Finding a job is never easy. But if you go about it the right way, you can find something suited for you—a job you’re qualified for, that challenges you, and that helps you achieve your long-term goals. And the best thing you can do, before you do anything else, is to prepare. Here’s why preparation should be your weapon of choice during your job search.
How To Effectively Prepare For A Job Search
1. Find a way around
The online application is increasingly common, and it’s a great way for companies to collect candidate’s info, but it’s not that effective from a job seeker’s point of view. You’re just one of many, part of a large pack, and there’s no guarantee that you’ll be seen as an individual. Instead, your resume will likely be submitted to screening software that looks for keywords. So if you can avoid the online application process, do it. Get identified by a recruiter, hiring manager, or current employee as someone who’s qualified, a good fit, and worth pursuing.
2. Milk your network
Most companies have a referral program. They’ll pay bonuses to their employees who bring them candidates that they end up hiring. After all, no one understands what it takes to work at a company better than the employees themselves. So start telling friends, family, and former colleagues what kind of position you’re looking for—you never know who might know someone who knows someone who knows of an open position in their company.
3. Get an “in”
Keep trying to grow your network and take advantage of opportunities when you might meet useful people in your industry. Go to seminars, workshops, and conferences. Follow significant people on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. And follow every intriguing lead that the job-seeking gods throw your way. When you obtain their contact information, ask for a chance to meet. Remember that everyone is busy so just ask for a quick moment to ask a few networking questions. Don’t ask about a job—that’s a good excuse for them to simply refer you back to the company’s website. Instead, ask about their career and how they got where they are today. Show off your passion about your industry and your career and express interest in their organization. Let them connect the dots and offer to introduce you to a hiring manager or ask for your resume. If you impress the right people, you’ll go far.
4. Invest more time
Before you sit down with anyone, formally or informally, do some research. Polish your resume and any portfolio items you’re distributing. Learn about the backgrounds of people you’ll be meeting with. Write up some questions that you can ask them and start to rehearse your own answers. You don’t want to sound scripted, but you do want to make sure that you have complete, thoughtful responses when asked about your career.