Today, most job seekers fill out job applications online and search job boards for relevant listings. This can simplify the process of finding a job that interests you; however, it also increases the size of the applicant pool and potential competition. To stand out, you need to define your career goals and identify your strengths.
Know What Job You Want
This is a personal decision that you’ll need to make. What are your long-term career goals? What are you passionate about? Are you looking for a full-time or part-time job?
Having realistic expectations and a clear plan can help you determine the best course of action to take. Once you’ve decided what kind of career you want, you can determine how your experience and skills fit into this industry.
Organize Your Job Search
You should allocate a set number of hours to job hunting each day and commit to spending that time on your search. Job hunting, while essential to achieving long-term success, is a job in itself.
If you’re sending dozens of applications every week, it’s easy to lose track of specifics. Create a spreadsheet to keep track of the job listings you’ve applied for and their respective statuses. Some job seekers find that creating a business email account separate from their personal one helps keep their job search organized.
You don’t have to limit your job search to online listings, however. If there’s a company you’re interested in working for, check their websites for job openings and see if there’s one that you think would be a suitable match for your skills.
Don’t be afraid of making cold calls to companies you’re interested in working for that aren’t currently listing openings. You can always send them a polite email expressing your interest and inquiring about upcoming opportunities. Even if nothing is available now, they may request to keep your resume on file if a job opens up.
Read Job Descriptions Carefully
Take time to read job descriptions carefully to ensure you understand the role and don’t disqualify yourself from applying prematurely. The employer’s job description will include a list of requirements that you should meet to be eligible.
These are not necessarily set in stone — many of them are negotiable or depend on other factors. For example, if you lack the preferred or required education level but can make up for that with real-world experience or professional training, that may not be a dealbreaker.
Make Use of Your Network
Using employment networks and social media to find suitable job openings is one of the best ways to find employment. If you know someone who can provide you with a referral, this can often accelerate the recruitment process, providing you with an advantage over other applicants.
Prepare Your Resume
A well-organized and professionally written resume can positively impact your prospects. In addition to laying out your relevant work experience, hard and soft skills, academic qualifications, and personal and career achievements, your resume also demonstrates your organizational aptitude and attention to detail.
However, many employers automate the recruitment process using Applicant Tracking System (ATS) software, so you’ll also need to monitor your use of keywords. Don’t rely on a one-size-fits-all resume.
Part of the drafting process will be taking stock of your strengths and weaknesses and identifying your skills. If you have skills you think need further development, find ways to improve them. Free online classes through the Khan Academy are a popular choice.
Prepare Your Cover Letter
A cover letter allows you to introduce yourself to a prospective employer and explain why you think you’re a good fit for the position. Cover letters should be short and to the point.
When you’re drafting a cover letter, research the company you’re applying to. Develop an understanding of what the company does, its competitors, and what demographics it caters to. You should customize each cover letter for the particular company you’re applying to. While writing a form cover letter may be tempting, it always flows more naturally when you write it for a specific application.
When you’ve secured a job interview with the hiring manager of a potential employer, take some time to prepare. Study standard interview questions and write responses to each one.
Don’t say anything to an interviewer that you are not prepared to back up. Although working from home has become increasingly common, a professional appearance is still expected if you schedule an interview via Skype or Zoom using a webcam.
Once the interview is over, send an email to the hiring manager or HR recruiter thanking them for their time and expressing interest in working with them. Typically, if you don’t hear from the company in a week, you should send a follow-up email.
While you wait for a response, send applications to other job postings you think would be a good fit or which interest you. Expedite this process as much as possible by following up on active applications and continuing to expand your search.
The Search Continues
When you’re applying for jobs online, the process of writing a cover letter, drafting and sending your resume, and preparing for the interview can be an ordeal. At JobsFuel, we provide information to help you stay ahead of the competition and find your ideal job.