Guess what? Things won’t change on their own. Instead, you are the one who has to take a leap and change something. The best way to do that is to embark on the adventure of job searching.
II. What Is the Hardest Part of Job Searching and the Biggest Challenge of Getting a New Job?
That’s why I prepared this article that goes over the best tips on job hunting. We’ll go over the answers to the most common questions that are probably ruminating in your mind.
➤ Is Finding a Job Difficult?
Overall — yes. However, it’s not impossible. Finding a job that fits your skill set and your wishlist (that probably includes a specific workplace culture, salary, and, of course, position) is an uphill battle but not one that you can’t win.
I often get asked two specific questions:
- What is a good way to find a job?
- What’s the fastest way to find a job?
These are tough questions, even though they seem easy to answer. Finding a job is difficult. Glassdoor reports that the HR that lists a corporate job offer gets around 250 resumes. Out of those 250 poor souls, the HR will only call in 4 or 6 for an interview, and they’ll only hire one person. That makes your chances of getting a job 1:250.
~ Mission (Im)Possible
Sounds dreadful, right? But don’t worry, there are plenty of job offers and potential employers on the market.
If we look at the 2020 statistics for job searching, we’ll see that the easiest way (or, better said, the most common method) to find a new job is through networking. Almost 60% of job offers happen thanks to proper networking. In fact, 87% of recruiters report they use LinkedIn (which is one of the best ways to network online) to check on their candidates.
Some would say that the fastest way to find a new job is to get on LinkedIn and never get off. But is that all?
- ✔️ According to 78% of recruiters, enthusiastic candidates have better chances of getting hired.
- ✔️ If you can’t muster enthusiasm, make sure you meet all the job requirements and have good conversation skills. 76% of recruiters cite these two as the advantages candidates need to get a job.
- ✔️ Foul body odor and casual (or sloppy) appearance are detrimental for candidates, according to 62% of recruiters.
- ✔️ Typos are a huge red flag for 72% of recruiters.
- Decide what it is you want to do in life
- Do your research regarding the potential employees and job positions
- Make an impeccable resume
- Follow it up with a fantastic cover letter
- If you aren’t on LinkedIn, you practically don’t exist
- Networking matters (a lot)
- Job search engines are the way to go
- But don’t overlook social media
- Tailor your application for each job listing
- Don’t wait for their call; reach out to companies
- But don’t be too pushy
- Prepare for interviews (extensively)
- Don’t make common interview mistakes
- Always send thank-you notes
III. Unsure Whether You Need a New Job? Here Are 7 Sure Signs You Do
If you’re unhappy at your current job, you should look for another one. You aren’t supposed to make yourself miserable so that you could earn a living. Being happy and having a job aren’t mutually exclusive.
But when is the right time to start looking for a new job?
Pro Tip — looking for a job while employed? Make sure you:
✔️ Don’t advertise your job search.
✔️ Time it strategically, and don’t look at job postings in the office.
✔️ Don’t use office resources to look for a new job.
✔️ Make sure you are selective when handing out your resume.
➤ Layoffs Are Coming
Let’s face it — world events have been particularly trying this past year. But even before, the job market was unstable. You could have a stable job one day and be unemployed the next.
The best time to start looking for a new job is while you still have the old position. Luckily, most people can tell if layoffs are imminent or not. Has your workload been steadily decreasing over the past few months? If so, that’s a huge red flag and a signal to jump on job search apps and websites.
If your company’s business has slowed down lately, or several significant clients have left or are delaying payment — hit the road before the management hits you with the firing squad (figuratively, of course).
➤ You’re Dreading Going Back to the Office Every Night
Not everyone leaves their job because they had to. Some people do it because they are unhappy. That’s a perfectly valid reason for moving on.
That’s especially true if you’re dreading going to work. Sure, not everyone is ecstatic every night for the new workday tomorrow. However, if all you can think about every night is how boring, stressful, or horrid your day is going to be, then you might need a new job.
➤ The Pay Is Capped
We all work for money, so it’s not surprising that the salary is one of the critical factors when it comes to job search and job change. If your current position is as high as you can climb the corporate ladder and, thus, your salary is as high as it is ever going to be, it might be time to reconsider it.
