Once upon a time, it was possible to get a job as soon as you graduated from high school or university. Unfortunately or not, those days are long gone; today, it can take a while before you gain decent employment. However, with the right strategies and tips on how to search for a job, this process should not be much of a challenge.
Forget about sending applications to every single advertisement you stumble upon—such methods won’t give you any results. On the contrary, you may even end up disappointed and doubting your capabilities, as no one ever replies to your applications, let alone invites you for an interview.
To save you from stressing out and wasting your precious time, we’ve created a comprehensive guide to navigate you through the job search. Let’s get started!
Job searching is not a one-time process. It requires you to stay dedicated and persistent until the day you get officially hired.
Sending out job applications for every single vacancy you stumble upon is of no use. Rather than spraying and praying, you need to figure out how to search for a job and develop effective strategies.
Don’t neglect the power of networking. Your former coworkers or bosses, even people you don’t know personally, may turn out to be valuable resources on your career path.
Before You Start Searching For a Job
Despite what many people think, job seeking does not imply forwarding your CV or resume, as well as cover letters, to companies advertising vacancies. Believe it or not, it’s only a part of the entire job-hunting process.
Before you actually click the ‘Apply’ button and send these documents, there are several steps to take.
#1. Define Your Career Goals
Prior to beginning your search, you should be aware of your career goals. Otherwise, what would be the point of looking for a new job if you don’t know what progress you expect on your career path?
Once you’ve determined your career goals, think about the skills you may need to get to the desired position, then search for the roles that could help you acquire those skills.
Other things you may want to take into consideration include:
Define Your Career Goals Questions
Are you applying for the same or different position from the one you currently have, or are you switching careers completely?
Where do you see yourself in the next five years? How will the new job help you get there?
Are you applying for a more senior position compared to your current one? Do you have enough knowledge, skills, and experience for it?
#2. Update Your Resume
Having a resume that is up-to-date and informational yet concise is of utmost importance for your job search. If you’re not sure how to create yours, check out our resume builder. It will take you no more than several minutes to come up with a perfect resume that sums up your impressive professional experience.
Moreover, you should make sure that you have included all the mandatory fields in it. Your resume would be incomplete without:
Mandatory Resume Sections
Don’t just list the companies you worked for and your roles in them—focus on your achievements instead. The recruiter always seeks to discover how you stand out from other candidates who probably have similar competencies.
Last but not least, make your resume ATS-friendly. Today, recruiters and hiring managers rely on ATS (applicant tracking systems) to sift through candidates. If your resume is not well formatted and doesn’t include role-specific keywords, chances are that it will be simply discarded.
#3. Enhance Your LinkedIn Profile
LinkedIn serves as a digital representation of your CV or resume. Therefore, it’s vital that you not only update and optimize it on a regular basis but also boost your personal brand on the network.
In this digital era, recruiters rely excessively on LinkedIn to look for prospective candidates. You can improve your chances of being spotted by liking posts, commenting, and engaging with your network. Also, create and share your own industry-specific posts to drive traffic to your profile.
Boosting your LinkedIn activity will increase your Social Selling Index and thus enhance your visibility to recruiters and potential employers.
#4. Research Companies & Jobs
Performing research on companies and positions may turn out to be extremely beneficial for your job search. In fact, 70% of candidates will research the company before applying.
Once you’ve gathered all the necessary information, you can use it to:
Importance of Researching Companies & Jobs
Tailor your resume and cover letter for the specific position at the company
Negotiate a higher salary
Offer better answers to interview questions
The first step to take when researching a company is to check its background information. Here you can learn what its main product or service is, what the company culture is, and what the latest trends and developments are.
Next, read the job description thoroughly to fully understand the role. This will help you see whether you included the necessary keywords in your resume and realize if the specific job is a match for you at the moment.
Finally, the research will also give you insight into what salary you can expect at this position, as well as whether you would enjoy working for that company.
#5. Prepare a Cover Letter
While many people believe that only a resume will do, a nicely written cover letter may boost your chances of being invited for an interview. This one-page, 250-to-400-word document is much more important than you think, as it serves as a pitch for your resume.
With a cover letter, you not only give a recruiter a chance to get to know you better, but you also elaborate on how the company may benefit from your knowledge, skills, and experience.
#6. Be Mindful of Your Skills
Identifying your skills, competencies, and field of expertise will help you shortlist jobs and target companies that have advertised vacancies for them.
