Whether you’re looking for your first job out of college or are switching careers, getting a job rarely feels easy. Applying for a job can be a long process with lots of rejection and disappointment along the way.
The good news is that there are some great tried-and-tested tactics to help you with your job hunt. The key to making the job search a bit less painful is to get focused, strategic, and proactive. That dream job won’t just fall at your feet, you’ve got to go out and get it.
Follow these steps and you’ll be flying through the hiring process, shaking hands with a hiring manager in no time.
6 simple steps to getting a job fast
1. Don’t fall into the resume black hole of doom
A common mistake people make when looking for a new job is to apply to any job openings they find. Ramit describes this practice of throwing out resumes as “sending them into a black hole.”
Hiring managers can easily sniff out applications that are copy-pasted and sent out to hundreds of job listings. If they lack any specificity for the company or role, it’s usually a giant waste of time to send them out in the first place.
Instead, it’s time to get smart when applying for a job. Pay particular attention to a select few (1-10) relevant openings and tailor your applications to each one. Focusing on just a few job roles means you’ve got the time and energy to make them really perfect.
Make sure you fit your applications to exactly what the job descriptions say. Match the terminology to the type of job so when someone scans your resume, you immediately tick all their boxes. Your resume is a tool to get you an interview. So, make it easy for them to invite you.
2. Focus on results
When creating resumes and cover letters, there are plenty of common mistakes to avoid. One of the biggest ones you can make is to throw out vague statements without any kind of backup.
We’re talking about lines like “I’m a hard worker” or “I work well in teams and independently.” Besides being very unoriginal, these statements tell a recruiter absolutely nothing.
How are you a hard worker? Can you give an example? Can you describe a real situation that demonstrates this?
Let’s take the line, “I have experience managing a team.” Great, but tell us more. What were your responsibilities, what challenges did you come up against? What is your leadership style? How do you give feedback? These are all questions potential employers will want to know, but they won’t necessarily pick up the phone to ask. They’ll move onto the next resume that does give details instead.
3. Get smart when networking
Networking is the next step that some job seekers don’t take after firing off resumes. But you’ve got to get it right because it’s easy to get wrong.
The main mistake people make is connecting with people and having no strategy or follow-up.
Don’t just connect with 100 random people in your industry on LinkedIn. Connecting with lots of people is great, but unless you have a strategy to back it up, it sounds a bit like you’re waiting for them to do all the work.
Be proactive instead. Identify people currently working at the companies you’re applying to and connect with them. This isn’t to ask for a job but there’s no harm in asking about their job and what it’s like working at X company.
Before you do this, take some time to do a bit of research on the company website and social media so you can ask smart, specific questions.
People love talking about themselves, so ask them. You’re more likely to be remembered for taking that proactive step and showing more interest than the 100 other applicants who didn’t bother.
4. Build your professional brand
What happens when a hiring manager Googles you? The best way to find out is to do just that. Don’t worry, Googling yourself isn’t narcissistic anymore. We all need to know what comes up when a recruiter searches our name.
Ideally, only good things will come up. It’ll be your LinkedIn profile, website, or portfolio, something that says “I am a professional.” If that isn’t coming up, what can you do?
Maybe your LinkedIn isn’t too impressive or your portfolio is years out of date. Spend some time making those little tweaks so you look like a shining candidate in the eyes of Google.
On LinkedIn, make sure every section is complete, up-to-date, and clear. Write an eye-catching headline, get a good photo and banner. The key is not to look like a college graduate desperate for a job (even if you are).
Go one step further and fill your timelines with useful, interesting content and interactions. This shows you’re serious about your chosen industry, you’re passionate and you’re trustworthy.
5. Make it a conversation
Whether you’re networking over LinkedIn or you’re heading to a job interview, remember to make each interaction a real conversation. Interviews can be nerve-wracking but it’s important to come across like a real human.
Show your personality, tell them a bit about the person behind the resume, and this can go a long way in winning them over. It’s way better than looking tight-lipped and robotic.
You may give all the right answers but it’s not just about that. Recruiters are looking to see if you’d be a good company fit. They’re asking themselves, “Can I work with this guy?”
This also helps the people interviewing you to relax somewhat (sometimes they’re nervous too). When everyone’s a bit more relaxed, you can often glean more information about the company culture and the people you’ll be working with. Remember, a job interview is for you to see if you want to work there too.
6. Follow up after the interview
We’ve all heard this tip before no doubt. Many are probably still skeptical about whether a cute handwritten note is really necessary for this day and age.
But it doesn’t need to be soppy or dramatic. All it needs to be is a quick email to whoever interviewed you. Thank them, reiterate your interest and why you think you’d be a good fit.
It’s polite, leaves a good impression, and is a nice round-up to what was hopefully a good interview. Maybe it won’t get you the job offer alone, but it could make a small difference. If the competition is tough between candidates, a small difference is all you need.
Getting a job offer is increasingly difficult in such a competitive market. We have to work extra hard just to get noticed. But with the above steps, more focus, and a proactive approach, you’ll have a great shot at landing a job you love.