That’s especially true if you’ve already asked for a pay raise and been denied. Of course, sometimes (such as in dire times like the ones we’re living in now), a pay raise isn’t something that’s realistic when employers are struggling to keep their staff employed. However, there’s a difference between not getting a raise at that particular moment and not getting a raise at all.
➤ You Feel As If You’ve Hit a Ceiling
There are plenty of types of jobs out there. Some, you’re meant to work for the rest of your life, and others you’re more likely to outgrow. In job interviews, job seekers often say they moved on from their past position because they feel as if they learned everything they can.
If you feel as if you’ve hit the ceiling in your current position, it might be time to move on to other companies (ones that offer more opportunities for growth and career advancement).
➤ The Management Isn’t Utilizing Your Skills
We all have specific skills that make us uniquely qualified for our jobs. However, that doesn’t mean we’ll be utilizing those skills all day, every day. Don’t forget that every job has some menial, tedious tasks that have to be done. Not everything is fun and games, as they say.
However, if you feel that those menial tasks that anyone could do are taking up all your available time and that your skill set isn’t appreciated or utilized, you might want to move on. If that’s the case, the management struggles with work and resource distribution, which means that you’ll most likely be stuck with an unfulfilling job.
➤ You’re Stressed, and Your Performance Is Suffering
If you work in a highly stressful field, then stress is something you learn to live with and leave at the office. But if your work isn’t overtly stressful but you’re still stressed every day, that’s a huge problem.
Stress can have detrimental effects on our physical and mental health. Therefore, if the circumstance, organization, co-workers, or anything else related to your current job are making you stressed out to the point where your health is suffering, you should already be looking for a new job.
➤ You’re Looking for a Career Change
People often find themselves with a decade of experience under their belts and a surprising thought that they should, in fact, be doing something else entirely. They figure out what their true passion is or where their skills lie. Unfortunately, their current jobs don’t really align with these epiphanies.
If that’s the case with you, then you should look into changing careers. Yes, it’s tough, and you’ll most likely have to start at an entry-level position. However, it can also be exhilarating, and the best thing that ever happened to you.
Don’t forget — sure signs you need a new job:
- You might get fired
- Toxic workplace
- Small pay
- Unutilized skills
- Stressful job
- Affected health
IV. 14 Best Job Searching Tips and Job Hunting Advice
➤ 1. Make Some Hard Decisions
Job search isn’t something that we do when we’re about to lose our current jobs or are desperate for a change. According to a survey, 91% of people regularly look at job postings. What’s more, over the last couple of decades, people are more prone to changing jobs than before. Millennials will change around four jobs during the first ten years after higher education. In comparison, back in the day, baby boomers only changed their job twice during the same ten-year period.
So it’s safe to say that browsing (or actively looking through) job listings is a common pastime.
However, if you’re really looking for a change, then you have to make some hard decisions. Think about what it is you actually want out of a job. Is it a better salary, more flexibility, different responsibilities, or something else entirely?
Before you start applying left and right, think about what you want to do for the next few years, and then begin your search.
➤ 2. Do Your Research
If you’ve been safely tucked away in your company for quite some time, then it’s probable that you don’t even know what the job market is offering. Therefore, you have some heavy research ahead of you.
Before you apply for a specific job, see what the market has to offer in general. Then compare particular job listings in terms of:
- company culture
What’s more, research the leading companies or merely the ones you think would be a good fit for you in the field you’re interested in. Check out their reviews, current job openings, and other information. Follow the companies on social media (this will come in handy later).
You’ll need to know at least the ballpark of the salary for the positions you’re applying for. You can check salary trends for specific jobs (note that they will differ depending on the area you live in).
Aside from that, it would be ideal to talk to someone who actually works for or has worked for the companies you’re targeting. Former or current employees will tell you more about the company culture and what’s expected of employees than hiring managers ever could.
Tip Of The Day:
➤ 3. Update Your Resume
Now that you have a general idea of what you want to do and where, it’s time to apply for some jobs, right?
