of the interview process you’re at, and which employers you need to follow up with.
Also, keep a portfolio of job-search documents organized to have on hand when going through the job search process. Any kind of work that you’ve done, even if it’s as simple as a blog post, or other work you’ve done online, can be a great supplement to your resume. Check out this post (Link to this tool = dream job post) to see how building a specific project unique to the job you’re applying for can help you land your dream job.
At the very least, it’s important to take the time to write targeted resumes and cover letters that specifically link your qualifications to the criteria for the jobs you are applying for. You’ll have a much better chance of landing an interview spending your time crafting specific, unique pitches to your favorite job openings than blasting generic cover letters and resumes to a lot of job openings. Check out crash.co for more on why this works to help you land your dream job.
Networking, or just talking to and meeting people, is still the way most people find jobs. When talking about job search strategies, you need to include networking. Dive deep into LinkedIn. Connect with everyone you know, because you never know which contact may be able to help you with your job search, or put you in touch with someone who can. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date on the work you’ve been doing and even ask some of your past coworkers, peers, or employers to reference you on LinkedIn.
4. Be Proactive in Showcasing your Work
Building your brand simply means showcasing your expertise and passion online where employers searching the Web can find it. When you're conducting a job search, you need to make it easy for employers to find you online. Having an online presence is important in this day and age of technology. Whether it be a website, writing on Medium, a great profile on LinkedIn, or another portfolio of sorts, showcasing your work in an online form is important. It leaves a digital breadcrumb trail for future employers to follow that shows that you do the type of work they’re looking for.
5. Know Where to Look for Jobs
Job seekers continue to be frustrated by computerized Applicant Tracking Systems that scan applicants’ resumés for keywords. Many people state that job boards are one of the least effective ways to get hired. It's generally only worth applying for a position through a job board if your resumé matches 80 to 85 percent of what an employer asks for in a posting.
To maximize your chances for success using job boards, focus on smaller, regional and industry-specific job boards, and search for very specific keywords, related to your experience. Many people use Upwork or Fiverr to find freelance work and as a source of income. This job board, We Work Remotely, is a perfect resource if you’re looking for remote work.
6. How to Ace the Job Interview
A job interview, of course, is what is going to get you a job offer. Take the time to prepare, research the company before you go for the interview, know exactly what the requirements and preferences for the job candidate are, and make note to mention how you fill those requirements during the interview. It’s also a great idea to practice answering and even asking questions.
However, also see an interview as a conversation. You’re there to figure out if the job is right for you just as much as they’re there to figure out if you’re a good fit for them. Always try your best to stay relaxed and pretend you’re grabbing coffee with them, while remaining professional of course. If you can have a couple questions to ask the interviewer or employer about their time at the company, this will help the interview to feel more like a conversation and less nerve wracking. You’re also there to ensure the job and company environment is a good fit for you and where you want to go with your career. The more prepared you are for the interview the more comfortable you’ll be and in turn be able to give the interviewer a better representation of yourself.
Most importantly, be yourself. Interviewers can sense when you’re not being genuine from a mile away. If you’re not being yourself, they could get the wrong impression about how you’ll fit in with the company meaning if you do get the job, you may not feel at home there. Be excited about the opportunity and the company. The last thing an interviewer wants is someone who seems like the interview is a chore for them. The more genuine you are, the smoother the interview will go.
It's really important to follow up after an interview by thanking everyone you interviewed with. Candidates who send thank you notes get hired more often than those who don't. Use your thank-you note as an opportunity to emphasize your interest for the position and company. Your work is not done once the interview is complete, or the thank-you note sent. Following up with the hiring manager after a little while if you don’t hear a response shows your interest and enthusiasm for the job. Just make sure you’re doing so in a way that is professional while not making you sound pesky or needy.
8. Don’t Get Discouraged
Try to complete a few job-related goals daily. It takes a great deal of time and effort to find a new job. In a long job search, it’s easy to get discouraged and distracted, but by focusing on achieving daily goals you can motivate yourself while also building a foundation for success. Try to also create a good support network – having people to brainstorm with or vent your frustrations will help the process be less painful.
The job search can be hard work, but with the right tactics and persistence, your hard work will pay off. Interested in using a boot camp or program to up-skill and launch a new career? Check out the Meratas Students page for educational programs that require no upfront cost!
Topics: Professional Development