Beginning a job search, or even reorganizing your current efforts can seem like an intimidating step. We are all familiar with how difficult it can be getting into a new company. The process itself can feel like full-time work and even drag out for months. This can leave even the most enthusiastic and positive of us disheartened. What if there was a better way to go about landing your dream job? We need to understand that looking for a job is a skill, and just like any other skill, there are things we can do to improve. The fact is that with some better organization and focus on the right things, we can get more results with our job search efforts. This guide will look at popular job search strategies and provide you with the tips and tricks you will need to land that dream job both in the IT world and other fields.
Finding a job after a career change is never easy. It requires a lot of your time and effort. MyComputerCareer aims to not only give you the knowledge to pursue such goals but the support to make it happen. We aim to help you throughout the job-seeking process. This includes problematic aspects, such as resume and cover letter writing, networking, and interview training. For more information about our services, contact us directly.
Envision What Your Dream Job Is
Instead of muddling through your job search in hopes that it will land you any old job, take the time to take a step back. You want to be clear on what you are looking for in a job. After all, you are going to spend a huge portion of your day working, and you want that time to be as enjoyable as possible. Aim to get a job that fulfills you in multiple ways. Start by looking at yourself objectively and thinking about where you want to be in the next couple of years. Take into account your previous job history, skills, education and certifications, level of experience, and future ambitions. This will help you narrow down what kind of jobs you should be applying for. Once you have a good idea of what role you would like to fulfill in the company, look into other important factors. These include:
- Company culture: Look into the companies values and mottos; this will let you see if you resonate with them.
- Room to Improve: What are your future ambitions? Do you want the opportunity to climb the corporate ladder, or are you content doing one job for a long period of time? This is an important factor to consider when choosing your next job.
- Income and Benefits: Consider your level of experience, and get an idea of how much money you can earn, as well as possible employee benefits you can receive.
- Stability: Does the idea of an established corporation sound secure to you, or boring and monotonous? Maybe you crave the diversity and experience that a start-up has to offer? Take this into account when narrowing down options.
- Level of Responsibility: Get a good idea of what exactly they are looking for. While there is always room to expand your skills and take on more responsibility later, you need to take your current skills into account and look for positions that require them.
Diversify Your Approach
Finding the right job does not only involve working hard but working smart. Realize that there are multiple job search channels available to help you land the perfect job. Mapping out what these methods are is an important part of speeding up the process. These are the most popular methods:
- Job Boards
Job boards are websites or apps that employers use to advertise job vacancies. These websites usually have numerous categories, and companies post according to their needs. They are a very popular job search method among job seekers, but you should not limit yourself to only this approach. Popular job board sites include the likes of Indeed, Glassdoor, Google for Jobs, and many others.
- Company Websites
Job searching should not end with job boards. If there is a company that really captures your interest, then opt for a more direct approach. Visit the companies website and head over to their career pages. There should be a detailed overview of the positions they are looking to fill. The benefit of this approach is that you have access to a lot more information about the company. Get familiar with them and send that personalized resume.
LinkedIn is the ultimate professional network. It is a great place for information, resources, connections, marketing, and much more. LinkedIn can be tailored for job searching and hiring. Make use of this fantastic job search channel. There is a more detailed guide to using LinkedIn down below.
Recruiters can sometimes be a good option for those looking for some help securing a job. They can help secure you an interview, help you prepare for the interview, provide job details, provide instant feedback, and are free. They are an invaluable option for those looking to get a head start in their job search, especially for those breaking into a new career. The additional benefit of a recruiter for those in a new profession is that they understand the field and look for ways to give you the upper hand in the long run. A good example of this is contract work. While some people might pass up such opportunities, a recruiter understands their benefit in helping you build up your resume. They can help you land a few contract jobs initially, and then put that experience to other jobs later on.
Networking is one of the best ways to secure a job. Having a network of people that can recommend you or let you know about job openings is incredibly valuable. Networking can be either informal or formal. Informal networking includes family, friends, former colleagues, and other professional connections that you have a more personal connection to. Formal networking mostly consists of networking events and alumni networks. Events include gatherings for companies and job seekers. These are great places to make some acquaintances and get your name out there. Alumni networks are a great option for anyone that has taken part in a course or gone to school. It is a system that helps members and students network and find jobs. If you do not know where to start with networking, consider using apps like Meetup or looking for events in your area.
Work On Your Resume
Regardless of what job search channel you opt for, you are going to need a good resume. Your resume is one of the most important tools you have in securing a job. It is usually the first point of contact between a potential employer and ambitious job seekers. The purpose of a resume is to show an accurate record of an employee’s education, certifications, work experience, achievements, and other pertinent information. Job seekers need to understand that hiring managers see thousands of resumes and do not always have the time to go over them in detail. This is why it is vital to make sure your resume is not only properly set up, but visually appealing and easy to understand. When applying for jobs, make sure that you:
- Tailor your resume to the roles you are applying
- Have up-to-date contact information (including a professional email and customized LinkedIn URL)
- Do not include your full address (all you need is the city and state)
- Highlight career achievements and accomplishments
- Make it easy to read and understand
- Go over to make sure there are no grammatical and spelling errors
- Have someone you trust proofread
- Make sure all information is true
A hiring manager should easily be able to identify the type of position you are applying for, as well as your greatest achievements in regards to experience and education. This means that each resume you send out will require a bit of a personal touch to highlight the most relevant information regarding the position. However, you will want to create a solid draft that can easily be customized later on in your job search. This will save you a lot of time and hassle in your search.