Wrong. Although I’m sure you already have a CV or a resume handy, don’t just upload it and send it willy-nilly. Make sure it’s impeccable first.
A good resume is a summary of your entire career — both academic and professional. However, it shouldn’t include everything you’ve ever done. Think of your resume as a movie trailer. You want to highlight the best parts in the limited amount of space you have. Of course, unlike a movie trailer, your resume should include your best “scenes” in context.
So, before you apply for a job, check your resume and CV so you can make sure they showcase who you are as a potential employee. Also, make sure they are up to date. If the last time you tweaked your resume was five years ago, I’m sure there are plenty of things you need to add and remove from it.
Finally, make sure that your resume includes your contact information and no typos. You might remember my tip from earlier — typos put off a staggering 72% of recruiters.
Tip Of The Day:
- A good resume has all the necessary information about your skills and experience.
- It should be esthetically pleasing.
- Be concise and to the point with items in your resume, but make space to explain some finer points as well.
➤ 4. Tailor Your Application for Each Job Listing
Now that you have a resume, you need to tweak it some more. Ah, yes, I know, it seems as if you’ll never be done with this job-hunting business. But tweaking your resume and application to tailor each specific job listing is vital for your success.
Here’s the thing — applying for jobs looks a lot different today than it did ten or twenty years ago. Do you know who will be the first “person” to see your resume? A computer algorithm. Big companies or companies that outsource their talent hunt to HR companies use applicant tracking systems that go over all resumes and pick out those that fit the mold the best.
That’s why it’s vital that the items on your resume fit the items on the company’s “wishlist.” Make each item on your resume an apparent “hit” for the job ad. Also, make sure that you write it out in simple terms.
Furthermore, even if there’s no algorithm, the first person who will take a look at your resume will probably be a low-level HR staff member who might not understand the job posting’s nuances. That’s another reason to tailor your resume and make sure you’re using the same language and terms as in the job posting.
➤ 5. Write a Stellar Cover Letter
A cover letter is your second opportunity to showcase that you’re specifically applying for that particular job. That shows enthusiasm, dedication, and commitment.
As you probably guessed from my previous statement, a cover letter can’t be generic. You have to write one specifically for a job you’re applying to. A customized cover letter tells the hiring manager that you aren’t just after a job title but that you’re looking to become a member of that company.
I’ve said it once, and I’ll repeat it — if you don’t have a LinkedIn profile (a good one), then you might as well not bother applying to jobs. Over 80% of hiring managers will check their candidates on LinkedIn.
Therefore, if you don’t have a profile there, or your profile is bare and boring, the hiring manager will quickly write you off and throw your resume in the “no” pile.
Here’s another thing to keep in mind — your LinkedIn profile isn’t set in stone. I know many people who have brought their profiles to utter perfection (in their own humble opinions) and refuse to change anything. If that’s the case with you, then you have a problem on your hands.
Just like with your resume, your LinkedIn profile should showcase that you’re a perfect match for a specific job position. Therefore, if you’re applying for positions other than the one you’re currently working on, you’re going to have to tweak some things.
LinkedIn is one of the most powerful tools when it comes to job hunting. If you use it often and correctly, then you might not even have to look for a job — a job might just find you!
➤ 7. Don’t Forget About Networking
Have I mentioned already that networking is the number one way to get a job? Once or twice? Yeah, that’s because it’s the best career advice I ever received.
Networking isn’t something you do when you decide to change jobs. It should be something that you regularly do whenever you meet someone who’s someone in your industry.
However, your networking efforts need to go into overdrive when you are looking for a new job. Seek out industry events where hiring managers might be on the prowl for fresh talent. Join groups relevant to your industry and make sure you’re as active as your time allows. Position yourself as a knowledgeable, helpful, and well-rounded person in those groups because you never know who’s watching.
➤ 8. Job Search Websites Are Your New Best Friends
I often get asked one puzzling question — is applying online a waste of time? Of course it isn’t. Everything is done online these days, so why not job hunting? By having an active LinkedIn profile, you’re already job hunting online.
However, don’t limit your search in any way, especially by only checking a few job hunting sites. Utilize any and all job search engines that you can. Sites like Glassdoor, Monster, ZipRecruiter, Career Builder, etc., should be high in your “frequently visited” history.
