Job sites appear endless, tiny tweaks to your résumé that you know are necessary are finicky and annoying, and it seems like getting so much as a response from an employer or recruiter requires some sort of minor miracle. The fact that jobs are so easy to list and apply for these days means that employers can often receive hundreds of applications per job both from social media and popular job sites.
But there's a way to do it right, or at the very least better. Basically, being effective in your search for a job is going to require research, planning, and strategy. Here are 5 tips for finding a job. It is career tips you should take in developing a job search approach that is focussed on making sure your first steps are steps on the right path in your desired career.
1. Work out what's important
As the Rolling Stones sung, "You can't always get what you want". Well, more specifically, you can't always get everything you want. Imperative before starting the job search is working out what's important to you. It might be company culture, it might be salary. If you know, for example, that distance to home is more important to you than your title, you're making progress toward a job search strategy. Use this list of priorities to better target job opportunities that are in-line with your ambitions.
But, of course, be flexible. You might have a hard time if you're wedded to your first priority. Think, would getting 2 and 3 be enough? Really think about what getting, or not getting, your priorities met will look like long-term. Additionally, if you get to the point of interviewing but there's something about the position that is niggling you, something that feels like it compromises one of your priorities, be open about it. Talk with HR or the recruiter and it's quite possible concessions could be made or a better opportunity will soon be available at that very company.
2. Find jobs that fit you
If you're able to put into words what is valuable to you in a job, you'll be able to be ruthless in identifying jobs that fit and those that don't. Remembering flexibility, use your criteria to create a list - whether in an app or with pen and paper - that groups all these positions together.
If you really want to get fancy, try ranking them based on their compatibility with your priorities to better inform your capacity to target your applications.
3. Know exactly what the job requires
One of the places it's wise not to try to shave seconds is in reading job descriptions. You need to know these inside and out if you're to save time down the track when it comes to apply: you want to be confident you're applying for jobs that you are suited to.
Whilst stringent prerequisites are becoming less common, they can still be found in a lot of companies. Even if they're not there, you'll still need to know how to pitch yourself in response to a company's requirements. If you're confident you can do the job, and you can make that explicit to an employer, you'll be well on your way. Most of that is going to stem from the job description.
4. Tailor your résumé and cover letters
I can guess that Apple probably won't care about your 3 years spent working the local KFC. Likewise, it's not really relevant that you can write in HTML if you're applying to be a sandwich artist at Subway. Keep your résumé as lean and as relevant as possible. Keep multiple versions that are specific for certain positions or industries. Similarly with your cover letter. The cover letter should, in a lot of ways, read like a mirror image of the job description. As such, you're going to need to put the time in to craft one ideally *from scratch* every time. If you don't, it'll be obvious to whoever is reading it and all that time planning, searching, and applying will have been for nothing.
5. Call in the cavalry
Let as much of your network know as possible when you're looking for a new job. You don't know what insight they have, who might have just left their company, or something a little bird might have told them. Beyond just friends, reconnect with old colleagues who you have a hunch could have some connection to the industry or types of position you're eyeing. "It takes a village to get you a job" (I think that's how that saying goes…)
There's no secret sauce here, just purposeful work. Focusing how to get your dream job is imperative to get into the companies you know you can contribute to and want to be.
This piece was helped substantially by an article from Carolyn Sun of Entrepreneur.com.