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Best Ways to Maximize Your Job Search Productivity

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Unless you are one of the lucky few who works in a high-demand career, finding a new job can be a challenging and frustrating experience.

You can make the job search a bit easier on yourself if you use proactive strategies for finding a new job – and the tips for finding a new job included in this article are applicable to all job seekers, from those just starting out to experienced candidates who need a quick refresher

Here are some of my best tips for finding a new job at any career level.

1. Get clear on what you want

Before starting your job search, take the time to reflect on your strengths and weaknesses and the type of work you enjoy doing. The better you know yourself, the more likely you’ll find a new job that provides you with greater satisfaction. What do you want in a job? What’s most important, title, money, promotion, the work itself, location, or company culture?

2. Research your target companies

Once you know what you want, it’s time to find out what the companies you’re applying for want. A great tip for finding a new job is to investigate a company’s Glassdoor page. It will help you get a feel for their company culture, figure out what questions they commonly ask in interviews, and even discover what salary you’re likely to be paid.

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Your resume is still one of the most critical tools of a job search. One of my best tips for finding a new job is to have an achievement-oriented resume that includes quantifiable achievements that are relevant to the job you’re applying for.

3. Tailor your resume to each job

Your resume is still one of the most critical tools of a job search. A lot of resumes I see are full of responsibilities (instead of tangible achievements) and jobseekers send the same resume to various openings. One of my best tips for finding a new job is to have an achievement-oriented resume that includes quantifiable achievements that are relevant to the job you’re applying for.

Make yourself an obvious fit. Study the words and phrases that are used in the job description? Make sure you include them in your resume (provided you have that experience, of course). Tailor your resume to each job – the recruiter should know within a few seconds of looking at your resume that you have the skills they are looking for.

Editor’s note: You can tailor your resume, or build a new one from scratch, using LiveCareer’s free resume builder.

4. Create your online career brand

Building your brand simply means showcasing your expertise and passion online where employers searching the Web can find it. Most recruiters, including myself, use LinkedIn as their primary search tool and if you’re a professional, you need to be using LinkedIn to your full advantage. It’s a great resource for finding people working at companies that interest you and also for positioning yourself to be found by recruiters and hiring managers with relevant openings.

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5. Get organized

Before you start applying for jobs or interviewing with employers, take a moment to develop a system that works for you in organizing your job search. A simple spreadsheet works best for many to keep a track of the jobs you’ve applied for, where you have been invited to interview, etc.

6. Build, cultivate, and utilize your network of contacts

For the vast majority of jobseekers, a large and strong network of contacts — people who know you and want to help you uncover job leads — results in more job opportunities. Networking – in person and online – is essential to your success in your job search.

It also helps you to get a good idea of what is out there and available, so you can be more strategic in your job search.  Don’t be afraid to reach out to people on LinkedIn, and if you know someone working at a company that interests you, ask for a referral. Hiring managers would prefer to interview people who came recommended before sorting through the resumes arriving via a career website.

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7. Don’t limit yourself to online applications

If you rely only on submitting online applications, you could be looking for a job for a very long time. By the time you apply, the company might be in the final interview stage, or the job might have even been filled. Contact companies that interest you directly – you might get in contact with an internal recruiter or schedule informational interviews with people who work in those companies. Ideally, you want to be known to the people who might influence you getting your foot in the door.

8. Aim to complete a few job-related goals daily

It takes a great deal of time and effort to find a new job. In a long job search, it’s easy to get discouraged and distracted, but by focusing on achieving daily goals you can motivate yourself while also building a foundation for success.

9. Be kind to yourself

Looking for a job can be stressful. So, take some time to meditate, exercise, watch a movie or whatever it is that helps you unwind. Create a good support network – having people to brainstorm with or vent your frustrations to will help the process be less painful.

10. Develop examples and stories that showcase your skills

This is one of the main tips for finding a new job. People remember stories, so your goal should be developing a set of interview stories you can use in networking meetings or job interviews that clearly demonstrate your skills, achievements, and passion for your work. Be memorable! Using stories (use the STAR format) may also help you feel more comfortable talking about yourself.

11. Prepare for all job interviews

Before you get called for your first 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.

For the vast majority of jobseekers, a large and strong network of contacts — people who know you and want to help you uncover job leads — results in more job opportunities. Networking – in person and online – is essential to your success in your job search.

12. Write thank-you notes after interviews to all interviewers

A quick note (by email is fine) of thanks that emphasizes your interest and fit with the job and employer will not get you the job offer, but it will help make you stand out from the majority of jobseekers who do not bother with this simple act of courtesy.

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13. Continue following up with hiring managers

Your work is not done once the interview is complete or the thank-you note sent. Following up with the hiring manager regularly shows your interest and enthusiasm for the job. The key is doing so in a way that is professional while not making you sound pesky or needy.

14. Expect the job search to take longer than you think

You can hope to have a new job within a short period, but the likely reality is that it might take months to find the right opportunity and get offered the position. You should mentally prepare yourself for a long battle — and then you can be happily surprised if you are one of the lucky few whose job search is short.

5 Final Thoughts on Finding a New Job

Here a few other tips for finding a new job if your job search situation does not fit the typical model – if conditions are such that finding employment will be unusually hard.

Here are the best tips and tricks on Job searching and career opportunities to get professional growth

First, having both a positive attitude and outlook is extremely important. Employers can sense desperation and despair; organizations want to hire positive and competent people. If you’ve been unemployed for a long period and depressed or recently downsized and angry, find a way to shrug it off when job hunting or you will only be hurting yourself.