To save some time, try out job search engines that allow you to search through all the major job hunting spots at the same time. They’ll list out job search sites I already mentioned (and a few dozen more) as well as company sites and all other sites that might be a hit based on your keywords. Make sure you also try Google for Jobs — that will also save you a lot of time.
Besides that, take that list of companies you’d like to work for that you made before (see tip #1) and check their websites to see if they have a job listing or a “Job Opportunities” page. It sometimes pays to apply directly on the company’s website.
When people ask me what some of the best social media sites for job searching are, I tell them — all of them. Social media can help you immensely in your job search. However, you can’t just publish a Facebook post that you’re looking for a job and congratulate yourself on a job well done.
There’s a specific etiquette when it comes to job hunting and social media. Your social media profiles are a great way to have an online presence. You can use them to subtly showcase just how knowledgeable in your field you actually are. What’s more, they are a fantastic tool for networking.
Via social media, you’ll quickly get in touch with people who work in your field (or in fields you’re interested in). By connecting with them, you’ll have a large audience for your content, someone to ask for advice, and you’ll increase your visibility.
However, make sure that social media doesn’t come back to bite you in the behind. If you open up your profiles, always be careful of what you post. Your future employers (and your current ones) will take a peek at your social media to get a better insight into who you are as a person outside of work. So make sure everything is squeaky clean.
➤ 10. Reach Out to Companies
If you really want to get a job fast, you can’t just send an application and sit and wait for them to call you. No! You have to find an in.
To do that, you have to reach out to companies and set up informational interviews or reach out to recruiters with (intelligent) questions (for example).
Aside from that, you should also reach out to some of your (hopefully) future co-workers. Today, more and more companies are relying on their current staff to bring in new talent. That means you’re more likely to get into the company if you know someone “on the inside.”
But what if you don’t? Well, make a connection. Reach out to people on LinkedIn and talk to them (like a normal person, not in a stalker-like manner). Ask them about their experience in the company and show just how interested you are. They’ll pick up on your interest and perhaps say a good word about you to the hiring manager (or even point the hiring manager in your direction).
➤ 11. But Don’t Be Too Pushy
Building a rapport with the hiring staff and current employees is vital, but you can’t go overboard. If someone clearly has no interest in what you’re asking or doesn’t have the time for your questions, don’t be pushy.
It’s not like you can bore someone into hiring you. Reach out, lay the seeds, and give them time to sprout.
➤ 12. Preparing for Interviews Is Vital
People often ask themselves (and me) — is getting an interview the hardest part of job hunting? The answer is both yes and no. Sure, getting in front of a person who can actually decide to hire you is extremely difficult. However, getting a call for an interview is also not the most challenging part — nailing it is infinitely harder.
You must prepare for each interview. That means you have to do in-depth research about the company and prepare answers for some questions the hiring manager will surely ask (like these 55 common interview questions).
Make sure your appearance is appropriate (no shorts in interviews!) and that you look presentable. Even if the interview is via phone, preparation is a must.
➤ 13. Avoid Common Interview Mistakes
The interview is just one of the steps in the hiring process. After the first one, if you’ve done everything right, you’ll get asked to do a second interview.
If the hiring managers don’t call you back for another interview, you probably made one of the common interview mistakes. Here’s what might have been detrimental:
- You called the hiring manager by the wrong name.
- When asked about the company, you didn’t know the answer.
- You didn’t have a good elevator pitch (one that would sell you as the perfect fit in 30 seconds or less).
- The skills you highlighted were the wrong ones (for example, you talked about how you excel as a leader when the job requires teamwork and isn’t for a managerial position).
- You didn’t follow directions before or during the interview.
- The references you gave them weren’t all positive (sometimes, even one previous manager or boss can hurt your chances if they don’t sing your praises).
- Your social media profiles were too revealing or too unprofessional.
➤ 14. Always Send Thank You Notes
Follow-ups are a great way to build rapport and show that you’re interested in the position and invested in getting the job.