Prepare Your Cover Letter
The best way to look at a cover letter is as an expansion of your resume. The resume is supposed to give an overview of your experience, while the cover letter is a sales letter that gives some detail and context to help you land an interview. This is the place where you should specify why you are the right candidate for the position.
While there is some discussion on whether a cover letter is necessary, the fact is that it can make all the difference between landing that perfect job and getting passed on for the position. It shows that you are willing to put in some extra effort, and that is the image you want to build.
What to Do About References?
References should not be included in your resume or cover letter unless specifically instructed. In other situations, it should be avoided. However, it is a good idea to have a list of professional, established people that can say something nice on your behalf.
When considering references, keep in mind that companies are limited to providing only your job title, time of employment, and salary information. Instead, consider someone that will not be speaking on behalf of a company. These can be supervisors, colleagues, or professors. Ask people in advance if they are willing to be a reference in your upcoming job search. If they are interested, ask them what their preferred method of contact is and remember to keep in touch with them. If you are expecting a hiring manager or employer is going to contact references, contact your references and let them know.
LinkedIn continues to be one of the most overlooked job searching tools. Not making full use of this professional social media platform can extend your job search by months. LinkedIn has grown substantially, and it has revolutionized job searching for both job seekers and recruiters. The platform is so popular that most online job applications require you to send in your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn URL. This is why it is vital to create a LinkedIn profile, even if you do not intend to spend any time on it. The 30 minutes you spend optimizing your profile can go a long way in helping you land a job. A good LinkedIn profile should contain the following:
- Professional profile photo
- Accurate and engaging headline
- Customized URLs
- Engaging summary that contains the proper keywords for your industry and position
- Up to date with current job status and work history
- Important accomplishments and achievements
- Education and professional certifications
- Skills and recommendations for those skills
- Comprehensive list of skill sets
- Well written text with no grammatical or spelling errors
A well put together profile provides recruiters and hiring managers all the information needed to determine if someone is the right fit for the company. In addition to being a great tool for hiring managers, LinkedIn can also help you explore the job market. LinkedIn lists open job positions and also allows you to research companies and their teams. A well set up LinkedIn page can help you land that dream job faster than you can imagine.
Don’t Forget Other Social Media
Most job seekers take the time to do some research about the company they are applying to. However, it is essential to remember that this can go both ways. Hiring managers want to make sure that they are making the right choice for their company, and they consider more than just your achievements. People want to see what kind of person is coming into the position. Your online presence is the only thing they have to help them see a more well-rounded image of you. In order to prepare yourself for such searches, you have two options.
- Set your social profiles to private and limit the information people can see.
- Go through profiles and audit them for inappropriate or controversial content.
While social media can have some drawbacks, it carries with it a lot of benefits as well. A well managed social presence can serve as personal branding and help improve one’s chances of landing a lot of new-age jobs. Industries such as IT, marketing, and public relations can use social media to their advantage. Creating and keeping a well maintained social media page can help show your skills, dedication, and online competency. Many professionals can leverage a good profile to get called in for an interview.
The previous steps helped set a solid foundation to help you secure a job. Now is the time to get organized. The more you control your time and actions, the less stressful the whole ordeal will be. Start out by setting up alerts on job boards. If there is a response from prospective employers, then you want to know about it ASAP. In addition to that, allocate time in which you can focus on the job search. This includes going over feedback and reaching out to businesses.
While there is an element of luck in job searches, the rest of it is mostly a numbers game. The more you put yourself out there, the more likely you are to get called in for an interview. With so many outreaches, you will want to keep track of the businesses you sent an application, along with their responses.
Polishing up all the necessary tools and starting to reach out will get you well on the way to securing an interview. However, there is one last thing you want to polish up. That is phone and email etiquette. This includes the way you set up these communication channels and the way you use them. Unprofessional communication can sabotage your chances before you even make it to the interview.
- There should be no ringback tone
- Your voicemail is clear and professional (also make sure it is not full)
- Get back to them within 24 hours
- Have a professional email address
- Add a professional email signature
- Go through the text for grammatical and spelling errors
- Respond within 24 hours
Get Ready For An Interview
Interviews might just be the most nerve-wracking part of a job hunt. However, with the proper preparation and practice, you can get over this hurdle with less stress than the average person. Start working on your interview skills. Remember that this is the first time that your potential employer will meet you face to face, and you want to make a good first impression — the best way is to practice answering interview questions.
Start with common interview questions and some behavioral questions that can be relevant to your field. Go over them and get some “sound bites” that you can refer to during the interview. Practice is essential here! The best thing to do is to conduct mock interviews with friends, family, or professionals. They will help break the ice and give you feedback about where to improve. If you are doing it alone, then record yourself and practice in front of a mirror. The more you practice on your own, the smoother the interview will be. The interview is your opportunity to sell yourself, and you want to make the most of it. Remember to be polite, attentive, and engaging throughout the interview.
The interview is as much about your appearance as it is about your presentation. People want someone that looks the part. This means dressing up in the right attire and paying attention to body language. The better you present yourself, the better their impression of you will be.
Thank you notes are a great way to let people that you are grateful for the opportunity. After all, they have selected you out of numerous candidates and given you the chance to land a job. Try to get contact information from people you meet and send them a follow-up thank-you note. You can do this the very same day of the interview, or the day after. The best way to reach out is via email. It is the fastest and safest way to ensure the right person will receive the message. Remember that the hiring decision can be made at any point in the hiring process, and you want to stand out for all the right reasons.
Job searches are never easy, but they can be extremely rewarding when they go well. Whether you are in the middle of a career change or are looking for a new job in the information technology(IT) industry, consider MyComputerCareer. Contact us to find out more about our services can help you land that perfect job.