What does a successful job search actually look like? We reveal seven tips that will significantly increase your chances of bagging that new job!
1. Prepare a Strategy
Job search is a project and like any other it needs a clear objective, an action plan, and frequent re-evaluation.
The first thing you need to do is to set a primary goal. It’s advisable to have a clear, concrete concept of what you want to achieve that can be summarised in a sentence, e.g. “I want to work for a non-profit where I can combine my volunteering experience with my community management skills”.
Remember, you don’t necessarily need to shoot for a specific position, but instead force yourself to build your job search around a core of your specific skills, strengths and interests. This helps you to start thinking in a productive way about roles that might suit you. Working back from your goal, you should then create a series of steps that you need to complete to get you where you want to be, such as: research; searching for potential positions, CV preparation, writing applications, etc.
Neither your goal, nor your action plan need to be set in stone however, so don’t be shy about taking time to rethink your strategy and to adapt it if necessary. This is especially true if you receive some rejections, or can’t find any suitable opportunities. Ask yourself questions like: do I need to change something in my application documents? Did these jobs just not suit me? Was this really the right company for me?
2. Seek Suitable Jobs and Companies
Once you have a clear goal, you can begin your search for interesting companies. Remember: don’t let the title or requirements deter you from applying to an interesting opportunity. While it’s important to pay close attention to what the role needs, remember that you don’t need to tick every single box. Just make sure you know exactly why you could be a great candidate for the role!
When you’re looking for suitable companies, bear in mind that it’s not just the industry or business field that’s important. Look at the mission and vision of the company as well as the internal culture to see if that aligns with what you want. You need to be able to identify with any potential new employer, and to share their values and goals. If that isn’t the case, even if the advertised position still sounds great – in the long run, you may end up unhappy there.
3. Use Your Network
Alongside your own research, it’s a good idea to ask your network for help in throwing out a wide net for a really successful job search. Tell your friends and acquaintances that you’re looking for a new job, and exactly what kind of position you’re looking for.
Don’t hesitate to contact LinkedIn connections, or to tell relevant people about your career plans when attending industry events. The most exciting career opportunities often come from within your network.
4. No More Mass Applications
This point cannot be repeated often enough: please do not send the same standard application to eighty different employers. HR teams recognise this, and will remember it.
For a successful job search, sit down and examine the specific requirements of each role, think about how you meet those specifications, and write an application that will do you justice.
It should contain a common thread that outlines point by point what a potential employer should expect from you. In your cover letter, you should make clear why you would be the perfect candidate for this position, instead of using a series of stock phrases that every HR rep has read a million times.
5. Learn from Each Rejection
Rejections are not just setbacks – they are also a great way to learn!
Unfortunately, employers aren’t always very forthcoming about the individual reasons they reject candidates. It’s good to expressly ask them by email or phone for feedback on why you weren’t suitable for the role in question. This is also an opportunity to review your application and think about what wasn’t quite right – ask a friend for help. It’s not uncommon during a job search to develop so-called tunnel vision, which might prevent you from noticing problems with your applications, or maybe that you’re applying for jobs that don’t really suit you.
6. Be Well-Informed
Before you attend a job interview, you should fully research the job and company. Don’t just look at the job description and the company website, but also check out their social media, and any press coverage about them.
Find out what kind of culture the company stands for day-to-day, how much they value their employees, and what their wider objectives are. This is all information that can be enormously useful during a job interview. Being well-informed about the position and the company makes it clear to a potential employer that you are really interested in the company itself, and not just indiscriminately trying your luck with any company.
7. Be an Engaging Interviewee
Congratulations! You’ve made it as far as the job interview. Your efforts up to this point have paid off, so it’s up to you now to lead a dialogue during your interview which shows that you are well-informed about the job and the company, and don’t shy away from asking incisive questions.
If you are capable of making the standard game of questions and answers into an interesting, engaging, memorable conversation you are more likely to pique the interest of a potential employer. This will mean you’re at the forefront of their minds when they’re choosing the person for the job.
So that’s what a successful job search can look like. Of course, it’s not a magic bullet that will find you the ideal job immediately. The search for the next step in your career will remain a process of ups and downs, but having a bankable strategy will stand you in good stead. Don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t work right away. In the end, perseverance pays off!