Submitting applications left and right? Not getting as many responses as you thought you would? Feel like applying is itself a full-time position? When you’re on the job hunt, it feels good to be busy. But constantly working isn’t always the same as being productive. The following job-search tips can help you get the most out of your time and efforts during your search.
Apply for jobs that interest you
Instead of a scattergun approach, you should be targeting specific jobs — the ones you actually can see yourself doing. Applying for a position that doesn’t interest you may work out in the end, but more often than not your lack of enthusiasm will come across on paper and during the interview. And even if you get offered the job, your intuition may tell you to turn it down. This is a time-waster for you and the hiring manager. In the long run, going after a job just to have one could set you back to square one — and back in the search sooner than you’d like.
Refine your job board strategy
The Internet is a great place to find jobs. But sometimes, it seems like there is screen after screen of results for every search term you plug in. Rather than squandering your time and straining your eyes, filter the results and set up email alerts to make your job hunt more efficient. CareerBuilder’s “Advanced Job Search” option, for instance, allows you to narrow the results you see based on a ton of criteria, include the commute distance and whether or not the job posting includes a stated salary.
Consider staffing agencies
Another great way to search smarter is to work with a reputable staffing agency. Professional recruiters make it their job, literally, to match you with the ideal position. They reach out to their vast network of employers to find jobs that dovetail with your career goals, experience, skills and passions. Some staffing agencies will provide you with career resources such as job-search tips and free training courses so you can brush up on hard and soft skills when between jobs. What’s more, reputable agencies charge employers to find workers, not the other way around, so you get a helping hand at no cost.
Use professional networking sites correctly
Professional networking sites are great resources when you’re on the job hunt, but only if you use them properly. Make sure you’ve thoughtfully completed all fields in your profile. Add samples of your work, if that’s applicable to your field. You’re less likely to attract attention when your profile lacks a photo, so make certain you upload a professional image. Additionally, follow companies you’re interested in and catch their eye by liking and commenting on their postings.
Take advantage of your online network and let them know, via a personalized message, that you’re on the market. One of the best job-search tips is to reach out to people you know. After all, your greatest chances of success will come from connections who can give personal recommendations, or at least put in a good word for you or make a quick introduction.
Send out targeted resumes
Are you sending out the same resume for all your jobs? If so, you’re not making the most of your job hunt. It’s likely your skills and experience qualify you to fulfill more than one job description, which is why you should tailor not just your cover letter but also your resume for each posting. There’s no need to craft a new one from scratch each time, however. Work from a boilerplate resume, and highlight different responsibilities and results as appropriate.
Mind the keywords
Many organizations use applicant tracking systems to find their ideal candidates. The right keywords can pull your application out of the digital pack and land it on a hiring manager’s desk. Tread lightly, though. Keyword stuffing is obvious, not to mention very annoying, to hiring managers.
If you’re devoting a lot of time to your job hunt without the commensurate return, it may be a sign you’re doing busywork or could be more effective in your approach. Take some time to evaluate your strategies, and then use the above job-search tips to make your search more efficient and successful.