Finding the right employment opportunities and making it through the screening process in today’s competitive job market is tough, to say the least. But whether you’re a recent graduate or in a dead-end job and want out, looking for a new job can be easy. And in order to help you increase your chances and focus on your job search, we’ve narrowed down the best and most productive tips to help you bag that dream job of yours (or at least get a foot in the door).
For the ultimate job search success, follow the advice listed below.
1. Get a Referral
One of the most effective ways to get a new gig is through a referral. Some vacancies aren’t posted on job boards and are usually circulated internally, so if you know someone who works for a company that you want to work at, it’s a safe bet that your CV will get the attention it deserves if you decide to take this route.
2. Connect with Employers Online
When you are job seeking, it’s important to connect with your potential employers online by ‘liking’ their Facebook page and following them on Twitter, Instagram and, especially, LinkedIn. Companies tend to post new openings on their social pages, so you’ll have a better chance at getting a foot in the door first.
3. Attend Networking Events
Networking events are a great way to get to make vital contacts within the industry and get a better understanding of what certain positions involve. Although they may seem nerve-wracking, it can play a crucial part in securing your ideal job. Set yourself a goal to make at least one new contact at each event.
4. Post Your CV Online
Uploading your CV to online job boards like Monster, CV-Library, Indeed and our very own CareerAddict Jobs can increase your chances of getting hired. Hiring managers scan CV databases for related keywords and, provided yours is a good match, will stumble across your CV – and this effectively increases your chances of securing a new job.
5. Do Your Research
Rob VanDorin, the associate director of career services and employer relations at Central Michigan University offers the following advice: ‘Do your research. You should know the ins and outs of every company that you apply to before you even submit an application… If you don't know them, then you don't know how to make yourself fit.’ You might also discover that you have a contact in the company that can increase your chances.
6. Invest in Your Communication Skills
Your communication skills can make or break your chances of getting employed. When you can communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing, then you have the ability to leave a positive impact on the hiring manager. If you lack skills in this department, it’s important to invest in courses that will boost your knowledge and improve your current capabilities.
7. Take Social Networking Seriously
Social media is a powerful tool when it comes to your job search, so by following and liking companies online, you will be able to stay up to date with industry news and any suitable job vacancies as soon as they become available. Remember, though, that you will need to make sure you have a strong social presence before you start connecting and interacting with companies online.
8. Treat Everyone You Meet as a Potential Employer
Director of career and advising services at Lewis-Clark State College in Idaho, Debra Lybyer, has some great advice on networking in your job search and says that you should ‘treat everyone you meet as a potential employer, every task you complete as part of your interview and keep every door open’. This will help you identify and make the most of the opportunities that come your way. Not only that but it will also allow you to establish yourself as a professional in your field.
9. Market Yourself Properly
Developing a strong personal brand is essential when you are a jobseeker; ultimately, you are trying to sell your skillset along with your personality to potential employers in order to show that you are a good culture fit. It’s important to remain true to yourself here and not create a fabricated version of who you really are – if you do the latter, you’ll soon be labelled a ‘phony’ if you are hired.
10. Always Be Prepared
Preparation is key when trying to find a new gig. A good hack is to already have an elevator pitch prepared, ready for action at any given time. You never know when you’ll meet a good connection; it could be at the supermarket or the petrol station. You should also have business cards with you at all times.
11. Be Confident
Have confidence in yourself throughout your job search: apply for that position you’re hesitant about – after all, what’s the worst that could happen? You simply won’t get the job. On the other hand, if you don’t believe in yourself, maybe the hiring manager does and that little boost of confidence can help you get the job in the bag.
12. Be Persistent
Be persistent but not pushy – there’s a fine line between taking initiative and harassing the hiring manager (and killing any chance you had at bagging yourself that job). Ryan Brechbill, director of the centre for career and professional development at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio says that it’s appropriate to follow up a job application with an email or phone call about 7-10 days later. ‘[It’s] an opportunity for the candidate to reiterate interest in the role, align experiences and skills with the employer's need and display genuine interest in the position.’