Having the required skills will increase your chances of moving forward to the next step of the selection process. Additionally, this will spare you from wasting your time and energy on positions you’re not fit for.
Even though you might be hard-working and conscientious, if you don’t possess the hard skills needed for the role, chances are the company won’t take you into consideration.
In addition to role-specific skills, you should also pay attention to your soft skills—don’t neglect them, as they are of key importance if you’re considering a career change.
8 Ways to Search for a Job
Now that you’ve defined your career goals, polished your resume and LinkedIn profile, and familiarized yourself with the preparatory steps, the time has come to start your job search.
Efficient job hunting doesn’t mean sending out applications randomly. It implies taking the following strategic steps we’ve mapped out for you:
#1. Use Your Network
If you were wondering how to search for a job on LinkedIn, for example, networking is one of the clues. After all, there is a valid reason why it is referred to as a hidden job market. Many unadvertised vacancies get filled by candidates who found out about them from former colleagues or bosses, as well as friends.
Think of networking as socializing. Whenever you have an opportunity to visit any event related to your industry or connect and meet up with professionals, you should seize it. Your new connections may inform you about any prospective vacancies or refer you to the hiring managers at their companies.
LinkedIn is yet another valuable source of professionals in your industry of interest. Use it to expand your network by connecting with friends of your friends. After all, the greater your LinkedIn network, the bigger the opportunity to learn about new job opportunities.
#2. Contact Recruiters & Headhunters
Reaching out to recruiters and headhunters is one of the best yet most overlooked ways to find a job. These people are responsible for discovering the best candidates to join their teams. Their typical working day involves going through dozens of resumes, screening applicants, sometimes conducting interviews, and forwarding top candidates to hiring managers.
Since many recruiters employ ATS software to inspect hundreds of resumes, if yours is not properly optimized and ATS-friendly, it might be junked and forgotten. But if you contact a recruiter directly, you increase your chances of being recognized as a great candidate and taken into consideration for the upcoming stages of the hiring process.
The most convenient way to find a recruiter is via LinkedIn. Before you reach out to them, make sure that you have updated your resume and profile and prepared a cover letter and some work samples.
#3. Pick a Few Job Boards
What was once a solid job board where employment opportunities used to be advertised has now gone virtual. This has facilitated job seeking to a great extent, as people from all over the globe can look for remote opportunities regardless of their location.
Job boards such as Indeed, Monster, Glassdoor, ZipRecruiter, CareerBuilder, to name just a few, are updated with new vacancies on a daily basis. You can also check out more niche-specific job platforms such as:
Hired.com—a job board for IT and tech companies that look for candidates
Dribble and Behance—One of the most widespread job search platforms for designers
We Work Remotely and FlexJobs—A platform to look for remote positions
AngelList—A job board for startup vacancies.
#4. Attend Career Events & Job Fairs
Organized on a regular basis, job fairs and similar career events are an unprecedented opportunity to not only learn about the companies but also pitch yourself to recruiters. Although job fairs are typically oriented toward specific niches and industries, it doesn’t mean that you can’t stumble upon more generalized ones.
So, make sure you explore and learn about the participating companies, prepare copies of your resume and business cards, and get ready to sell yourself the best you can. Think of conversations with recruiters or prospective employers as mini-interviews that can help you stand out from other applicants.
Additionally, you should be prepared to answer some interview questions, too, as some companies may offer on-site interviews to find candidates that satisfy their requirements.
#5. Use Cold Calling Method
If you’re notably interested in a particular company that hasn’t advertised any open positions, you should think about making cold calls.
Look for the contact details of the company—they are typically located in the ‘About Us’ or ‘Contact Us’ section on the website. Once you find them, you can call the company and inquire about the available job opportunities.
#6. Ask for Referrals
Referrals can be another hidden treasure, so don’t shy away from asking for them. As per a LinkedIn study, hiring companies love referrals, as they speed up the hiring process and lead to exceptional candidates who will stay.
They are also beneficial for employees who refer you to the company, as they may get a finder’s fee. If you’re not personally acquainted with anyone, make use of LinkedIn to expand your network and connect with employees who could refer you to their employer.
#7. Consider Internships/Temporary Positions
Short-term contracts, temporary positions, and internships frequently lead to permanent contracts. Hence, don’t abandon the idea of temping or being an intern, as it may be a great first step towards permanent employment or provide you with valuable contacts to reach out to.
