While searching for a job, you normally get tons of advice on what to do, but unfortunately, most of it turns out ineffective. Well, it is no surprise since job searching isn’t just about applying for jobs and hoping to get called for an interview anymore.
Only some people are able to simply put in an application, get an interview, and land a new job in today’s competitive, network-driven job market. The most successful job seekers utilize a variety of strategies, from establishing a social presence to targeting companies, to help them stand out from the crowd.
Customize your resume and cover letter
Your resume is the main weapon for your job hunt. It is important to take your time and write a concise resume and cover letter. A resume is used to make a favorable impression on a prospective employer and is often the first impression a potential employer has of you. Without a favorable initial impression, a prospective employer is likely to stop considering you as a suitable candidate for the job on offer and move on to other candidates who have provided better resumes.
When creating your resume, the purpose is to create a targeted resume or an achievement-oriented resume that highlights your accomplishments that are relevant to the job you are applying for. Ask a friend, family member, coworker, career counselor, or other professional to proofread your resume and cover letter for errors, as well as to offer advice. This will save you the embarrassment of formatting or grammatical mistakes that may go unnoticed to you.
Customizing your resume to fit the job you want is crucial. If you want to find a job in IT and you already have experience, employers want to see that you work well with others and can manage a team. You might want to reference a time when you collaborated with different departments or led your IT team across different projects. That will show that you have a certain level of expertise and collaborative skills. You should also refer to resume templates online or even resume builders, which will help you customize your resume.
Know your career goals
Start by identifying what type of career you want. Be clear on what you want, why you want it, and what qualifies you. This is particularly important for people entering the workforce for the first time or those changing careers. Ensure you have a clear, realistic goal, plan how you intend to reach it, and note what qualifies you for that career path. The better you know yourself, the more likely you are to find a new job that provides you with greater satisfaction.
If you are interested in a future in IT, a great way to impress a potential employer with your goals, motivation, and ability to follow through is if you have recently learned a new skill. Technology is constantly changing, and there are always more things to learn. Get proficient at a new software program, learn about cybersecurity, get to know more about AI, or you could even pick up on data analytics.
Research your target companies
As you find job listings that interest you, follow up by researching the hiring companies before you apply. Researching the hiring company will enable you to know if you would want to work with them as it will provide you with information about their company culture, benefits and salary range, products and services, work environment, and more. It will also enable you to tailor and customize your resume and cover letter to meet the demands of the post offered.
Additionally, if you end up getting an interview for a position, it is always beneficial to be prepared and to already have some knowledge about the company. Being informed helps you make a good impression as well as gives you the opportunity to ask questions.
Two great questions to ask during the interview are:
- Why is the position available?
- What determines a good or bad day on the job?
The answers to these questions will provide you with information on the specifics of the vacancy of your potential role and give insight regarding day-to-day expectations.
Your preferred company may look great on paper, but these will provide greater detail.
Use your network
Networking is about establishing and nurturing long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with the people you meet. A large and strong network of contacts results in more job opportunities. Networking – in person and online – is essential to your success in your job search. No matter the age, building connections is still the most prominent means by which people find jobs. In fact, experts agree that the most connected people are often the most successful.
The right employee referral can increase your chances tenfold of landing the job. If you’re looking to make a career change, your professional network can support you by helping you find connections in the industry you are trying to break into or help you find leads for jobs at specific companies. Lensa’s article on the best job search sites can help determine which sites best suit your desires.
Ace the interview
A job interview, of course, is what will or will not grant you the job offer. Acing the interview should be a priority in your search. Therefore you should take the time to prepare yourself well. Before the interview, develop responses for common interview questions and then practice them – ideally using the mock-interviewing technique with a friend, network contact, or interview coach. The more prepared you are for the interview, the more comfortable you’ll be, and the more likely you’ll succeed.
Dress smartly during the actual day and wow the interviewer with your skills, experience, confidence, and expertise. It’s also advisable to follow up post-interviews with a thank you note. Use your thank-you note as an opportunity to emphasize why you’re the best candidate for the position. If you flubbed an answer during the interview, you can also use your thank you note to clarify (just ensure it doesn’t come off like you’re making excuses).
The search for a job may take longer than you expect. In fact, even after you go for interviews, the results will take time before you get them. Patience is, therefore, essential in the long process of job hunting. Understand that it’s a process, and try not to overwhelm yourself. If you have done your research and are prepared, then it’s only a matter of time before you get hired.