Job searching is all about finding the right fit, yet we all know that is easier said than done. Most job searches are frustrating. But with the right amount of preparation, you can enjoy the ride. Below are 30 job search tips from local employers to help you through the process.
1. Be prepared for the journey
You may not want to hear this, but job searches take time. Finding the right job opportunities can take months, never mind the interview process. Mentally prepare yourself for the journey so that you waste less time being discouraged and more time winning over employers.
2. Focus on fit
Why are you the perfect person for the job? Answer this question in two parts: first, show that your past accomplishments will position you to succeed at this job. Second, show that your personality and interests align with the culture of the employer. This dynamic one-two punch is “fit.” It’s the secret to getting hired!
3. Do your research
Understand the employer’s culture by doing research. Read the entire job description. Visit the employer’s website, Facebook page, LinkedIn, etc. Speak to past and/or current employees. This step is critical as it shows that you are truly interested in the job.
4. Pick up the phone
Answer phone calls — it may be the employer! Make sure your answering machine is not full. Record a fresh voice message if yours is outdated or unprofessional.
5. Spend time on your resume
Your resume is still the most crucial part of the job search, so take some time to do it right. Create a base resume that focuses on key skills, experience, and education. Adjust your resume based on the job you are applying for.
Don’t forget to utilize key phrases and words specific to that job position! Feel free to check out our full list of resume tips and tricks.
6. Speak the employer's language
Every employer and industry has its own language. Read through the entire job description and pick up on words, terms, or phrases that the employer uses. Then use those words in your cover letter and resume. This will demonstrate that you are a good fit.
7. Focus on the employer’s needs
Focus on satisfying the employer's needs. If you stress your own needs in the cover letter, you’ll look, well, needy. Demonstrate how you can be a team player by addressing the prospective employer’s needs.
8. The 3 C’s: customize, customize, customize
One size does not fit all! Tailor your cover letter and resume to the job you are applying for. Mimic style, tone, and include relevant experience that will cater to each job.
9. Follow instructions
Sometimes instructions from an employer seem random. Don’t be fooled! It’s a screening technique.
Employers want to know you read the whole job post, can follow instructions, and have strong attention to detail. So be diligent and follow the exact instructions to make a good first impression.
10. Keep it professional
Create a professional email address. The closer to your name, the better. Use an email service that people have heard of (Gmail, Yahoo, etc.). Double check that when you send an email your name shows up as the sender. If using Gmail, make sure your picture is professional.
11. Check file names
Name your resume file appropriately. Whatever you do, avoid having the name of another company in the file name. Also, avoid having “version 10” in the file name. Something simple such as: “Jill Scott’s Resume" works just fine.
12. Avoid links
Don’t send your cover letter or resume as a link to a shareable drive. Employers don't like to click on links because they are worried about viruses. You also run the risk of formatting issues depending on the type of computer they have or the browser they use. Pro tip: send it as a PDF. That’s generally safe for you and the employer.
13. Don’t fall for the trap
Include your resume and cover letter even if the employer forgets to ask. Many employers use this as a screening technique. At the very least, write a short personal note to the employer when applying.
14. Apply, then ask questions
Making the employer spend time answering questions before they know if you’re a good candidate is a bad call. In particular, no need to send an email asking if you can still apply, just do it!
Create an error-free cover letter and resume. This demonstrates attention to detail, which nearly every employer loves. Use automated spelling and grammar checks. Ask a friend to edit both documents.
16. Get a second opinion
Have a friend read your application and make sure they're able to understand the important points quickly. Sometimes we just need a fresh pair of eyes to take our application to the next level!
17. Go beyond online applications
Every employer wants an employee who will go above and beyond. Start practicing this in your job search. After submitting online applications, connect to people who work at companies of interest.
Set up an informational interview to casually introduce yourself and learn more about the company. Remember, internal recommendations speak way louder than the words in your application!
18. Don’t forget your personality
Few people will get hired entirely based on a resume or cover letter. While these are important, so is the work culture you are entering. Be memorable by personally connecting to the hiring manager during your interview. Remember, interviews are two-way streets - figure out if you will work well in each place of work.
19. Send thank you notes
Write genuine thank you notes to the people who helped you during the interview process. Take the time to write a thoughtful note on nice stationary. Make sure you send these out quickly after your job search concludes.
20. Use job search sites wisely
Take advantage of job search engines. Make a list of all of the relevant job postings on these sites. Use business profiles and review to learn more about prospective employers.
21. Tap into your network
Not all job opportunities are advertised online. Utilize your network to find hidden jobs. Tell everyone that you know that you are looking for a job. Post it on your social media accounts. Wherever you are, ask for contacts who may be helpful.
22. Be social media savvy
There’s no escaping social media these days, so use it to you advantage! Follow and like companies of interest to catch their job listing before they are widely distributed. Update your “about” section with your current position and relevant information about yourself. You never know if it’ll catch the eye of a prospective employer.
23. Develop your personal brand
Build your own brand by keeping your social media accounts up to date, revising your resume, and removing any publicly shared content that could look unprofessional. Use the same fonts and phrases across all of these mediums to help people remember you.
24. Google yourself
Make sure you’re comfortable with what comes up. Employers may very well search for you on Google, Facebook, etc., so keep things professional (or change your privacy setting!).
25. Develop a job search system
Before you dive into the job search, get organized. Create a simple spreadsheet with the job title, date of posting, name of contact, and link to their website to easily track the status of your applications.
26. Schedule informational interviews
Double down on researching and networking by scheduling informational interviews with people in your field of interest. This will help expand your network, gain insights into specific jobs, and maybe even network your way into a job opportunity!
27. Achieve daily goals
This may sound silly, but setting daily job search goals can help you through a lengthy job search process. Focusing on daily goals will keep you motivated.
28. Find job-hunting friends
Two is better than one. Find some friends who are also looking for jobs or create a job club. Not only will you have a support system, but you can gain tips and strategies to improve your job search methodology.
29. Tell stories
People will remember stories over the bullet points on your resume. Use your cover letter to convey an interesting story or two. Stories will reveal your unique personality, making you seem more genuine.
30. Follow up consistently
Your work is not done until you receive an acceptance or rejection. Following up with hiring managers regularly will show your interest, enthusiasm, and persistence for the job. Follow up once a week unless they give you a timeline. If the employer has rejected you, be thankful and polite.