13. Volunteer or Intern
You can add credibility to your CV by interning or volunteering, as you’ll gain transferable skills that will be useful in the role you are applying for. Moreover, it’s a great way to fill any employment gaps if you have been unemployed for a long period of time.
14. Go to Job Fairs
Job fairs are a great way to connect with employers. Remember, though, that it’s important to devise a plan before the big day, and make sure you research the employers attending and especially those you want to talk to. Manny Contomanolis, associate vice president and director of the Office of Cooperative Education and Career Services at Rochester Institute of Technology advises: ‘Show up with an ample supply of [CVs], enthusiasm, energy and a snack to keep you going.’
15. Use LinkedIn
Using LinkedIn to find a job is a must, with 87% of hiring managers using LinkedIn to evaluate candidates, according to Jobvite’s Recruiter Nation 2016 report. LinkedIn also has some great features to help you out, including their job board which alerts you of suitable positions, InMail messaging and LinkedIn groups.
16. Find What Makes You Happy
It’s important to find what makes you happy rather than chasing a high salary – the money will be appealing at first, but the fad will wear off over time and you will be left miserable and unsatisfied.
17. Remain Optimistic
Sadly, you’re going to be faced with rejections and setbacks in your job search process, but it’s imperative to not let this get you down. I’m a strong believer of ‘everything happens for a reason’, so pick yourself up and use any rejected application or failed interview as a learning curve for when you do secure your ideal role.
18. Focus Your Search
With such a huge variety of jobs out there, it can be quite confusing, especially when you get side-tracked by other interesting positions and left wondering what it is you want to do. An easy solution? Before starting out, make a list of all the jobs that are of interest to you and make a note of the top five companies you would like to work for.
19. Be Consistent
Being consistent is key throughout your job search – you need to be on the ball at all times, otherwise you may miss a few opportunities. Any information you provide needs to be reliable, too; it’s completely unprofessional to have one date on your CV and another on your LinkedIn profile, for example.
20. Ask Good Questions
If you’ve luckily secured an interview, it’s essential to ask good questions at the end. Don’t fall into the trap of asking routine questions that will just go over their head, though. Do your research and ask a good question like ‘I saw from your financial reports that in 2016 you had a high turnover rate of 50%. Can you let me know what the cause of this result was?’
21. Tailor Your CV to Each Position
Many jobseekers make the mistake of sending the same generic CV to all different kind of jobs. This fundamental error will ruin your chances of securing an interview, so it’s vital to tailor your CV to the position you are applying for. You can achieve this by selecting keywords from the job spec and ensuring they are visible throughout your CV.
22. Use Job Boards
By using job search engines, you’ll be able to find postings that are of interest in a short amount of time. Advanced search options help you find the closest match to your specifications (eg: job title, mile radius, salary, etc).
23. Look at Company Websites
Although job search engines are great, you need to expand your search by looking on company websites, too. If you created that list that we mentioned above, you can spend five minutes a day searching their careers section to see if the vacancy you have been waiting for becomes available.
24. Use Alumni Associate Websites
As a graduate, you will have access to your alumni website or be able to connect with alumni in your region and grow your network. This can be ideal, especially if they have secured a position in a company that you’re interested in and are willing to put in a good word for you.
25. Dress the Part
Whether you are attending a networking event or a job interview, it’s important to follow the correct dress code and make sure you look the part. Michael L Slepian, an adjunct assistant professor at Columbia Business School, told the Wall Street Journal that: ‘People who wear [smart] kind of clothing feel more powerful… When you feel more powerful, you don’t have to focus on the details.’
26. Read the News
By reading the news, you’ll be up to speed with business ventures, new launches and other industry-related information, and all this can come in handy during an interview. It’ll show a genuine interest in the field and you will be more familiar with business terms and phrases that can help you put your cover letter together. To get news directly to your inbox, set up a Google Alert for your desired company.
