Finding a job can be challenging, and more so than ever nowadays, with quarantine restrictions still very much in play.
But you can’t just wait around for your dream job to come to you. Applying some strategy to your job search won’t only bring you closer to landing that job you want, but – especially if you’re just entering or reentering the workforce – will let you practice the kind of discipline, organization, and initiative that can help you shine in the workplace.
Ready to learn how to do it?
1. Plan A Schedule
Setting aside a specific time for job-hunting may seem counterintuitive – you might think “I should be doing it all the time,” or “Oh, I can do it any time.” Neither of these is a useful mindset, as they can lead to procrastination or what’s called ‘analysis paralysis’, which means fretting about something so much you never manage to actually do it.
You should also schedule how you’re going to conduct your job search – for instance, it’s not really a great idea to try to accomplish all the tips in this guide in one sitting. Rushing through the process is likely to lead to typos and other mistakes that are hardly going to impress prospective employers. After all, you probably want a job that will keep you satisfied for a long time, so don’t be afraid to spend some time applying for it.
2. Work Out Your Personal Branding
Most job evaluations are conducted online these days, giving you very limited space and time to stand out from the competition. So, before you even get started with anything else, think about what kind of impression you want to make on a potential employer, as well as what companies want, in your field. Do you need to be seen as responsible? Creative? A great team player, a promising leader, or all of the above?
This mental picture that you form of your professional self should shape everything you do in your job search, from your resume to interview attire and background. You never know how soon a company might get in touch with you, so map out how you want to present yourself, and make sure all the elements will be on hand at a moment’s notice.
3. Create and/or Update Your Resume
In this era of online job applications, it’s more critical than ever to put your best foot forward via your resume – quickly, clearly, concisely, and cohesively. You want to list all your relevant traits, skills, experience, and accomplishments, but you don’t want to exasperate recruiters with a ten-million-gig document. You want your resume to look polished and professional, but you also want to come off as personable and memorable.
It’s a lot to put into one document – which you want to be no more than one or two pages long – so, again, take the time to get it right, and make the time to keep it updated. Think of your resume as a portrait of your career evolution – you’ll earn experience and achievements to add, while some items will cease to be relevant.
4. Connect with Recruiters Online
While we’ve discussed some pressures added by online job application, job search platforms certainly provide a lot of benefits. You can find multitudes of job openings on a single site or app, whether it’s Kalibrr, LinkedIn, JobStreet, or whatever your preference is. You can send your resume and/or cover letter with just a click – so it’s a good idea to create a cover letter template to keep on file, which you can just tweak as needed.
To take full advantage of a job search platform, explore their available options. Some let you message recruiters, so you can get more information on companies you’re interested in. Some give you the choice to let headhunters know you’re open for hiring, so you can even get job offers, perfect for your skill set, that you didn’t know existed!
5. Start Networking
As great as job search platforms are, it’s also a good idea to go beyond them. Social media, for instance, can be a great tool for career networking – but be careful not to go off-schedule, looking at cute kitty pictures! Online and offline, reach out to people you know, and even people you don’t know, who you think can help build your career.
Be courteous and respectful, but don’t be afraid. One of the silver linings of today’s rapidly-changing business environment is that opportunities can open up unexpectedly. So networking can put you in touch with people who might give you valuable career tips; or a referral that can get you a leg up toward your dream job; or a lead on a more unusual, but no less rewarding job opportunity. You never know till you try.
These job hunting tips can bring new life to your job search this year. A strategic approach – treating job hunting like it’s your job – might make all the difference.