Job searching can be exciting at first. Whether you’ve just walked off the graduation stage or are looking for a new career, the prospect of a new job gives hope to many. That joy can quickly turn south after you’ve copied your resume into employer’s database only to have them request you fill all the sections manually.
Finding your first job or a new job can be tough but ultimately rewarding. There are plenty of stages that all have their own unique steps before you can find the perfect one.
In this article, we’re going to run through seven of the best job search tips out there so you can land your first gig or start a new career.
Think about the last movie you went to see. Was this movie for everyone on earth? Would your mother have liked to see it? What about your best friend? What about the guy down the street who yells at kids running through his lawn?
No movie is for everyone.
When you start your job search, you may be tempted to look for any job remotely related to your field. This is the time for you to go deep, not wide. Target the key experience necessary and skills the employer is looking for. Try to be as specific as possible so you’re not wasting time on jobs that you’re unlikely to receive a callback from. For instance, when an obgyn is searching for a job, they don’t look for physicians’ positions they look for obgyn positions. Know what your specific skill is then start from there.
Tailor Your Resume
Just like a custom suit, you need to be tailoring your resume to each job. Now this doesn’t mean writing a new resume for each place you apply to, but it does mean looking through the job announcement and finding the skills they want.
Think about what the job is asking and how your past experiences can relate to that job. Make sure and highlight those experiences and moments in your resume and cover letter.
One of the questions you’re bound to receive in every interview is “why X company?” Now, you might be tempted to simply say. “Money”, but studies show employers don’t like that.
Even if you’re not sure, find some interesting and unique aspects of the business. It could be their past work, office lifestyle, or what you’ve read on LinkedIn. It doesn’t have to be a mindblowing answer, but employers want to know why you chose them.
Network, Network, Network
Even though you’ve probably heard it 1000 times, here it is again for the 1001st time: it’s not what you know but who you know. A whopping 85% of jobs are estimated to be filled through networking. 85%!
That means you need to be willing to reach out to whatever contacts you have. You could start small, like your father’s friend or a contact on LinkedIn. Even though they may not directly help you, they may know someone who can connect you to someone who will help you here or there.
Word of mouth is still the most effective form of marketing.
Prep for Those Annoying Interview Questions
While all interviews are likely to be different, plenty of interviews have the same questions:
- What’s one area you want to improve?
- What are your three biggest weaknesses?
- What are your biggest strengths?
Interviewers are rarely looking at how exactly you answer those questions, but they’re supposed to be tests of how you handle the pressure. Practice answering these to have a good idea of what you’ll say during the actual interview.
While various recruiters will offer you different levels of advice on this one, it’s definitely worth sending a follow-up email or letter to the employer. Just thanking them for their time and the opportunity and that you look forward to hearing from them soon.
You don’t have to be overly pushy, but write it like you would a thank-you note to your grandmother’s friend who sent you some money at your high school graduation. Nothing too fancy, just plain and simple.
Patience is Key
The job world can move quite slowly. Even if you nailed an interview, it may be weeks before you hear a call-back and even longer before you actually show up to the office. Of course, some jobs could ask you to come in and start Monday while others it may take a month.
Government jobs, for example, often require studious background checks and it may be up to five weeks before you begin. Just remember to be patient and keep working towards your goal.