Searching for a new job can be a stressful, overwhelming, and time-consuming process. We all want to find the perfect job that will be personally satisfying and give us financial stability. While there are no magic ways to guarantee job offers pouring in, here are a few concrete ways to improve your chances!
Searching for Relevant Job Openings
- Be sure to pay attention to application deadlines and detailed instructions outlining how to apply. Don’t waste your time applying for jobs if the application deadline has already elapsed.
Only apply for jobs that are good matches for your skills and experience.
This does not mean that you need to be a perfect match for every aspect of the job posting but you don’t want to waste your precious time applying for a job that you have no chance of getting. As long as you match the majority of the job specifications apply for the job.
- If you really need a job fast, apply more widely. This doesn’t mean that you should apply for jobs you are totally unqualified for, but think outside the box when considering what jobs you are qualified for. The skills we have from one position can always translate into a variety of other, slightly different, jobs.
- You may also consider applying for jobs outside of your geographic location or outside of your desired shift hours. No job is perfect but having a job is usually better than no job.
Preparing for Your Interview
Review all your application materials and any job listing information. When you go to an interview, be sure that you remember what you wrote in your application and the details of the job listing.
Practice possible interview questions. An interview usually has two types of questions, technical questions and HR questions. Technical questions gauge whether you know how to do the job you are applying for and HR questions are designed to see if you are a team player. You will need to be able to answer both types of questions with confidence.
- It’s also a good idea to do a bit of research on the company you are applying at. What is their basic business model and what makes the company unique? Are there any guiding missions of the company? These types of questions can usually be answered by some quick internet research but this kind of information can really illustrate your interest and dedication if brought up during an interview.
- Brainstorm and write out any aspects of your personality or experiences in your life that may be pertinent to bring up during the job interview. These are things that you probably did not list in your resume but are important to get across to your possible employer. For example, this could include your personal qualities and work ethic.
- Some examples of HR questions are: Where do you see yourself in 10 years? How do you handle criticism? How well do you work on a team?
- When asked, “How much money do you want to make?” Don’t give a specific amount or it will make it seem like you are only interested in the money. Just say, “I am open” or ask, “What is the range of pay for this job?” When asked, “What don’t you like about your current job?” If you answer anything negative, even though it might be true, it will make you look like a negative employee. When asked, “Where do you see yourself in 5 year?” If you don’t answer with a position slightly above your job title, it will look like you don’t really have interest in the job.
- You could even practice your interview skills by organizing a mock interview. If your interviewing but not getting offers, then you have not yet warmed up to the interview process. It takes 3 to 5 interviews to get warmed up and get offers.
Have a professional appearance when going to your interview. While the appropriate attire will vary, depending on the job you are applying for and the company you are applying at, your appearance should always be neat and clean when interviewing for any job.
- Start your letter with a formal greeting. The job listing may tell you who to address applications to. If not, feel free to address your letter to “whom it may concern” or to the company or job search committee in general.
- Start the body of your letter with an engaging line that tells the reader who you are, what you are applying for, and why you should get the job. The beginning of the letter should help you stand out from the crowd but not rely on humor or cheap tricks.
- Conclude your letter by restating your interest in the job and why you think you would be a perfect fit.
- It may be tempting to reuse letters, especially when you are applying for a bunch of jobs, but be sure to individualize every cover letter you submit to the job you are applying for.
Prioritize applying for jobs with employers who have a large number of openings to fill.If you need to get a job fast, your odds are better if the potential employer you are applying to has a lot of openings to fill. This may indicate that the job is not the best, but it does mean that you may get the job quickly.Go talk to prospective employers. If you need to get a job fast, its best to be proactive and show your prospective new boss that you are serious about the position and that you are the right person for the job.
Tap into your personal relationships.These days many people get their jobs through personal relationships and networking. You are more likely to get a job if you have someone on the inside pushing for you to get hired. Don’t be afraid to let the people in your life know that you are looking for work. You never know who will have a good line on the perfect job for you.
- A good time to talk to your prospective supervisor is when you drop off your application materials but it may be a good idea to try to talk to them before you do. Ask them about the job and what duties it entails specifically. Show that you are genuinely interested in being an energetic and self-motivated employee. Be sure to have some questions prepared ahead of time in order to eliminate awkward silences.
- Dress professionally when meeting with potential employers. Don’t just walk in to a business in your workout clothes, you need to show the business that you mean business!
- There are a variety of websites that specialize in helping you organize your professional networks. These sites may help you to tap a variety of personal relationships when searching for a job.
Seek out help in your job search.
If you are really in need of a job fast, public services, such as your state’s employment department, may be the best place to turn. Contact them about what kind of services they may be able to offer you. Many have job counseling programs that may fit your needs.
- For more information on writing a great cover letter see: How to Write a Cover Letter.Make sure that in addition to being dressed nicely, with professional clothes that are neat and clean, that you have also done some personal grooming before your interview. Small issues, such as body odor or messy hair, while not necessarily a deal breaker, can be a huge distraction for the people interviewing you. The goal is for your personality and experience to shine, so don’t sidetrack those interviewing you with other things.Developing Your Application Materials
Create your resume. Be sure to use a professional style and font when formatting your document.Write a professional cover letter. Cover letters should accomplish several things, distinguishing you from other applicants and illustrating your personal value as a future employee. Use professional and formal language, as well as form, when composing your cover letter.It’s easiest to use the pre-formatted resume templates that come with all modern word-processing software. This will allow you to simply input the information and not worry about menial and frustrating formatting issues. Remember, however, that these templates may need to be customized to suit the job you are applying to.
Edit all of your application materials. Read over your cover letter and resume for mistakes or outdated parts. It is a good idea to get someone else to edit them as well. A fresh set of eyes may catch a mistake that was staring you right in the face
- A resume should list all your relevant experience. It’s important to think creatively about what experiences could be considered relevant, but you should also use caution when listing experience that could be deemed irrelevant. It has to be a happy medium.
- For more information on writing a great resume see: How to Make a Resume.