Looking for a new career these days can be exhausting. One of my graduate studies professors boasted the need to apply to 50 positions in order to hear back from 10…and most of those 10 are interview declinations! However, this process can be a lot less stressful with a bit of organization. In this post, we’ll go over those key strategies. And I promise, they’re simple.
Identify your niche
The most important factors in my own job search were the type of positions and companies. Of course, I wanted a job, but I wanted the best fit, a good potential long-term career move. With that in mind, I narrowed down my location, company types and position title keywords.
You want to do the same when identifying how to go about your job search. Identify your dream location, company types (think industry), and 3-5 keywords that would appear in the position title. This does not include words like manager, coordinator, assistant, etc. You want to use words that relate to your skills such as marketing, digital, counseling, etc. Start with the keywords in your degree or area of study.
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Choose Your Search Engines
Find just a handful of trustworthy job searching sites and create accounts with them, as well as signing up for email notifications. You will become inundated with tons of emails but these will do some of the heavy lifting for you. Only use about 3-5 sites. I’ve found in my own research that many sites have the same listings and the not-so-reputable ones will spam your email with less desirable positions. I recommend using LinkedIn Premium (use the trial and then cancel), Glassdoor, and Indeed. (Bonus: Comparably is also a great source for researching company culture and pay) There are also local listing sites. I used milwaukeejobs.com for my job search in Milwaukee, WI, of course.
Consistency is Key
The most effective way to gather postings of your liking will be to check in on a consistent basis. I did an active search weekly. This allows enough time for new postings to populate and time to tweak your resume. My goal was to find at least 5 promising positions, per week, and tailor my resume and cover letter to each. This takes quite some time, so one week per every five listings should be the max. Keep track of all of your findings and notes about the position and company. You’ll be surprised how handy this information becomes when you turn around to follow up on applications:
- Job title and company name
- Date you applied
- A quick listing of main duties and qualifications
- Last date of contact
- Contact name and phone number/email of the hiring manager (if available)
With every application that you submit, there must be special attention paid to the details. Your cover letter must be specific to the position, and so should your resume. Contrary to popular belief, your resume should always be tweaked and tailored to where you apply. Hiring managers are looking for key characteristics and buzz words that match their open position. If you think that you’re a match but the details in your resume do not line up, you need to go back to the editing phase. Present yourself in every document that you submit as the perfect candidate for that job! This step takes time, so that’s why you have the whole week to complete your five applications.
In a few cases, I decided to follow up with the hiring manager after applying. However, this should not be considered common place. This is only for positions in which you are very very interested and you have received no correspondence (including a simple confirmation email) for weeks. I found that companies can wait up to four weeks just to respond (positive and negative). However, if you do receive positive responses, feel free to follow up weekly in between responses to keep the process moving along.
Trust the Process
Landing an interview, finding a job, and starting a new career is a stressful and tedious process. It can takes weeks and even months to land a solid job. However, keeping track of your progress and efforts will assist you in the process as you await those coveted responses. Follow the advice from this post if you want to be more strategic and intentional about landing a good job. Stay tuned for my next post about key skills to build for your new job!
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