A lot of time and effort goes into searching for a new job, so it’s important to spend that time and effort wisely. Wherever you are in your job search process, whether that’s just getting started or if you’ve been searching for some time, there are four things all job seekers need to do.
Have an up to do date LinkedIn profile.
Having an up to date LinkedIn profile is critical in a job search. Prospective employers and hiring managers will be looking at your LinkedIn profile as well as your resume, so be sure that your resume and LinkedIn profile match. Your LinkedIn profile should be longer than your resume, giving more details about job responsibilities and more insight into who you are as a professional. To ensure a good first impression, use a professional headshot. If you don’t have one, put on a nice shirt, find a neutral colored wall with good lighting, and have your friend take a picture.
Be sure to fill out all of the sections in your LinkedIn profile. Use the About section as a short pitch for why someone should hire you. Highlight your top skills and accomplishments in one paragraph. The purpose of that paragraph is to entice someone to look at the rest of your profile, so don’t hold back. Also be sure to take advantage of LinkedIn’s endorsement feature to gain credibility. People in your network can write short testimonials about your work, and they can also endorse you for the skills you’ve listed.
LinkedIn is more than just a profile, it’s a place to showcase your skills and expertise. Write short posts that showcase your knowledge. Share content that’s relevant to your industry. Comment on other posts and engage with people who comment on your posts. You never know who might see your content, and a post you write could end up landing you a job. LinkedIn is also a great way to search for jobs, both through their dedicated job listings and by searching for company posts about job openings.
Build a solid network.
These days, the most effective way to get a job is by having some sort of connection to the company you’re applying to. That connection can be direct, with someone you know personally, or indirect, like a friend of a friend. Either way, having someone mention you to the hiring manager is a sure-fire way to get your resume looked at and hopefully placed in the interview pile.
The only way to find someone who is willing to make an introduction is to build your network. This is especially critical for early career professionals or job seekers changing industries, when qualifications alone might not be strong enough to get a resume through an applicant tracking system screening and into the hiring manager’s hands.
A network is built on relationships, both online and offline. You don’t have to meet someone in person for them to be an integral part of your network. Connections you make entirely online are just as valuable as those you make in person. Grow your network online by interacting with people in groups, commenting on posts, and reaching out by direct message.
For in-person networking, when you meet someone at an event, follow up by connecting with them both through email and on LinkedIn. If they’ve offered to help you with your job search, send them a copy of your resume and reiterate what type of jobs you’re interested in. Use LinkedIn to share updates with your network so that you stay top of mind.
Have multiple versions of resumes and cover letters.
Your resume and cover letter should always be tailored to the position you’re applying to. A one size fits all resume just won’t cut it anymore, but it is a good base to start from. Create your base resume and then work from there to create tailored versions for the jobs you apply to. Use this same formula for your cover letter.
Tailoring a resume doesn’t mean creating something entirely new each time you apply to a job – for the most part it’s just making small tweaks. Since your resume will simply be skimmed the first time it’s looked at, the order in which you list your job responsibilities matters. Re-order them so that the most relevant points are at the top. Add or remove things as needed so that the information that’s there speaks clearly to why you’d be qualified to do the job you’re applying to.
Prepare to answer interview questions.
Acing your interview is how you land a job, so preparing for that interview is incredibly important. Many jobs ask the same base set of questions about strengths and weaknesses, skills, and working styles, so you can practice answering them ahead of time. Study your resume so you can reiterate key points, paying special attention to anything quantifiable such as sales figures, percentages, or other data points. The more confidently you can speak about yourself, the more likely it is that you’ll impress the hiring manager.
A bonus fourth point is to have patience. The job search can be a long and tedious process, and patience is very easy to lose during that time. When you find yourself growing frustrated, take a deep breath and take a step back. Remind yourself that being patient equals less stress, and less stress means you have more energy to put into your job search.