1. Get specific with your job search.
Your time is valuable, even more so when your goal is to get a job quickly. Don’t waste it by filling out a bunch of applications for positions you are only semi-interested in.
Instead, take the time to research positions you would really enjoy, and then use your time wisely to find and apply for positions that match what you’re looking for. Most job boards and recruiting sites allow you to make specific searches based on your criteria, including the name of the position, salary, qualifications, and other requirements.
2. Don’t settle for an imperfect fit.
Don’t compromise on what you value most when it comes to where you want to work. A job posting may sound like a great fit for your skills, but the company culture needs to be a fit for you, too. Research employer brands online, read employee reviews and discuss culture fit in phone screens to be sure that both the positions and the companies you consider fit your work values and needs.
3. Don’t quit your search too quickly
You’ve done your research and submitted your application, resume, and cover letter, but now what? Keep your eyes open for other potential employers and opportunities as they become available — it’s better to apply for several positions that interest you, rather than counting on one or two applications turning into job offers.
If a company sends a rejection letter, take this opportunity to ask them what you could have done differently to be considered, and use any feedback to improve future applications and interviews.
4. Write tailored cover letters.
Cover letters are not a thing of the past: 87% of hiring professionals said they read cover letters. Even more convincingly, tailored cover letters increased interviews by 51% and callback rates by 31%. It’s best practice to change the cover letter for each position you apply for, and that statistic proves that the effort pays off.
5. Make your resume job-specific
Just like your cover letter, each resume you submit should focus on that particular job. Be sure to highlight the skills and experience that are most beneficial to that position, especially those that are listed in the job description itself.
6. Keep it simple and relevant
If you have pages and pages of experience, is it necessary to list it all? Not quite. When it comes to stating your experience and work history, keep it simple and relevant.
7. Employment isn’t everything on a well-rounded resume
Many job seekers go weeks or even months without finding the right job. This leaves gaps in the work history section that can leave recruiters fearful the job seeker isn’t reliable. Fortunately, stating your work history isn’t all there is to a resume.
Be sure to feature any volunteer work, continuing education, or freelance projects you did during the gap. If you were a stay-at-home parent, mention that as well. Recruiters want to know what you were doing and how you were growing your skills while you weren’t working for a company.
8. Dress the part — in person and on video
Most have heard the saying, “dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” Well, it really does hold some truth. When going into an interview, don’t dress just for your part, dress for the part of upper or senior management, or the position that you hope to obtain during your career at the company.
9. Don’t fake your skills
When it comes time for the interview, employers can tell when you’re faking your qualifications and your culture fit. They want to know who they’re hiring and you want to match the position and culture. Being misleading helps neither of you, and can result in bad job placement, poor performance, and ultimately, starting your job search all over again. There’s no point in getting a job quickly if you end up back at square one in a few short months.
10. Share your story and experiences
While in the interview, it’s important to back up your skills and experience with concrete examples. Share stories about successes and learning experiences, and give examples of projects and situations at work that really made your skills stand out. Show how your skills helped benefit your last company with numbers, like the number of leads closed, tickets resolved, or products made. Use jargon and language that shows your level of expertise in your field.
11. Leave the negativity at the door
When you’re talking about previous experiences and situations, it’s important to remember that you should not talk down a past employer. Speaking badly about people you used to work for makes the interviewer question what you will have to say about them down the road.
This can create a bad impression on your character. Plus, this is an interview about moving forward. Any past discrepancies shouldn’t interfere with your next position.
12. Follow up with the hiring manager
Whether you’ve heard back about the job or not, it’s important to follow up with the hiring manager or hiring team after the interview. Send a thank you letter or email stating how it was a pleasure to speak with them and that you really appreciate the opportunity.
13. Leverage your network to find new opportunities
Sometimes, job opportunities spring from unlikely places and unexpected connections. Be open to communicating and networking with others in your field. Whether at an industry event, over email, or over social media platforms like LinkedIn, make it a point to connect with colleagues, classmates, and others in your industry to maintain a source for job opportunities and career growth resources.
14. Create a list of reliable references
Before applying to any job, create a list of references and reach out to those people to make sure they are comfortable with being listed as one of your references. Give them a heads-up that you are applying to certain companies that may contact them, too. These should be people who know you through networking, past co-workers, or anyone else who can speak to your work experience and skills.
15. Apply more than once if it feels right
So, you applied for a job and didn’t get it. A few weeks later, you notice that the position is still open. Feel free to try again! Take note of anything that may have gone wrong the first time and take another crack at it with a revised resume and cover letter. This shows initiative and your ability to develop and grow.
16. Turn your weaknesses into strengths
We all have weaknesses, and employers want to know about them. Remember, a weakness can also be one of your strengths. For example, your weakness might be procrastination. However, despite that, you always make deadlines and can produce excellent work, even on short timelines.