Searching for a job in this day and age can be overwhelming. You have hundreds, if not thousands, of job search websites and you sometimes don’t know where to start. Whether you’re a seasoned professional, a recent graduate, looking to enter the job market for the first time, or re-enter after a brief hiatus, or maybe you’re looking to move to a different profession; the point is there are a few basic things that you should do regardless of what stage you are in.
1. Attitude is everything
Make sure that you’re taking a positive approach to your job search. It sometimes may be hard to stay positive, but recruiters can tell when someone is not positive and you don’t want that to negatively affect your chances of landing that new job. Employers can pick-up on your attitude even if you don’t think that you’re coming off in a negative or unpleasant manner. The best thing to do here is to be positive and project that attitude across the board. Attitude is everything also translates to dress for the job you want. If there is doubt, always dress professionally. First impressions only happen once.
2. Know what you want to do
I can’t count the times that I’ve asked a job seeker “what type of job are you looking for?” and the answer that I get varies from “I don’t know” to “anything”. While it’s a good thing that you’re willing to do anything and everything, do a little research and some soul-searching before you start applying to jobs. At least have an idea of what it is that you want to do. Maybe it’s something that you’re good at, a specific skill or set of skills, maybe you want to try something different, whatever your strengths are, or whatever you want to do next, make sure that it’s thought out. That way, when asked, you will have a better answer than “I don’t know”, or “I’ll do anything”. Employers can tell when you are passionate about something. We’re in a day and age where you should be happy at your job so that it’s not just a job anymore.
3. Have a solid resume
The truth of the matter is, there is no perfect resume. If you ask ten recruiters what would the ideal resume be for them, you’ll get eleven different answers. I say that because each recruiter looks for different things, and every recruiter is human. This does not mean that you are doomed or that you should not put a quality effort into your resume, this just means that you should have a simple and professional resume. Depending on your personality or industry, you can always add different things or find different ways to make it look better. I always tell job seekers to try and stand out, but that doesn’t mean use neon yellow paper on your resume. Proof read your resume before printing or sending it out. I would also suggest customizing your resume if you’re applying to different positions with different roles (titles). Don’t just blast your resume to see what sticks.
4. Technology is your friend
We live in a technological era, use it to your advantage. Since there are hundreds, if not thousands, of job search websites out there, use it to your advantage. Pick your top two or three favorites and subscribe to job alerts. You can subscribe to daily or weekly job alerts for anything that you plug in. Subscribing to these email alerts lets you stay ahead of the rest because you get the information daily, and you can prepare better for when interviews come along. If you’re not on LinkedIn, get on it. It’s a great networking tool and it will help you promote yourself. In a few rare cases, there are more unique and niche websites out there for very specific jobs. Know where to look and make sure you’re checking daily if not weekly.
5. Be prepared and Follow-up
Once you do have that interview that you’ve been waiting on, make sure that you do your homework on the company. Find out where they are headquartered, what their strengths are and check out their Facebook and do a Google search on them. Being prepared is very important because it shows them that you have a genuine interest in the company and that you’re technologically savvy. Once the interview is over, wait a day or two and then follow up. In your interview you should ask how many candidates are being interviewed or how long the process will take, and it will get you a better timeline as to when to follow up. You don’t want to follow-up as soon as you leave your interview, unless the recruiter initiates that. Be professional and make sure to thank them for their time.
6. Adjust if needed
Sometimes things don’t work out, or you’re not the right candidate for the job. The truth is sometimes you won’t even hear back about a position and that can be pretty frustrating. Always remember the first stem, have a positive attitude. Then you can go back and try and figure out if something is wrong with your approach. Maybe you need to refresh your interview skills, maybe you can have a friend review your resume, or maybe you need to take a look at what the current market is like for the position that you are trying to get. Maybe you were making $20k more at your previous job, this doesn’t mean that you won’t make it right away, but think hard about how much you want to be at this company and if you’re willing to adjust your salary. However, I always do tell people to make sure to know how much they are worth. Don’t sell yourself short, but keep in mind that you may have to make some adjustments depending on how bad you want the job. If you’re just looking around to test the waters, you probably won’t take the lower offer. If you know your skills are in high demand, you probably won’t settle for anything less than what you know you’re worth. Adjusting sometimes means going back to school or getting some refresher courses or certifications. Revert back to step 2 and know what you want to do. If you’re in a place where you can actively get a job based on what you want to do, move forward. If not, you need to do some re-adjusting and get yourself prepared.