Top Strategies for a Successful Job Search
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Looking for a job can be a mixed bag. On one hand it can be quite exciting while on the other it can feel extremely chore-like and frustrating. It is common to feel overwhelmed by the process at any stage in your career. Where to look, what terms to search, and how to navigate interviews and offers is a lot to educate yourself on. However, job hunting at some point in your life is inevitable, so it is in your best interest to approach the process with positivity, and a few tips and tricks.
Prioritize Your Education
At first glance you may assume that this tip applies exclusively to your formal education. While a formal degree or training program is not unimportant it is not the only thing to be educated on as a job seeker. We do not have any way to know the future of education and how it will pertain to being a desirable candidate for the workforce in the future. So, one way to find success in this process and potentially even enjoy it, is to educate yourself on the process in advance of starting it.
Think about what goes into find a new job from start to finish. Educate yourself on things like current resume layout and design, cover letter formats, Zoom culture, common interview questions and how to answer them, the list can go on. The point being, you will need to bring much more than a degree or a certificate with you to an interview and in some cases all these extras can carry as much as if not more weight than your educational stats.
Expand on Existing Skills
While a formal education is not everything, it is something. Explore the possibility of building on yours to put yourself in a better standing for your potential or upcoming job search. If you have an undergraduate degree, explore what a graduate degree can do for you in terms of job opportunities, salary increases, and personal growth as well. The goal here is to make yourself marketable and in some cases multiple degrees can say a lot about you to a recruiter before you have a chance to speak for yourself.
Consider what graduate degree would hinge nicely onto your undergrad degree, and from there investigate what types of career paths you can pursue with this new skill set. Paying for a graduate degree is not cheap though so bear that fact in mind. Potentially your current or a future employer offers a program that you can participate in where they will foot the bill. If not, there is always the option to take out a student loan from a private lender to pay for your graduate degree. Research the earning potential of your targeted career to determine if your eventual earnings give you a favorable ROI on a graduate degree.
Build a Network
You can only do so much on paper to make your resume stand out from the tons of other applicants that will come across a hiring managers desk. In many cases building a strong network of professional contacts is the best way to get your name out there. Traditional methods for finding a job are not always the most effective in terms of timelines, and it is also important to note that the best approach will be constantly evolving. Having connections, however, will remain constant.
If you are still in college, your counselors and peers are great examples of ways to build your network, as a young professional look to colleagues within your industry that you can link yourself to. College alumni groups, volunteer organizations, and even clubs or teams associated with a personal hobby are also all great examples of place to seek out opportunities to build your network. Remember every kindness that is extended to you and adopt an attitude of gratitude. When networking, all you have is your reputation. It is essential that you create a good name for yourself and be sure to maintain those efforts for the long haul.
Do Your Research
If you adopt a haphazard approach to your job hunt you might end up going on dead end interviews or even worse, accepting a dead-end job. One way to avoid this is to be intentional and do your research. Think about the job title you hope to have, as well as the type of company you hope to work for. In some cases, you might be willing to bend a little in one area if the pros outweigh the cons in another. For example, if you have the chance to interview at your dream company, but the role is not your dream, that is something to think about. Do you want to pass up the chance to work there to hold out for your ideal position? Or are you comfortable taking a role that does not excite you as much but affords you the opportunity to be a part of the corporation in another capacity?
Once your research has allowed you to streamline your search, which has landed you an interview, here is where it really matters. If a hiring manager gets a feeling from you that you are not invested in the opportunity there is no amount of sweet talk that can change their mind. If you accept an interview, you need to research the company, learn about the person you will be interviewing with in a professional capacity, and have thoughtful questions prepared based on your research. Find a unique statistic that interests you that you can circle back to during your interview. For example, learning about the philanthropic efforts of the company and referencing them in your interview means that you have clearly done research and preparation than simply browsing their homepage for basic tidbits.
Do not be casual when conducting your job search. If you land an interview this means that you, or your resume, have already made a first impression on the company, and hiring manager, but do not let it be your last. An interview is your opportunity to bring to life everything they saw and presumably liked on paper, so acing that is important. Not having a strong follow up game is a mistake though. Thank everyone who took time out of their schedule for you, emails or even personal thank you notes are always appropriate. These personalized follow ups are also the perfect time for you to drive home once more why you are the best fit for the open position.
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