27. Stay Motivated
It’s easy to lose motivation while job searching. Have you ever sent out 100 applications and not even received a single thank-you-but-no-thank-you courtesy email? It can get frustrating – I get it! However, it’s important to keep at it and not lose hope and enthusiasm.
28. Create Your Own Website
By creating a personal blog or an online portfolio, you can attract more potential employers. You should ideally have a good variety of work that can help you show hiring managers your diverse skills.
29. Sign Up for Job Alerts
Fully utilise the services that job boards offer by signing up for email notifications when new positions match your requirements become available. The more details you give as to what you are looking for, the more relevant the results will be.
30. Have Your References Ready
It’s a good idea to have a list of references ready, including contact names, telephone numbers, email addresses, job titles and company names. You could also print copies of reference letters if you have any available and take them with you to the interview.
31. Keep Track of Your Applications
Applying to a lot of jobs at the same time can be overwhelming and there’s a good chance you will forget what application was for what position or what company. Make a list of these applications so there’s no panic when you get a response for an interview.
32. Send a ‘Thank You’ Letter
It’s important to follow up after an interview and thank the hiring manager for their time. ’Thank you’ letters are a great way of reiterating your interest for the position and showing your appreciation for the opportunity.
33. Develop Responses to Common Interview Questions
If you’ve been job hunting for a long time, you may have discovered what the most common interview questions are and should know how to respond to them. If not, it’s time to do your research and perfect your answers so you don’t cave under the pressure when the time comes.
34. Don’t Just Focus on the Job Title
It’s a good idea to sort through postings based on the skills employers are looking for in a candidate, rather than simply focusing on the job title. You’ll only be limiting yourself to a specific type of job when you can be looking for something that is related to your transferable skills.
35. Don't Restate Your CV in Your Cover Letter
Many candidates make the mistake of just repeating the information from their CV in their cover letter. What you should be doing, though, is using examples in the workplace that relate to the job you are applying for and which back up the information you have provided on your CV.
36. Clarify Your Career Goals
Identifying what your career goals are is indispensable during the job search process. Take the time to figure out what it is that you want: do you want a job with a good work-life balance or to work for a company that provides you with opportunities of advancing up the career ladder? Asking yourself questions such as these will help you narrow down your search and find what will truly make you happy.
37. Brush Up on Your Skills
Brushing up on your hard and soft skills is never a bad thing. If you’ve been out of a job for a while, for example, the software you are used to will have likely advanced and new procedures will most likely be in place. Take a few online courses and refresh your skills to give you that extra edge.
38. Eat and Drink Well
I know you’re probably thinking what food and drink has to do with you getting a job, but by reaching for healthy snacks instead of fatty ones, you’ll be more alert and full of energy. Dr Gad Marshall, assistant professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School says that when you eat a heart-healthy diet that is low in saturated fat, you end up reducing your risk for things like diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure, all of which are believed to contribute to memory loss.
39. Always Show Appreciation
In today’s day and age, you’re networking at all hours of the day without even realising it. Someone you meet in the queue at the cinema might know someone that’s in the same line of field as you or your nosey neighbour could actually be of help in your job search. Whatever the case, it’s important to always show appreciation to everyone you interact with.
40. Evaluate Job Offers
After a tiresome job hunt, you may have finally received an offer and out of desperation or excitement want to accept it straight away without even considering the details. Resist the temptation to immediately accept and instead carefully evaluate the pros and cons of this important decision. You’ll regret it later on if you didn’t negotiate the salary, for example, and find yourself spending more than expected on your commute or discover it’s not actually the line of field you want to work in.
Although the job hunt may seem excruciating, these top hacks will help you get on the road to success – and fast!
Can you think of any other job search tips and tricks that should be included on this list? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below…