Tips to Guide You Through Your Job Hunt
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Looking for a new job is not a fun activity; it is quite stressful and sometimes it can become daunting as well.
To be successful in your job hunt, you need to make sure that you stand out to potential employers and make the best impression.
There are various traditional job seeking tips that have stood the test of time and proved their mettle. But there are many new wisdom nuggets that can prove extremely effective in your job search. According to Amanda Abella, a career coach, writer, and speaker, “Times are always changing and while it's always good to follow the basic advice, we also have to get rolling with the times.”
Here are some common tips that seem to be a common denominator while searching for your next role:
1. Polish your resume
Your resume is your first introduction and your gateway into any organization you want to be a part of. As they say “The first impression is the last impression”, your resume is your first impression for the company. So, make sure that you make a lasting impression. Don’t be hesitant to ask someone for help, request them to send their resumes. and work on it. I worked on mine for almost a week with a friend before he said, “Now it is a presentable resume!”
- Make sure to use achievement-oriented sentences
- Read articles from experts on how you can create the perfect resume
- Use JobHero to find some impressive action-oriented words or sentences
- Novo Resume also has some cool BA resume templates as well.
2. Customize your resume using tools like JobScan
Gone are the days where the recruiters would personally look into each resume to find that perfect candidate. Nowadays, the majority of the companies are using ATS (Application Tracking System) to sift through hundreds of resumes they get for a job posting. So, it is very important to customize your resume according to the Job Description for which you are applying.
If you are an 80% or higher match, then you stand a chance to make it to the next round, otherwise you are filtered out. So, that is where JobScan, becomes a vital tool to help you make to the top list. It matches your resume against the Job Description and will give you a detailed report on how much you match and what are you missing. Give it a shot!
3. Update your LinkedIn profile & leverage from your network
I don’t think I even have to explain how important LinkedIn can be for helping you find a job.
Keep your profile updated, even if you have lost your job or a contract has just ended. I know losing your job is difficult and personal, but if you don’t let your connections know that you are looking for work, how will they help you? Reach out to your connections, let them know that you are open to work now. Keep adding appropriate skills to your LinkedIn Profile.
- Subscribe to the jobs you are looking for (You can filter and subscribe to the type of positions you are aiming for). LinkedIn will notify you as soon as there is an opening for a position, and you can apply immediately. Try to be at least in the pool of the first 25 applicants. Keep a copy of your resume on your phone too, so that you can apply even when you don’t have access to your laptop.
- Recruiters: Try to connect with recruiters and keep following up. I recently read an article that you should follow-up with a recruiter 3 times. I, myself, was bad at following-up because I am not great at asking for favors! However, I felt better after reading that article. So, follow-up 3 times, if they don’t respond even after that- move on.
- Company Professionals: If you have any industry or dream companies you would like to work for, try to find people within that industry/ company (try to aim for the people who are in a similar or higher position for which you are aiming for). Try and ask them about their experiences, how they got their start, what did they do, who did they approach; how is the organization’s culture, what is the hiring process like, and what tips can they share. Also check with them more details on the hiring process, the key parameters of hiring. Once you build a rapport with someone, and if you find a suitable position, ask them if they would be willing to hire you. Your chances of getting hired through referrals are exponentially higher than when you apply online or even through a recruiter.
- Mentor ship: If possible, find yourself a mentor in your field, someone who can give you the guidance that you need and can direct you on the right path and will give you the right advice when you need it. If you are someone who has years of experience under your belt, then mentor someone else. Although you may be seeking a job yourself, it never hurts to pass along the wisdom that you possess. This will not only help your mentor but also fill up the gaps in your time.
4. Be prepared for your Interview
Every interview experience is different.
- There is always at least one question that an interviewer will ask you that you will not be prepared for. I have been stumped so many times. Keep preparing yourself for that interview. When that happens, don’t panic; be honest. If you can’t think of anything, let them know. You can always come back to that question. You can even send them a reply with your thank you note. Don’t get disheartened even if an interview doesn’t go well. Every experience will teach you something new.
