Tips for Job Searchers
Learning how to job search effectively is a skill that professionals across every industry should master. Navigating the world of applications can be intimidating, especially in a society that is trying to shift from paper to electronic processes. Many people grow discouraged as a result of repetitive information and complicated wording, but the job search process doesn’t have to be a negative experience. There are many resources available to help you find prospective positions, evaluate all of your options, and maximize your potential for success. Here are some tips and tricks for not just surviving, but excelling, in your job search!
DON’T limit your search
The Internet is by far the most useful tool in the modern job search. Most large companies have streamlined their application processes into a series of steps on their website, and electronic job boards host thousands of postings that rotate as positions are filled or made available. These job databases, like Monster, Indeed, and even the classifieds section of Kijiji, often have filtered notification features that will send you an email when a position that fits your skill set is posted. The time it takes to customize your database profiles is absolutely worth the access to thousands of positions that you’ll be afforded. Even though these databases are your most diverse tool, don’t limit yourself to just the Internet! Some people claim that printed classifieds and paper applications that you picked up at the location are outdated methods of job searching, but depending on your industry and the kind of job you’d like to do, ignoring these avenues might cause you to miss opportunities. If the chance to explore and apply for more positions exists, take it!
DON’T be intimidated by the ‘electronic gatekeeper’
The more places you apply, the more you’ll encounter lengthy, repetitive online forms and questionnaires required in addition to your cover letter and resume. These can feel overwhelming, especially if every place you’ve applied has asked you to fill in your full work experience despite having already attached your resume. Don’t let these ‘electronic gatekeepers’ defeat you! Many businesses actually put these in place to filter out candidates who aren’t serious about the position and therefore aren’t willing to put in the time and effort that a complicated online form requires. Just by completing each question, you’re already displaying your work ethic and proving your ability to take instruction well. Take a deep breath and answer those automated questions!
DO get old fashioned and pound the pavement
Just because there are thousands of job postings at your finger tips from your computer chair doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t proactively search for a job the more traditional way! Sure, there’s a possibility that you could walk into a business, ask for an application, and be told to go home and fill one out online, but you’ll have shown that business that you’re willing to put in a little extra effort. They might even take your resume from you right away, so you’re already in their minds and their files when they get your online application. Physically visiting a prospective workplace is a networking opportunity.
DO manage your online presence
Having a strong online presence can both help and hinder your job searching process. On one hand, business oriented social networks like Linkedin and industry specific forums are extremely useful tools for marketing your skills to prospective employers or clients. On the other hand, social networks that are used purely for enjoyment are often targeted by prospective employers, particularly larger companies, during the hiring process. Some companies actually hire people to screen applicants by searching their profiles on sites like Twitter and Facebook to ensure that you’re not doing anything in your personal life that might give them reason not to hire you. This doesn’t mean that you should avoid social networking all together, but you should take precautions before posting and manage your security and privacy settings.
DON’T forget about networking
Do you have industry related contacts based on past work experience or through your education? Are there job fairs or trade conventions that you can attend to meet other professionals in your prospective line of work? Are there online networks where you can interact and converse with other professionals to learn about opportunities and build potential business relationships? Taking advantage of networking opportunities, both online and off, can increase your exposure to prospective employers or clients, and also help keep you more informed about available positions.
DO consider self-employment
Depending on the industry you’re aiming to specialize in, working as an employee or associate for another business isn’t necessarily your only option. For client based industries, professionals might also have the option of working free lance or starting their own small business. If you believe that you can build your own client base and network well enough to realistically make a living from free lance work, this can be a wonderful opportunity to work according to your own terms. Depending on your goals and the state of your local industry, some professionals will choose to free lance full time, while others will free lance as a form of supplementary income between or in addition to other positions. Many professionals who have had success in free lancing will take the next step and start their own small business as a way to make a full time living from their skills. These working structures often start out more unsteady than working for an already established business, but they are an opportunity to independently build your name within your industry.
DO accept help
If family and friends offer to give you a hand throughout your job process, accept their help! It can be very beneficial to have a fresh pair of eyes editing your resume and cover letter and you’ll receive feedback that you can use to improve your application materials. If no one is available to take a look at your materials, consider hiring resume and cover letter editing services from your local employment agency or a reputable online job resource. These people will be able to advise you on changes that should be made in order to help the quality of your resume and cover letter stand out.
Put in the time and effort!
The more you invest yourself in the job search process, the more likely you are to have it pay off in the end. The time and effort you put into your resume, cover letter, and applications will be evident to prospective employers in comparison to those who didn’t invest as thoroughly, and you will stand out as a more qualified candidate.