Job Hunting – How To Get Your Dream Job
Job hunting involves more than searching for open positions and sending your CV to employers. You also need to make sure you’re a good fit for the job, can catch the hiring manager’s attention and are well-prepared to answer interview questions. Here are 14 tips that you can use to improve your chances of finding the job you are looking for:
Know your career goals.
Get CV and cover letter help.
Use all job search resources.
Apply with confidence.
Succeed in your current job.
Identify examples of your skills.
Prepare for interviews.
Expand your skills.
If You’re Not on LinkedIn, You Very Nearly Don’t Exist
Your Thank You Matters
1. Know your career goals.
First, identify the type of career you want. This is particularly important for people entering the workforce for the first time or changing careers. Get recommendations from family, professors, a career coach or former co-workers. Make sure you have a clear and realistic goal, determine how you plan to reach it and note what qualifies you for that career path. These steps can help you narrow your job search to positions you are passionate about and will help you advance professionally.
2. Plan ahead.
Organize yourself and your schedule to search for jobs more efficiently. Determine how many hours per day or what days of the week you will dedicate to job hunting or networking. Make sure your CV and cover letter are up to date. If you need help creating these, search for templates or samples online. Have a list of two to three references and their contact information ready to provide employers.
Create or update your profile on professional networking websites and create a spreadsheet to note the jobs you have applied for and the interviews you have received. You might also choose to set up a professional email account to keep your job search messages separate and organized from your personal ones. Completing these steps before starting your job search can make the process faster and easier.
3. Get CV and cover letter help.
Getting your CV and Cover letter right is critical, in 99% of cases this is your first point of contact so you have to ensure you get their attention. So ask a friend, family member, co-worker, career counsellor or other professional to proofread your CV and cover letter for errors, as well as to offer advice. Do ensure you have spellchecked both. Some job seekers even choose to work with a professional CV-writing service or resource to save time and enhance your CV and cover letter. See our tips on Cover letters and CV’s here.
Remember That Your CV (And LinkedIn Profile) Is Not A Tattoo
Yes, your new CV is lovely. Your LinkedIn profile, breathtaking. However, if they don’t position you as a direct match for a particular role that you’re gunning for, don’t be afraid to modify wording, switch around key terms, and swap bullet points in and out. Your CV is not a tattoo, nor is your LinkedIn profile. Treat them as living, breathing documents throughout your job search (and career).
So Make Yourself A “Smack-In-The-Forehead” Obvious Fit.
When you apply for a job via an online application process, it is very likely that your CV will first be screened by an applicant tracking system and then (assuming you make this first cut) move onto human eyeballs. The first human eyeballs that review your CV are often those of a lower level HR person who may or may not understand all of the nuances of that job for which you’re applying.
Therefore, you should make it very simple for both the computer and the human to quickly connect their
“Here’s what we’re looking for”
“Here’s what you can walk through our doors and deliver.”
Study the job description and any available information you have on the position. Are you mirroring the words and phrases in the job description? Are you showcasing your strengths in the areas that seem to be of paramount importance to this role? Line it up.
4. Use all job search resources.
Rather than limiting yourself to manual online searches, take advantage of all job search options. This might include reaching out to companies or hiring managers in person, attending career fairs, searching social media or using a career counselling service. Use job search engines to find openings on job boards, company websites, professional associations and more.
5. Research companies.
As you find job listings that interest you, research the hiring companies before applying. This can provide you with information about their company culture, benefits and salary range, products and services and work environment. Your research will tell you whether you want to or are qualified to work for that company. It also gives you valuable information you can reference in your cover letter or interview.
6. Apply with confidence.
Apply for jobs you are interested in even if you only meet some of their requirements. Depending on the position, employers might hire motivated individuals who learn quickly and provide them with skills training on the job. If you meet a portion of a job’s qualifications but believe you can still succeed in that role, apply. Include examples of your work ethic and ability to learn new skills in your CV. Emphasise how your goals align with those of the company.
7. Succeed in your current job.
If you are currently employed and looking for a better or different career, continue to perform your current job with positivity and commitment. Maintain good relationships with your co-workers and managers as long as you’re working with them. Your professional attitude and efforts can result in job references or opportunities in the future. Also you never know when you might need or work with them again.
8. Network regularly.
Interact with people and develop professional contacts both online and in person. Start conversations with people at seminars, social events or appointments. Let them know you’re looking for a job or want to work in a certain industry. They might have connections or advice that can help you in your job search. You might also discover unlisted job openings or people might recommend you for future opportunities.
9. Identify examples of your skills.
People tend to remember engaging stories and examples over lists of facts. Plan ahead by identifying personal experiences or accomplishments that highlight the skills needed for a certain job. Add these to your cover letter and use them during networking opportunities or job interviews. Use the STAR method—situation, task, action and result—to tell your story effectively.
10. Prepare for interviews.
Research common interview questions, create responses for them and practice those responses before you get invited to an interview. Ask a friend or professional contact to do a practice interview with you. If you are well-prepared, you will be more confident and comfortable when you go into your next interview. Treat the interview and interviewer with the respect that they deserve. You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
11. Follow up.
Immediately after a job interview, send the hiring manager a thank-you note. If you have not heard back from them after a week, follow up with a phone call or an email. When doing so, show your excitement and interest in the job. While you wait for a response, continue searching for and applying to jobs that interest you.
12. Expand your skills.
If you are just entering the workforce or starting a new career, you might need more training or experience to get a job. Consider getting an internship or volunteering with an organization in your desired industry while applying for jobs. Use these opportunities to expand your network of contacts or advance to a full-time position. You might also take online courses or attend workshops to build certain skills or learn technologies and processes relevant to your industry. Update your CV as you gain more experience or accomplishments.
13. If You’re Not on LinkedIn, You Very Nearly Don’t Exist.
Considering that more than 90% of recruiters use LinkedIn as their primary search tool, this is not an understatement. If you’re a professional, you need to not only be on LinkedIn, you need to be using it to your full advantage. Don’t believe me? Think about it this way: If tomorrow morning, a recruiter logs onto LinkedIn looking for someone in your geography, with expertise in what you do, and you’re not there? Guess who they’re going to find and contact? Yes, that person’s name is “not you.”
If you figure out how to harness the power of no other social media tool for job search, figure out LinkedIn. It’s (by far) the best resource we have available today for career and job search networking, for finding people working at companies of interest, and for positioning yourself to be found by a recruiter who has a relevant job opening.
14. Your Thank You Matters.
I once placed a candidate into an financial controller role with a leading manufacturing company. He was competing head-to-head with another Financial Controller, who had similar talents and experience and wanted the job just as badly. My candidate sent a thoughtful, non-robotic thank you note to each person with whom he’d interviewed, within about two hours of leaving their offices. The other candidate sent nothing.
Guess why my candidate got the job offer? Yep, the thoughtful, non-robotic thank you notes. They sealed the deal for him, especially considering the other front-runners.