- Research about the company and reach out to people from the company- hopefully with the same or higher position than yours. Ask them about the hiring process and their interview experience.
- Read the job description carefully and think about what kind of questions you should be preparing for. Think of examples you can relate to from your previous job experiences with the given JD. Try to create a case of your projects relating them to the JD and the requirements of the position. Try to highlight your role and how/ what value did you bring in the project.
- Know your resume well. You cannot expect them to not ask you questions from your resume. Always be careful as to what you put down under your skills and be prepared to answer about everything that is in there. It is imperative to be truthful in your resume
- Be prepared for the salary question. You will always be asked about your salary expectations. Do market research through websites, such as Glassdoor (which tells you what is the going rate for a particular job title in a given region). If you still don’t feel comfortable, you can either say a range or ask the recruiter/ interviewee the range they are offering for that role; let them know if it is acceptable to you or not.
- If the interview is in person, ask them for a business card.
- Always send a thank-you note. If there was something unique that came up, mention that in your thank you email. If there was any question or case you could not showcase during the interview process then send them over email.This refreshes the interviewer's memory and leaves a lasting impression too. Remember, you are not the only candidate they are interviewing! You can always ask them if they are open to connecting with you over LinkedIn. Even if they decide against hiring you, you still will have a connection with the person/ company. You may get an opportunity to work with them in the future and this connection may help you then.
5. Make learning a goal for every day
While you don’t have your job to keep you occupied, think of filling that gap with learning. With everything being online now, you have more resources than ever before. Some universities, and online learning portals, such as Google, are even offering free courses.
So, pick and choose- what skills of yours need work, where can you improve? Find a course and start learning. It does not necessarily have to be related to your field. It can be anything that increases your knowledge. Or even pick up a hobby- Is there something that you always wanted to learn but never got a chance to? Now is the right time to learn that. You may never get that chance again.
6. Commit to certifications in your domain and get certified
Independent validation of one’s skills is a great way to establish credibility in the global market. This not only establishes one’s credentials in the market but also improves one’s skills.
It shows one’s commitment to the profession and learning, it also sets one apart from the non-certified peers in the job market.
e.g. - For an aspiring business analyst or newbie ECBA certification from IIBA is a great one to acquire, for mid and senior BAs CCBA and CBAP is good to consider.
7. Follow prominent groups/thought leaders in your industry/domain
It is said that destiny is a lot about being at the right place at the right time, the same holds good for an online presence as well. By following the prominent groups and though leaders one keeps himself/herself updated on the latest trends and happenings in the industry.
It also makes one aware of the most job offers and companies opening positions to hire.
8. Follow hashtags relevant to your industry and domain
This ensures that you come across the relevant jobs/posts in the social media.
It’s as important to notice relevant posts and jobs as much as to get noticed. You can stay ahead of the game by working smart.
9. Be curious and hungry for learning new things
Maintain the curiosity of a child and be hungry to learn new things every day.
The proactive ones think ahead and plan, the reactive one’s lag behind and repent after the axe has fallen on them.
10. Your Attitude
I know the times are tough and it seems almost impossible to find a job, but hang in there! You will find that perfect job for which you are the perfect candidate. It is okay to mope some days and feel disheartened. Nobody is expecting you to be positive all the time.
Don’t keep obsessing over finding a job. Give yourself a mental break now and then- exercise, find a new hobby, do something that gives your joy each day- music, movies, books, spending time with your loved ones- there is so much you can do.
Nonetheless, don’t give up, don’t lose hope and slag or get lazy in your job search. Keep applying, keep trying, and keep giving your best efforts. One day everything will fall into place and you will land on your feet.
I consider myself in no way an expert. This is just a lot of information that I have gathered while looking for a job myself and attending numerous in-person and online sessions or reading various articles from experts, condensed into one article. I would be happy if it helps even a single person and they land their next job from something they read here.
Wishing you all the best in your search!