Increase your chances of landing your dream job in just 12 days with these daily job-search tips.
'Tis the season for career reflection. Are you happy in your current job or is it time to consider your next move?
Change makes most people uncomfortable, but the 21st-century job market isn't built on the same stability enjoyed by our grandparents. While re-entering the job market may feel more intimidating than staring down the Grinch, try some of these tips designed to fill your career stocking with interview requests instead of coal.
On the 1st day of job hunting, my career coach said to me…
Update your resume with your most current details. Tailor the content of your resume to jobs you're seeking and eliminate irrelevant information. There's no need to include references or a line that says “References available upon request.” When you're called for that interview, take a copy, or two, of your resume along with you.
Tip: Always have a resume ready to send, even if you're not currently seeking a new job. Keep it updated just in case a dream-job opportunity finds its way into your email – or a conversation with a friend.
Bonus Tip: Keep your references list updated with names and contact information – and remember to ask potential references for permission to use them as references.
On the 2nd day of job hunting, my career coach said to me…
Be prepared! Create a designated email to use specifically for your job search. Update your voicemail message to include your name, so that hiring managers and HR personnel know they've contacted the correct person.
Tip: Create a professional email address – using your name is always good. Keep the “firstname.lastname@example.org” address for personal use.
On the 3rd day of job hunting, my career coach said to me…
The big job sites such as Monster are good resources to use but don't neglect smaller, niche sites that more closely match your industry or skill set. Look for job boards specific to your industry or even geographic location.
Tip: You can tailor job searches to include daily or weekly digests that send a compilation of job openings via email, which cuts down on broader searching. Now there are apps and websites that specialize in sending job announcements.
On the 4th day of job hunting, my career coach said to me…
Check out companies for whom you'd like to work and make a list. Visit their employment pages weekly or every two weeks to look for new job postings.
Tip: If you can connect with individuals within the organization and cultivate a relationship, they may provide an “inside track” to alert you to upcoming job openings – and vouch for you to hiring managers, when the time comes to choose interviewees from all the resumes.
On the 5th day of job hunting, my career coach said to me…
Network, network, network! Reach out to people in your field, former coworkers, friends, family, and acquaintances, when you're looking for a new job. You never know who might provide a good tip or suggestion, know of an opening, or offer to give your resume to someone in their company and vouch for you as a potential job candidate.
Leverage social media to network in other creative ways! Utilize Facebook and Twitter to broaden your job search resources. You can also monitor hashtags such as #TweetMyJobs to discover new opportunities shared by employers and recruiters. To learn more, check out this list of must-follow hashtags for job seekers.
Tip: Clean up your Facebook profile, since more and more employers look at potential employees' pages to learn more about their candidates. Don't include anything you wouldn't want your grandmother to see!
On the 6th day of job hunting, my career coach said to me…
Over 90% of recruiters use LinkedIn as a primary search tool, so if you don't have an account, make one! Spend some time on the site to familiarize yourself with everything it offers, and take advantage of the free services. Reach out and connect with others in your field, join a few organizations that may post articles relevant to your career path, and don't neglect to visit the job boards! Click on the following link for more information on setting up your LinkedIn profile.
Tip: Treat your LinkedIn profile as a living, breathing entity and update it frequently. It's not meant to be a static work of art. Get something published? Announce it on your profile! Guest speaker for a group? Announce it!
On the 7th day of job hunting, my career coach said to me…
Don't neglect the cover letter, which provides the sneak preview of coming attractions. Start with a template that includes the basics, but then customize it for each position. Show what you can do for the company by incorporating words and phrases from the job description. Showcase your strengths in areas of paramount importance to the role. Include a few key achievements from your resume. Above all, make yourself irresistible.
Tip: Personalize the letter and salutation whenever possible. Look online for a contact's name, and if that proves fruitless, call the company's HR and ask for the name of whoever's in charge of hiring.
Bonus Tip: Focus on quality, not quantity. If you're sending out 50 job applications a week but getting no results, refocus on finding and applying for jobs that more closely match your experiences and background. You'll save yourself a lot of frustration.
On the 8th day of job hunting, my career coach said to me…
Create a blog. If you're seeking jobs that require excellent communication skills and top-notch expertise in a particular industry – and you have those in spades – blog about it! Include the link on your resume, and direct hiring managers to that site when you meet.
Tip: Research other blogs about similar topics and then seek a different angle to provide an innovative way that shares your expertise. Make a list of topics you think are important – but no one's mentioned – and write about them!
On the 9th day of job hunting, my career coach said to me…
Learn how to talk about yourself. Prepare an elevator pitch in which you can clearly and concisely communicate your skills. Talk about how these skills relate to the industries and roles that interest you.
Tip: You never know when you might have an opportunity to pitch yourself – in line at the grocery store, while waiting for your kids to finish a dance lesson, or while chatting with a friend-of-a-friend at a party. Don't be afraid to advocate for yourself whenever – and wherever – an opportunity arises.
On the 10th day of job hunting, my career coach said to me…
Create a contact database and update it regularly. Include employers you've contacted, the date you sent your resume and cover letter, whether you made contact with a person (and the person's name), people you talked to, and notes about the contacts. Update this list regularly.
Tip: Carry a notebook (or use your smartphone') to jot down any opportunities you hear about or impressions you don't want to forget right after you've left an interview.
On the 11th day of job hunting, my career coach said to me…
Congratulations! You got the interview. Research the company so that you have a good idea about what it does and how it works – and how you can contribute to its success. Don't, however, come across as an obsessed fan. It's also a good idea to stay current on issues and developments in your industry by reading trade journals, professional publications, company websites, etc., which will help you to talk knowledgeably at an interview about what's happening in your field.
Tip: Create a list of questions to ask the interviewer that show your interest in the company. Don't include questions about salary – but do ask questions about the company's short-term goals for the position, i.e., what do you see this position achieving in a month? Six months? A year?
On the 12th day of job hunting, my career coach said to me…
Write and send thank-you notes within a day after your interview. Address the interviewer directly, and reiterate – if you think you're a good fit for the position – the key skills and talents you can bring that you know make you a perfect match.
Tip: You can use a thank-you template to start, but make sure to personalize each note so that they're original to the position(s) for which you interviewed.