Looking for a job? Odds are your job-hunting skills are a bit rusty because either you’ve been happily employed until recently or you’ve recently graduated and are ready to jump into the professional workforce for the first time. Here are few tips for navigating today’s job market:
Look to your right and to your left
Many job seekers start their search online, but we suggest first thinking about those in your inner circle—friends, family, former work colleagues—who might know of an opening that would be a good fit. The benefits of someone you know connecting you to an employer are twofold: they know you, so would likely offer a recommendation on your behalf, and they likely know a bit about the employer. They might even have first-hand knowledge about the company or organization’s culture, ethical standards, and whether employees enjoy working there. These are things that can be tough, or even impossible, to detect through a basic online job search.
Cast a wide net
Don’t just hunt for that perfect “dream” job. While you want to narrow in on a field that fits your experience and skills, don’t hesitate to apply for jobs that are not a 100 percent match. Job seekers, especially women, often underestimate the value they can bring to a role. For many jobs, the routine tasks are learned or refined on the job. If you meet the majority of the qualifications and feel you can quickly learn the rest, apply for the job. Just make sure your resume demonstrates a track record of success in learning new things.
If you’re open to relocating, you might just have your pick of great job opportunities. For example, tech industry booms in Boulder, San Jose, and Austin mean that “help wanted” signs are popping up in almost every business sector. A quick search on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website can point you to other cities with low unemployment rates, including Madison, WI, Lincoln, NE, and Huntsville, AL. See what’s out there in your field. Make sure to mention in your cover letter that you’re willing to relocate. Also, if these are new markets to you, it’d be worth a few bucks to hire an employment recruiting company.
Don’t neglect your happiness
It may feel counter-intuitive, but prioritize job satisfaction over pay. Yes, really. Ask employees or others in the know about the company and the organization’s culture. Will you have the mother of all commutes or oppressively long hours? If so, will you love the job enough to make it worth giving up the other priorities in your life? If you’re happy in your role, your relationship with your employer will be better, and you’ll stay in the job longer. All that adds up to fewer job-hunting excursions!
There is a job out there that’s just right for you and a hiring manager looking for the best person to fill it. So, hold your head high and get started. You’ve got this.
- Customize your resume for each position you apply to
- Include an informative cover letter that focuses on your attributes and successes. Don’t regurgitate your experience from your resume
- Make a strong first impression in your interview—dress for the job you want, have ready your reasons for why you’re right for the role, and ask informed questions to show you’re familiar with the company
- Follow up with a quick note thanking the interviewer for the time
- After 7-10 days, follow up with a phone call to check in—keep it pleasant, avoid sounding pesky or needy