Nowadays, the internet is flooded with career tips. Unfortunately, this flood of information can sometimes drown you with bad advice. And if you’re looking for work, you simply can’t afford to continually make job application mistakes—getting hired fast is a priority. But fret not! Follow these tips to make the most of your job search.
Narrow Your Search
It’s okay to test the waters and explore different fields, but your job search should be confined mainly to one industry. Looking for work is partly a numbers game: the more jobs that you apply to, the better your chances are of landing a job. However, you can’t base your entire job search strategy around that theory.
Recruiters use automated tracking systems (ATS) to filter candidates. These ATS’s scan for very specific keywords and job-related information. If your resume is generic, or if you’re spinning the wheels and applying to all sorts of jobs, these ATS’s might skip right over you.
Customize the Resume
For every job opening posted online, thousands of applications pour in. As a result, hiring managers are using technology to sort through their stack of resumes. If youcustomize your resumeto the target job—and that job only—you’ll increase your chances of being selected from the pile. Pay attention to keywords in the job description, as well as any specific requests—certifications, years of experience, etc.—and include them in your resume if applicable.
Create a Cover Letter
For most job seekers, including a cover letter for an online application seems optional. While a letter of introduction might not be mandated, your chances of landing the job shoot through the roof if you do include one.
Your cover letter gives you a chance to provide a bit more information about yourself—information that your resume and the job application simply can’t cover. And in many cases, this is the first document hiring managers will read. If you make a strong impression, yourcover letter alone might land you an interview.
Often times, the candidate who’s most qualified or who has the most impressive track record isn’t the person who lands the job. In fact, sometimes all you need is a good personal recommendation that goes directly to the hiring manager.
Networking has become a critical part of the job search process, and by building a strong contact list you also have more potential to reach employers. Once you have a strong community of supporters that knows what you do and how hard you work, you’ll have a much easier time landing a job.
Use the Internet to Your Advantage
The internet has greatly changed how you conduct your job search. In most cases, the application process begins on the web. Whether it’s anonline job board, Facebook, or LinkedIn, the internet provides thousands of new job opportunities everyday. Even better, it gives you instant access to hiring managers, since your email or LinkedIn message goes straight to their inbox.
But remember, the web should also be your number one research tool. Check out the company’s website before you apply, and take note of any relevant information. Your research will help you write your cover letter, customize your resume, and ask pointed questions in an interview.
Human resource departments will often use online job boards to spread the word that they’re hiring. However, most of the candidates who apply using these same job boards are mixed into a sea of online resumes.
Here’s an alternative course of action: use job boards to learn which companies are hiring, then go directly to the hiring source’s website. Within the website, there should be a link to explore job opportunities within the company. Look within the site and apply directly using the site itself. This redirect is similar to walking through the company’s front doors and applying directly.
Hit the Pavement
Sometimes the oldest of techniques will prove to be the best. This includes simply walking up to potential employers and offering your services. Showing up in person makes a bold statement with employers, and your strong impression might help you land an interview.
Although this method is somewhat unorthodox, it shows a great deal of initiative that speaks volumes of your desire to land the job. Have a stack of resumes with references readily available, and for those wanting to go the extra mile, have personal business cards printed.
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