To persuade your boss or manager that you’re the right person for the company, put in your best effort and hard work to transition to a full-time position and stay at the company. Ask questions, take initiative, and take on more responsibilities gradually as you’re getting used to work.
Moreover, if you’ve just finished university and don’t know yet how to search for a job as a graduate, internships are a great way to start. Not only will you gain the much-needed skills and experience, but you will also obtain numerous contacts.
#8. Visit Company Websites and Social Media
If you have a company you would love to work for, visit its website and hit the ‘Careers’ page. There, you will see the positions that are currently open, so you can seize that opportunity and apply for your preferred position. If there are no vacancies for the role you desire, check out if the company has a general application that you can send.
Not all companies post job ads on LinkedIn and other job platforms. Some prefer to hire internally or through their social media. Thus, create a list of companies you’d like to work for and keep an eye on their social networks so that you can apply as soon as they post a new open position.
5 Best Practices on How to Search for a Job
Having a well-developed plan or strategy, combined with a pinch of luck, will help you land that job you’ve wanted for a while. However, you should be aware of the fact that a job search is not something you can complete in a day.
Let’s see what you can do to make the job-hunting process easier:
Job Search Tips
Tailor your resume and cover letter to the type of positions you want to apply for. Before you submit your application, try to include keywords, experience, and skills relevant to the job opportunity and overall industry. In other words, you should not list unrelated roles or experiences, as well as side gigs.
Try informational interviews. If you want to learn more about a specific role, consider asking for an informational interview. Such a conversation may help you grasp if the particular role is for you after all, learn about the company culture, broaden your network, and prepare for job interviews.
Prepare for interviews in advance. To ace the interview and impress the hiring manager or recruiter, you need to make preparations for it beforehand. Ask a friend or family member to do a mock interview with you by asking you some questions you’d expect to hear during the real interview. This can help you gain confidence and come up with some answers beforehand.
Follow up. Following up with a recruiter after an interview shows your interest in the position and your commitment. A general rule is to wait around one week after the interview before reaching out to hiring staff via email and LinkedIn messaging.
Keep track of your applications. This helps you stay organized and never forget a scheduled interview. Making notes and using Google Calendar or specific phone apps can help you keep up with all the applications you’ve sent.
The details and information you should list include the job title and company name, contact information, date of application, and status.
The details and information you should list include the job title and company name, contact information, date of application, and status.
What Not to Do When Searching for a Job
Your job search can be affected by various things, some of which are not in your control. Still, you should pay attention and avoid making mistakes that could eventually affect your job application.
In particular, you should take heed of the following:
Job Search Don'ts
Not having clear career goals. It can be a real struggle if you don’t know what type of job you’re searching for.
Reaching out too much. Contacting hiring staff is acceptable to some extent, but no one likes to be bothered all day, every day.
Sending generic emails, messages, or cover letters. Whenever you’re sending a resume and cover letter to a company, always tailor them to the description of the role you’re applying for.
Making spelling and grammar mistakes. To err is human, but a resume or cover letter that is full of errors should never leave your outbox. Proofread all the documents and emails before you hit the ‘send’ button.
Being unprepared for an interview. Preparation is the key to a candidate’s success. It doesn’t include only researching the company but also choosing questions to ask your potential employer, as well as dressing adequately.
Contrary to what many people believe, job searching is not a straightforward process. It requires patience, dedication, and tenacity to eventually obtain the desired outcome, i.e., employment at a particular company.
However, persistence alone is not enough. You need to pair it with strategies and practices on how to search for a job while employed or unemployed, most of which you can find in our exhaustive guide!
How to Search for a Job FAQ
#1. How to search for a job online?
Some of the best ways to look for a job online include:
Best Ways to Look For a Job Online
Exploring job search platforms such as LinkedIn, Indeed, ZipRecruiter, etc.
Checking out companies’ websites and social media profiles
Sending cold emails
Networking via LinkedIn
#2. How to search for a job with no experience?
If you have no relevant experience for a specific position you’re interested in, you should look for an internship or entry-level positions that don’t require previous experience. Attending industry-specific courses could be beneficial, as you could acquire great knowledge and skills, and various certificates can add value to your resume.
#3. How to ask contacts if they know of any available jobs?
The best way to ask contacts if they know of any available jobs that would be a good fit for you is by sending them a message via LinkedIn. This social network is a great resource of professionals you can reach out to for prospective employment opportunities. Alternatively, you can send them an email or make a phone call.