Depending on the industry in which you’re searching for a job, you may find that there’s a great deal of competition out there. This can be especially true for entry-level positions in just about any industry, where recent graduates are all vying for similar positions. Whether you’ve already been searching for a job for quite some time or are just preparing to begin the process, there are some important steps you can (and should) keep in mind to increase your chances of finding a rewarding job that’s a great fit for you and your skill set.
1. Make Your Resumé Stand Out
Forget those boring Microsoft Word templates and go with something that’s truly going to stand out. Consider the fact that your typical job recruiter could easily be sifting through dozens if not hundreds of applications and resumés; more than likely, they’re only going to skim yours for a minute to determine whether or not you’ll be called for an interview (or whatever the next step of the process may be). With this in mind, you certainly don’t want your resumé to look like all the rest.
Taking some time to seriously revamp your resumé will drastically improve your chances of finding work, especially since this little piece of paper serves, in many ways, as your first impression with a potential employer. Make sure you’re taking the time to custom-tailor your resumé to each position you apply for; this may mean writing a new objective statement for each job application, or even re-writing some of your job descriptions from past positions to better suit the position for which you’re applying. Yes, this custom-tailoring will take some more time, but it will pay off nicely. And if the thought of editing or writing a resumé has you filled with dread, consider hiring a professional writer or editor to assist you.
2. Don’t Hold Out for a “Perfect” Job
This is especially important to remember if you’ve just graduated or are preparing to graduate; while you should have aspirations for a “dream job” down the road, keep in mind that you likely won’t land that dream job right away. Instead, you’ll probably need to work your way up from entry-level positions over a course of years or even decades. As you’re first looking for work, then, don’t make the mistake of holding out for that perfect job posting, because you’re not likely to find it. In fact, you could be seriously limiting your job prospects by being too picky about the jobs for which you apply.
The key is to ask about advancement opportunities when you interview for a given position; even if the starting position isn’t where you’d like to be five years from now, keep in mind that if there are lots of opportunities for advancement, the job could be a great start for you.
3. Consider a Temp. Position
Speaking of not turning your nose up at entry-level positions, you might also benefit from seeking employment in a temporary position—especially if you’re having a hard time finding work otherwise. In some industries, it is not uncommon at all for workers to start off as “temps,” and there are plenty of temp agencies out there whose job it is to find work for you based on your skill set and experience. To improve your chances of finding work, consider checking out temp agencies in your area to see if they have anything available in your industry. While there’s a chance the job could actually work out to be just temporary, it’s worth noting that many temporary positions are treated by companies as “tests,” and employees who do well may be offered full-time positions with benefits at the end of their contracts.
4. Network, Network, Network
No matter what industry you’re in, networking will always be a key to success. If you don’t already have a LinkedIn page, now is the time to create one and fill out your profile as completely as possible. Specifically, LinkedIn is a social network for professionals, and it provides some wonderful opportunities for you to connect with others in your field. These connects can even lead to future work, job offers, or other kinds of career fulfillment/advancement. Plus, with LinkedIn, you can enjoy the convenience of professional networking without having to necessarily leave your home.
Of course, networking the “old-fashioned” way in-person is never a bad idea, either. If you’re about to graduate or recently graduated from college, there are good chances you already have some people in your professional network, such as college professors and advisors. These people may be able to give you a lead on employment opportunities or even write recommendation letters and serve as references. Attending industry trade shows and similar events is also a great way to increase your chances of finding work.
5. Be Prepared for Rejections
Very few job candidates will receive job offers after their first big interview; more often, even some of the most qualified individuals will receive several rejections before they land a job. Remember: not being selected for a given position doesn’t automatically mean you’re not qualified or aren’t great at what you do. Often times, rejections have more to do with how well you would fit in with the company’s culture and values. And if a particular employer isn’t a good fit in this regard, it’s more of a blessing in disguise when you aren’t presented with an offer.
The key is to learn from job rejections. If you aren’t selected for a given position, don’t be afraid to send a kind e-mail or letter to the person who interviewed you to ask for feedback. This feedback (though it may be difficult or disheartening to read) will help you learn from your mistakes so you can present yourself better in a future interview.
6. Filter Your Social Media Posts
One of the biggest mistakes today’s generations make when it comes to their post-college job search is failing to assess their social media pages and adjust setting or delete content as needed. After all, research has found that up to 76% of today’s employers will take time to use social media as part of their job candidate vetting process. If you have explicit content or other inappropriate content (including pictures and video) on your page for the public to see, this could very well affect your chances of landing an interview or otherwise continuing in the hiring process.
Now is a great time, then, to view all of your social media profiles in “public” mode, which you can do in most platforms by simply logging out and pulling up your profile. This will show you exactly how your profile looks to the general public. Scroll through your feeds to make sure there isn’t anything you wouldn’t want a potential employer seeing. If there is, either delete the content or change your privacy settings so the posts cannot be viewed publicly. These days, some job candidates will also change their name on social media (such as changing their first name to a middle name) in order to avoid detection by recruiters.
7. Ask the Right Questions in an Interview
While you may think of a job interview as an opportunity to answer questions from a recruiter, it’s important to see interviews as two-way streets. At the end of your interview, your recruiter will most likely ask if you have any questions. If you don’t, this could demonstrate to the recruiter that you didn’t do any research on the company ahead of time, or that you don’t have much investment in the interview itself. Asking the right questions, on the other hand, will not only show that you’re engaged in the interview but that you care enough about the job opportunity to have researched the company and have specific questions.
Before any job interview, then, make sure you’re taking time not just to rehearse answers to some of the more common questions you may be asked, but to formulate a list of questions you may want to ask for yourself.
8. Don’t Be Afraid to Follow Up
Believe it or not, some job recruiters will wait after an interview to see if a particular job candidate follows up with the company. After your interview, then, it’s never a bad idea to send a quick “thank you” note or e-mail to the person who interviewed you. If you haven’t heard anything within a week or so, consider calling the employer to ask for an update. You might surprised to be invited in for a second interview by doing this.
9. Build a Positive Online Presence
It’s no secret that employers today research job candidates to find out as much about them as possible before they bring them in for an interview. Taking time to build and establish a great online presence in your industry can serve you well when it comes time to start applying for jobs. If you don’t already, make sure you create your own professional website. You might even want to start an industry blog, which is a great way to establish credibility and authority in your field of study. Guest posting on other industry sites will also boost your credibility and score you points with a potential employer.
Landing a job in a new industry can be challenging, especially if you’re a new graduate. But with a little perseverance and by implementing some (or all!) of these tips, you’ll be in better shape when it comes time to submit those applications.
- Doyle, A. (2017, February 19). 9 simple tips to make a better LinkedIn profile. Retrieved from https://www.thebalance.com/tips-to-make-a-better-linkedin-profile-2062332
- Doyle, A. (2017, July 16). How to use a temp agency to find a job. Retrieved from https://www.thebalance.com/how-to-use-a-temp-agency-to-find-a-job-2058784
- Joyce, S. (2017, September 25). 5 tips for building an online presence that employers love. Retrieved from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/300689
- Scalco, D. (2017, May 22). Make your resume stand out with these seven simple tips. Retrieved from https://www.inc.com/dan-scalco/7-simple-ways-to-make-your-resume-stand-out.html
- White, S. (2015, May 27). Is your social media presence hurting your job search? Retrieved from https://www.cio.com/article/2926719/social-media/is-your-social-media-presence-hurting-your-job-search.html