Second, if you’re an older worker trying to find a job, you may face age discrimination. Among the ways to proactively counter any issues about your age are to limit the number of years of experience you list on your resume (by keeping to the last 10-15 years), eliminate dates in the education section of your resume, and focus on adaptability and flexibility in the interview.

Third, remember that you may need additional training or experience, especially if you are entering a new career field.

Fourth, you may need to consider temping or volunteering for a short period to gain experience and build network contacts that can lead to a full-time position.

Fifth, in the most extreme cases, you may need to consider relocation to a place that has a higher concentration of jobs in your field.

Hope you’ve found these tips for finding a new job useful. I’d love to hear what you’re going to change in your job search after reading this article.

Job hunting tips to focus your search

Job hunting involves more than searching for open positions and sending your resume to employers. You also need to make sure you’re a good fit for the job, can catch the hiring manager’s attention and are well-prepared to answer interview questions. Here are 14 tips that you can use to improve your chances of finding the employment you desire:

  1. Know your career goals.
  2. Plan ahead.
  3. Get resume and cover letter help.
  4. Use all job search resources.
  5. Customize your resume.
  6. Research companies.
  7. Apply with confidence.
  8. Schedule informational interviews.
  9. Succeed in your current job.
  10. Network regularly.
  11. Identify examples of your skills.
  12. Prepare for interviews.
  13. Follow up.
  14. Expand your skills.

1. Know your career goals.

First, identify what type of career you want. This is particularly important for people entering the workforce for the first time or changing careers. Get recommendations from family, professors, a career coach or former coworkers. Make sure you have a clear and realistic goal, determine how you plan to reach it and note what qualifies you for that career path. These steps can help you narrow your job search to positions you are passionate about and will help you advance professionally.

2. Plan ahead.

Organize yourself and your schedule to search for jobs more efficiently. Determine how many hours per day or what days of the week you will dedicate to job hunting or networking. Make sure your resume and cover letter are up to date. If you need help creating these, search for templates or samples online. Have a list of two to three references and their contact information ready to provide employers.

Create or update your profile on professional networking websites and create a spreadsheet to note the jobs you have applied for and the interviews you have received. You might also choose to set up a professional email account to keep your job search messages separate and organized from your personal ones. Completing these steps before starting your job search can make the process faster and easier.

3. Get resume and cover letter help.

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. Some job seekers even choose to work with a professional resume-writing service or resource to save time and enhance your resume and cover letter.

4. Use all job search resources.

Rather than limiting yourself to manual online searches, take advantage of all job search options. This might include reaching out to companies or hiring managers in person, attending career fairs, searching social media or using a career counseling service. Use job search engines to find openings on job boards, company websites, professional associations and more. Sign up for daily or weekly job alerts by email.

5. Customize your resume.

Adapt your resume to each job you apply for. Study the job description to determine why you are a great fit. Then, add your skills, experience and measurable achievements that are relevant to that position. Hiring managers who look through many resumes should be able to read yours and quickly know you have the skills for the position.

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To simplify this step, have templates of your resume and cover letter ready to customize. Keep key sections such as your education and contact information the same, but personalize your abilities or past job duties to fit the job you are applying for.

6. Research companies.

As you find job listings that interest you, research the hiring companies before applying. This can provide you with information about their company culture, benefits and salary range, products and services and work environment. Your research will tell you whether you want to or are qualified to work for that company. It also gives you valuable information you can reference in your cover letter or interview.

7. Apply with confidence.

Apply for jobs you are interested in even if you only meet some of their requirements. Depending on the position, employers might hire motivated individuals who learn quickly and provide them with skills training on the job. If you meet a portion of a job’s qualifications but believe you can still succeed in that role, apply. Include examples of your work ethic and ability to learn new skills in your resume. Emphasize how your goals align with those of the company.

8. Schedule informational interviews.

Informational interviews are informal conversations with professionals in an industry or a company you might want to work for. Find out whether you are a good fit for a job by requesting informational interviews with someone working in a field that interests you. Search for potential interview subjects on professional networking sites or member organizations.

9. Succeed in your current job.

If you are currently employed and looking for a better or different career, continue to perform your current job with positivity and commitment. Maintain good relationships with your coworkers and managers as long as you’re working with them. Your professional attitude and efforts can result in job references or opportunities in the future.

10. Network regularly.

Interact with people and develop professional contacts both online and in person. Start conversations with people at seminars, social events or appointments. Let them know you’re looking for a job or want to work in a certain industry. They might have connections or advice that can help you in your job search. You might also discover unlisted job openings or people might recommend you for future opportunities.

11. Identify examples of your skills.

People tend to remember engaging stories and examples over lists of facts. Plan ahead by identifying personal experiences or accomplishments that highlight the skills needed for a certain job. Add these to your cover letter and use them during networking opportunities or job interviews. Use the STAR method—situation, task, action and result—to tell your story effectively.

12. Prepare for interviews.

Research common interview questions, create responses for them and practice those responses before you get invited to an interview. Ask a friend or professional contact to do a practice interview with you. If you are well-prepared, you will be more confident and comfortable when you go into your next interview.

13. Follow up.

Immediately after a job interview, send the hiring manager a thank-you note. If you have not heard back from them after a week, follow up with a phone call or an email. When doing so, show your excitement and interest in the job. While you wait for a response, continue searching for and applying to jobs that interest you.

14. Expand your skills.

If you are just entering the workforce or starting a new career, you might need more training or experience to get a job. Consider getting an internship or volunteering with an organization in your desired industry while applying for jobs. Use these opportunities to expand your network of contacts or advance to a full-time position. You might also take online courses or attend workshops to build certain skills or learn technologies and processes relevant to your industry. Update your resume as you gain more experience or accomplishments.

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