Ideally, you should send thank-you notes or emails to everyone who has been involved in your interview as soon as possible. Of course, don’t rush home to send the email, but do make sure you send it within 24 hours of the interview.
V. What NOT to Do When Job Hunting
Make sure you’re not:
➤ Limiting Your Options
A lot of people don’t apply for a job because they don’t meet all the criteria. That’s a common mistake. Just because you aren’t the perfect candidate on paper doesn’t mean the hiring manager will think you’re not ideal.
Apply anyway; it’s not like it’ll cost you anything.
➤ Overlooking Simple Mistakes
The typos I mentioned are just one example of simple mistakes that can cost you dearly. Inappropriate email addresses and calling someone by the wrong name are another two.
➤ Bad Mouthing Your Former Employers
No matter how bad your previous job was, never badmouth it in an interview. The hiring manager won’t be sympathetic. You’ll only end up looking like an unloyal and unprofessional employee.
➤ Presenting a Bad or Overworked Image
I already mentioned that you have to look appropriate during your interview. However, it’s also crucial that the way you look isn’t overworked. A smart casual attire or business attire is your best bet. Going too formal will make you look bad.
➤ Coming off as Desperate
There’s a fine line between being enthusiastic and desperate, so make sure you fall on the right side. You want the hiring manager to get that you’re eager, but not that your whole life hangs on this one interview. Make it seem as though you have options, but be respectful about it.
➤ Giving Up
Yes, I know that job hunting is hard, but you mustn’t give up no matter what. It might take a seemingly never-ending interviewing process and some compromising, but you’ll land that dream job!
Tip of the day:
VI. What to Do While Searching for a Job — Extra Job Searching Tips
✔️ Researching the Company Isn’t Enough
Going over the company’s website is a must, but it isn’t enough. Follow the company on social media, investigate their brand and culture so you could learn how to become a part of it. In reality, it’s best if you can come off as being a fan of the company. That’s the best way to build a rapport.
✔️ The Image You Create is Vital
We all want to seem knowledgeable and confident during job interviews. However, presenting a robust and impenetrable image isn’t always the best way to go about things. Sometimes it’s better to seem open and vulnerable.
Make sure you ask people for advice and show admiration for them. That will make you seem like a down-to-earth person with a willingness to learn.
✔️ Passion Is Important But Skills Will Always Trump it
Passion is essential, and it will make you stand out from the crowd. However, if you ask hiring managers, having a specific skill set is more important when it comes to hiring staff. Sure, you might have a passion for being a manager, but do you have the necessary clout?
✔️ Also, Passion Isn’t Always the Pinnacle of Job Searching
We always hear those famous words — follow your passion. Well, that’s great for people whose passion is lucrative and fits within the job search parameters. What about the rest?
Sometimes following your reason is better than following your passion.
✔️ If They Don’t Have a Position for You, You Can Create It
Hiring managers are always looking for people who will offer them solutions. If it’s possible, try to identify a problem a company has during your research. Then, come up with a solution you’ll present to the hiring staff. This might actually get you a job that wasn’t there before you came in.
✔️ Quality Trumps Quantity
People who are asking themselves, Is it bad to apply to too many jobs? should know that sometimes it is. If you apply to a lot of job listings, you’ll inevitably end up doing poor research on the various companies. What’s more, you’ll probably be underprepared for the eventual interview. It’s better to go for quality over quantity.
- Researching the company should always be thorough. What’s more, it’s best if you go a step further and follow their social media, communicate with them in any way, reach out to their employees, etc.
- Your resume, CV, and cover letter need to be not only impeccable and typo-free but also tailored for a specific job listing (not a specific position).
- If you aren’t on LinkedIn, the hiring managers will probably overlook your application.
- Networking is more likely to land you a job than any other job-hunting strategy.
- Scrub your social media clean of anything unprofessional and then use it to build a respectable image of yourself (and for networking).
- Interviews require a lot of extensive preparations.
- Reaching out to companies before and after the interview is vital but make sure you aren’t too pushy.
- Never badmouth your current or any of your former employers.
Don’t be shy — tell me in a comment below! And, if you have some other tips for all the readers looking for help, scribble them down as well; I’d love to hear them!
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