The irony of job search advice is that there’s so much information or words of wisdom available online yet, at the same time, there’s also as much contradicting advice that it can easily overwhelm you.
To help you along, let’s get things down to a short list of sound, timeless job searching tips that’ll help fine-tune your strategy so that you may sail through the process and possibly cut out some of the unnecessary time and frustration.
- Make Yourself an Obvious Fit
When you apply for a job via an online application process, it’s very likely that your resume will first be screened by an applicant tracking system and if you make this first cut, move onto human eyeballs. The first human that review your resume are often those of a lower level HR personnel or recruiter, who may or may not understand all of the nuances of that job for which you’re applying.
Therefore, it requires that you to make it very simple for both the computer and the human to quickly connect their “what we’re looking for” to your “I’m the right candidate for you.”
Study the job description and any available information you have on the position. Are you mirroring the words and phrases in the job description? Are you showcasing your strengths in the areas that seem to be of paramount importance to this role?
- Make sure that you are visible on LinkedIn
Considering that more than 90% of recruiters use LinkedIn as their primary search tool, this is not an understatement. If you’re a professional, you need to not only be on LinkedIn, you need to be using it to your full advantage. Think about it this way: If tomorrow morning, a recruiter logs onto LinkedIn looking for someone in your geography with the expertise in what you do, and you’re not there? Guess who they’re going to find and contact? Yes, that person’s name is will not be yours!
If you are going to figure out how to harness the power of social media tool for job search, figure out LinkedIn. It’s (by far) the best resource we have available today for career and job search networking, for finding people working at companies of interest, and for positioning yourself to be found by a recruiter who has a relevant job opening.
- Remember That Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile Is Not a Tattoo
Yes, your new resume is lovely. Your LinkedIn profile, breathtaking. However, if they don’t position you as a direct match for that particular role that you’re going after, don’t be afraid to modify the words, switch around key terms, and swap bullet points in and out. Your resume is not a tattoo, nor is your LinkedIn profile. Treat them as living, breathing documents throughout your job search or even your career.
- Be polished but not boring
Many know that coming across as polished, articulate, and professional throughout your job search is necessary. However, many people also translate this into: Must. Be. Boring.
Most believed that people get hired because they had perfect white space on their cover letters, memorized all of the “correct” interview questions or used incredibly safe, common phrase throughout their resumes. However, all of this “perfectness” is going to make you look staged and insincere. Instead, allow yourself to be both polished and endearing. Memorable, likable candidates are almost always the ones who go the distance.
- Don’t Limit Yourself to Online Applications During Your Job Search
You want that job search to continue endlessly? Well, then continue to rely solely on submitting online applications. Do you want to accelerate the process? Then don’t stop once you apply online for that position. Start finding and then networking with people working at that company of interest. Approach an internal recruiter and ask a few questions. Get on the radar of the very people who might influence you getting an interview.
Decision makers interview people who come recommended or by way of a personal referral before they start sorting through the high pile of resumes. This will give you a head start over your competition.
- Thank You Matters
Imagine a scenario where a candidate applying for a role with a company was competing head-to-head with another candidate, who had similar talents and wanted the job just as badly. The former candidate sent a thoughtful, non-robotic thank you note to each person with whom he’d interviewed, within about two hours of leaving their offices. The other candidate sent nothing.
Guess who got the job offer? Yep, the thoughtful, non-robotic thank you notes. They sealed the deal for him, especially considering the other front-runner sent nothing.
Consider crafting, original, genuine thank you notes (one for each interviewer) the moment you get back to a computer, following the interview. The speed with which you send the notes, and the quality, will make an impact.
And finally, remember that the interviewer cares much more about what you can do for them than what you want out of the deal. Certainly, they’re going to care a bunch about what you want once you establish your worth. But during the interview, you must demonstrate why you make business sense to hire, period.
Now, go forth and show your job search exactly who is the boss.