If you are like me, you can’t be unemployed for long without becoming maddeningly restless, so finding a suitable job in your field quickly is important. Through the trial and error of many job seekers before you, there are several unspoken must-do rules to follow when hunting for a job that will supercharge your job-search and interviewing skills. Since we generally spend more time at work than we do at home, taking the necessary steps to ensure you find the right job is worth it in the end.
If you want to have the best chance at being hired for your dream job, check out the following 5 must-do job search tips:
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1. Clean up or create your online presence.
In the age of smartphones and social media, searching someone’s background can be done by simply asking your phone, so when it comes to looking for a new job your online presence has never been more important.
Step one would be to Google your own name and get a feel for what your employer would see. It’s possible that your previous social interactions could keep you from your dream job. Some examples of must-remove items to look for are inappropriate photos, profane language in posts, controversial items you may be tagged in, and inappropriate pages you may follow. Your profile should be personal, but also professional to all prying eyes. If you do not want to sacrifice your right to express yourself on your social media page, there are many security settings you can use to customize what others are able to see.
On the other hand, if you haven’t created an online presence at all, you are missing out on many valuable networking opportunities. Keeping an open and active social presence can be a great aid considering a high percentage of companies use social media for employee recruitment and selection, and since you have a blank slate, you will not have to backtrack any bad decisions. Creating a social media presence starts with getting online and creating a brand for people to see on multiple social media platforms, and spending some time networking. A great place to start is by joining groups related to your industry, and following companies you are interested in through professional networking sites like LinkedIn.
2. Allocate your time wisely.
Whether you have all the free time in the world, or just a couple hours in the week to search for a job, your success ultimately comes down to how wisely you spend your time. The key to moving your search forward is having a plan for how you’re going to spend your time, and understanding how it is working to benefit you.
Here are several questions you will want to ask yourself each week to understand the pros and cons:
- What have I accomplished?
- Where could I improve?
- How can I fix this?
- What are next week’s goals?
- How will I accomplish them?
An example of wisely-invested time might be:
- 70% – Networking Related Activities
- 10% – Job Postings
- 10% – Agency/3rd Party Recruiters
- 10% – Career Fairs and College
3. Research the business you are targeting.
Good-standing companies will have an established hiring process to ensure that maximum productivity, company culture, and core values are met. You can’t rely on your pearly whites and charisma to save you if you come unprepared. This is where your time spent researching the companies to apply to will come in handy. When you walk into your interview knowledgeable about the benefits offered, company values, job duties, and important figures within the company, you have taken the first step in creating an important relationship of respect with your interviewer. With this established, your level of confidence will work in your favor.
Here are several ideal questions to find answers to before your interview with a company:
- What do they do?
- Why do they do it?
- What is their mission statement?
- What are company’s products and services?
- What are some current events within the company?
- Who is in charge?
- What is the company culture and office environment?
4. Craft a job specific résumé.
First impressions are lasting, and a résumé is the first point of contact that can deliver a good impression, or a poor one. Once your résumé is opened you have 6 seconds to make a good impression, so what are some ways to make those 6 seconds count?
To grab the immediate attention of the reader you can use buzzwords that they will recognize, for starters. You can derive the appropriate wording from the research you did on their website or job posting. Ask yourself these questions; Do my skills match their job requirements?Does my cover letter express similarity to their culture and mission statement? Or even something as simple as, Have I worked with the same charity the company supports? To ensure that you are their top candidate for the position, you must add the right words to your résumé that will catch their eye, and using your research to mimic their own job description of the perfect employee is the best way to stand out.
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5. Express gratitude with a follow-up letter.
Your first impression may have come and gone already, but your lasting impression and image within the employer’s eyes is still forming. After you leave your interview, you should review the entire experience in your head. Some items to focus on are important topics, buzzwords, or even a common interest that was discussed during the interview that can be built upon as you start drafting a follow-up letter.
Sometimes referred to as a “thank-you note,” this follow-up letter is your final opportunity to make a good impression on your potential new employer. Employers want you to reflect on your interview and what kind of candidate you think you are, so within 24 hours after the interview is the prime time to submit your follow-up letter through email. Here are some specific items to check within your letter before sending:
- Is the salutation and closing appropriate?
- Is the letter error free?
- Is the thank you short and to the point?
- Have you reiterated your interest in the position?
- Have you included a specific topic from the interview to show the letter is one of a kind?
- Is there anything in the letter that could be taken objectionably?
If this has helped you, or you have other job-search strategies to share, please comment below.
Dustin is a passionate certified personal trainer and nutrition expert, entrepreneur, blogger, and outdoor fanatic. You can follow him on twitter at @dustinreyna, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.