8 Tips For Conducting An Effective Job Search

If you’re conducting an active job search, you’ve probably realized the traditional methods used to obtain employment are no longer effective. If you only apply for job opportunities using job boards and wait for calls to roll in, it won’t get you very far these days. So, I’ve developed eight tips for conducting an effective job search that will make a noticeable difference. Here are the basics:

1. Get To Know Yourself

Before starting a job search, getting to know more about who you are and what you’re looking for is critical. Write down what your hobbies and interest are, take a self-assessment, and be sure to utilize aides like the Career OneStop Website.

2. Ensure Your Application Package Is Professional & Highlights Your Skills

Your application package includes your resume, cover-letter, portfolio (if applicable), and LinkedIn Profile. All of these are very important to your job search.

  • Your Resume – This must be well written, organized in a way where a potential reader can quickly see what sets you apart from other candidates, and identify what skills you will bring to their organization that will bring value. Target your document to each position that you are applying for since most companies utilize Applicant Tracking Systems.
  • Your Cover-Letter – This should be a document that displays why an employer should invite you in for an interview and why you would be a good fit for their organization.
  • Your Portfolio – Not everyone will need a portfolio, but if you are in a field that requires examples of your work, a portfolio is crucial to your job search. Include a digital portfolio of your best work—employers want to pre-screen your work before they decide to call you in for an interview.
  • LinkedIn– If you are not on LinkedIn you don’t exist in the employment world. A recent Jobvite survey for 2013 revealed that 95% of employers utilize LinkedIn to recruit new employees. Make sure that your profile coincides with the rest of your “Application Package.”

3. Establish A Brand

Your brand is formed in various ways including in-person, social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+), and on personal websites and correspondence. You always want to leave a good impression on others rather it’s in person or online. Step # 1 is so important to branding. You must know what you are good at. You also need to know what skills and expertise you possess that you want to leave with people—this will become your brand. If you perfect the art of branding, employers will initiate contact with you.

4. Network Frequently     

The first place to start when searching for employment is your personal network (former co-workers, family, friends, church members, and even friends on social media). These are the people that know you the most, and will be more willing to refer you for an open position. You must make networking a regular part of your activities, not just during a job search. Join organizations related to your field of choice, attend networking events, and become active on LinkedIn and other social media platforms. Do what works best for you and be sure to have balance.

5. Target Desired Companies & Positions

Target positions that you would like to have and companies that offer those types of positions, then see if you have any connections to company insiders (referrals are the leading source for obtaining interviews). Be proactive and contact hiring managers, even when there aren’t open positions posted on their company websites. Introduce yourself and see if you can obtain an informational interview to find out more about the company and what they look for in candidates.

6. Create Job Search Plans & Strategies: Regularly Evaluate Your Strategies

After you have targeted the companies and jobs that you would like to acquire, put together a plan that will allow you to get closer to reaching this goal. Regularly evaluate your plans and strategies and stick with things that have had positive results. If what you are doing is not bringing results, it’s time to try a new approach.

7. Follow-Up With Employers

Once you have taken the steps to apply or inquire about a position, follow-up with employers. Send a quick note that highlights your skills and why you’re an excellent candidate—the goal is to stay on the forefront of the hiring manager’s mind.

8. Increase Your Marketability While You Search

Don’t get comfortable with your accomplishments, continue to increase your skills and experience while you are conducting your job search— even when you are employed. Seek professional development opportunities to make yourself more marketable to employers.

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