It’s no secret that the job search process can be a long and stressful one. If your search seems to drag on, it can become more discouraging and you could feel like giving up. That’s why it would be beneficial to create an efficient job search strategy.
Each individual has a different idea of what is efficient and what works for them, but there are some tips that every job seeker should consider.
Don’t Apply for Every Job Opening
This should be a no-brainer, but sometimes this sentiment needs to be reiterated. If you apply for every open job, chances are you’re applying to jobs you’re either grossly over or under qualified for, jobs that may end up being too far from your residence, or even jobs that you’re not interested in to begin with.
By being selective before applying, you’ll be saving more time in the long run. You won’t be sending out endless resumes, or taking the time to interview for positions you wouldn’t accept. Pre-screening job postings provides you the opportunity to evaluate if the opening is right for you and your career goals. This also gives you the chance to evaluate if the company is one you could see yourself working for and would be willing to commute to five days a week for the foreseeable future.
Reading job descriptions also provides a chance to look at each of the job requirements and duties, and decide if the job is truly of interest. Paying more attention to the jobs you apply for and applying selectively is key for successful job seekers.
Keep Track of Your Applications
In being selective about what applications you send out, you also want to keep track of these applications. It’s important to remember that you sent the application and on which date it was sent. Keeping tabs on your applied jobs will allow you to be better organized and thus contributes to an efficient job search strategy.
If you’re sending in applications via e-mail or online portals, consider creating a designated folder in your e-mail portal for confirmations so you can keep track of how many applications you have sent in. Also consider creating a spreadsheet to keep track of applications sent in where you can indicate where you are in the process of each application and/or interview process. Did one company already call for a phone interview? Have you received an unfortunate rejection from a company? Keeping this information organized allows you to know if and when you should be following up, and helps keep track of where you are in the process of each application.
We’ve created a helpful Job Search Tracking Spreadsheet that you can download for your use for free.
Update Your Resume Regularly
Treat your resume like a living document. If you’ve been at your current job for 10 years, maybe you’ve been doing the same thing day in and day out for 10 years straight, but it’s more likely that as your time with the company increased, your responsibilities did as well.
Even if two jobs look similar on paper, the responsibilities won’t be exactly the same for the two positions. Every time you apply for a job, you should be updating your resume to illustrate your skills that most closely match the job description. Of course, that’s not to say you should be lying – generally recruiters know if something looks too good to be true, chances are it is.
This is great advice for passive job seekers as well, because you never know what the future could bring – be it an unexpected lay off, or someone presenting a great opportunity to you. Having an updated copy of your resume on hand will ensure you can take advantage of any prospects without delay, and be prepared for any opportunity. Taking 5 minutes here and there to make small changes is also more productive than completely overhauling a document once.
Network, Network, Network
In some situations, the best jobs never even make it to public job boards. That’s because these jobs are able to be filled through connections within the organization. Or in the case that a job does make it to a job board, your chances of scoring an interview increase significantly if you’re familiar with someone in the organization who can give you a great reference.
Networking via industry events, or even on social platforms such as LinkedIn, can open professional doors that you never even knew existed. LinkedIn is also a great tool for researching information about a company prior to submitting your application. Connecting with recruiting professionals, or individuals involved in your industry of choice can alert you to new opportunities, or give you an extra push when the organization evaluates candidates. Just remember to keep it professional and present yourself in a positive, respectful manner while networking. As we stated, you never know when an opportunity may come knocking.
The key to a successful job search is organization. When job seekers create an efficient job search strategy, they are able to relieve some of the stress the comes along with searching for a job, and are able to use their time more effectively to find and apply to the best possible positions to meet their career objectives.