Recent changes in the market have created an environment that undeniably favors job seekers. In response, recruiting trends that focus on improving candidate experience, adopting technology to find the best candidates, and emphasizing perks such as flexible schedules are emerging to offer candidates the things they look for in a job.
While this is good news for job seekers, they must keep two things in mind. First, not every industry has been impacted in the same way. Second, job seekers must continue to put in the effort to get results. If you’re considering a career change this year, here are some tips and best practices that will make it easier to find a job you love.
Make sure you’re prepared for your job search
Before you start your job search or begin submitting resumes, take some time to prepare. You’ll want to have everything you need to make a great impression on employers and provide them with the information they need. This checklist will help you prepare:
- Create a list of target companies.
- Update your resume and then tailor it to each opportunity.
- Use a spreadsheet or other method to organize your applications.
- Begin to build and improve your personal, professional brand.
- Set a timeline to allow adequate time for your job search.
It can be overwhelming to search for a new job, but you can make the process easier with the proper preparation.
Understand the best days to submit applications and set a schedule
Timing is an important part of a job search. It turns out that some days are better than others for submitting applications. In addition to a higher success rate, you can maintain control of the process when you set a schedule.
Tuesday is often reported to be the best day for submitting resumes, so consider a schedule like this:
- Monday: Write cover letters and tailor your resume content.
- Tuesday: Submit resumes and related application documents.
- Wednesday: Send follow-up emails.
Similarly, some months are better than others for a job search, and it varies by industry. For example, if working in a seasonal field, late winter may be an ideal time to start looking.
How to find a job online
The internet is one of the best ways to find a job. In the sections that follow, we’ll cover:
- Navigating online job boards and career websites.
- Using social media platforms to find a job.
- Finding career opportunities on company websites.
If you can master these platforms, you will get the best possible results in your online job search.
Online job boards and career websites
Online job boards and career websites are probably the most popular sources of opportunities in every industry. When companies have job openings and want to reach a broad audience, they post to well-known sites like ZipRecruiter, Google, Indeed, and Glassdoor.
In addition to offering job listings and search tools, these sites have other features. Many contain company reviews, salary information, and career advice. Some job boards provide apps you can use to receive special alerts or communicate with potential employers.
Social media platforms
It’s becoming increasingly common for people to find jobs using social media. Companies and recruiters also use LinkedIn to find job seekers available through their networks and find people open to new job opportunities. Here are some action steps to help you as you look for a job via social media:
- Make sure your LinkedIn profile is complete and up to date.
- Use a professional cover picture.
- Indicate that you are open to being contacted about job openings.
- Create a professional presence on Facebook and other platforms as well.
- Delete unused accounts.
Even if you don’t intend to use a social platform for professional purposes, assume that employers will find and explore your accounts. Do your best to create a positive and professional presence on every social media channel.
Here’s where a list of target companies comes in handy. Exploring company websites enable you to hand-select the organizations you want to pursue. Additionally, some businesses may only advertise openings through their company website.
You can take other actions on a company website to help your job search. If there is a company directory, you may find contact information for the HR representative and others who directly influence hiring decisions. Use this information to send your resume and inquire about future opportunities.
Company websites are also an excellent way to explore and learn about an organization’s values and purpose, which can help you to determine if a company is a good fit.
Other ways to find job opportunities
Don’t limit your journey to an online search. You can tap into the hidden job market when you expand your job search. You may be pleasantly surprised at how many openings you encounter. Let’s take a closer look at these alternatives:
- Attending job fairs
- Going to networking events
- Tapping into your network for referrals
- Enlisting the services of staffing agencies
Job fairs offer the opportunity to meet company representatives directly. Face time can give you a significant advantage over other job seekers who only submit a resume. Job fairs are often the easiest way to find a job for recent college graduates.
There are many types of job fairs to explore:
- Local colleges and universities
- Company-sponsored events
- Industry-specific job fairs
Regardless of the job fair you attend, here are some helpful tips:
- Bring several copies of your resume.
- Dress professionally – business casual attire is the standard.
- Research the job fair website to learn the layout and companies attending.
- Be open to making new contacts even if you don’t pursue every opening.
- Arrive prepared with a list of questions to ask each representative.
Networking events are meet-ups that allow professionals to connect. Attendees often look for potential clients, business associates, new employees, and job opportunities. You can find networking events through Meetup, professional Facebook groups, even local business associations.
Be on the lookout for local networking events to meet potential employers or freelancing opportunities. You can also use them to build your professional network. Try these tips to make the most of these events:
- Bring your smartphone for recording contact info, but stay engaged.
- Repeat names so you remember them.
- Follow up with people after the event.
- Stay on top of industry news so you can “talk shop.”
Referrals from your network
Where can you find unadvertised opportunities? Many jobs are filled using professional networks without being listed to the public.
In addition, you may have marketable skills you can sell to prospective employers. But first, you need a network of connections.
Ideally, you’ve built your network by attending events, staying in contact with your alumni group, and connecting with friends and coworkers. Now, you have to reach out to your network to ask for help with finding a job. Most people are happy to help, but there are some better ways to approach this:
- Reciprocation is critical — be available to give referrals yourself.
- Contact your closest contacts directly to let them know you are looking.
- Ask previous coworkers and supervisors for LinkedIn recommendations.
- Be direct, polite, and brief when making your requests.
Staffing agency services
Working with a staffing agency is another resource for how to find a job. Some offer long-term assignments, while others work on short-term or temporary contracts. Staffing agencies provide flexibility and the opportunity for you to gain experience in various roles and industries.
When a position sourced by a staffing agency is a temporary contract that can become a permanent placement, it can be the easiest way to find a job. It also enables you to ensure the workplace culture and environment will lead to a job you love.
What to do after applying for jobs
The process doesn’t end after sending your resume or completing the job application. There are additional steps you can take to increase your chances of getting an interview:
- Send a follow-up email the next day to thank them for considering you.
- Reach out again in a week if you haven’t received a response.
- Prepare for the interview by rehearsing your answers to common questions.
- Research the company online.
- Know the market salary range and what you are willing to accept.
- Practice your negotiation skills, and don’t ask for less than you want.
Explore Top Workplaces to find a job you’ll love
It’s challenging to find a job, even in the current environment. Job boards contain thousands of listings for you to filter through, and not all of them are legitimate.
When you find opportunities you like, research the companies to determine if they are award-winning great workplaces. Take a close look at Top Workplaces awarded companies that have been recognized as great places to work by their employees. You can search for companies by location, industry, culture, and more.
Looking for ways to attract the best talent and grab job seekers’ attention? Nominate your organization for Top Workplaces, the employer recognition program that offers awards in 60+ regional markets as well as national awards for culture and industry excellence.