9 Steps To Landing Your Next Job
Many people dust off their resumes, make a few tweaks, and then apply to tons of jobs hoping to get a call from one of them. That is not a winning strategy. Searching for a job is a full-time job, so be sure to spend as much time job searching as you would spend working. You must actively search for opportunities and generate leads. This will take time and effort, but the payoff will be worth it. An effective job search requires clear career goals and a clear strategy. Go through these nine steps to create a strategy that will get you results.
Evaluating your soft skills will identify your strengths and challenge areas that will help you figure out what jobs suits you best. Having this awareness empowers your job search. Our soft skills identification and assessment package can help with this at Pyxai. Get a free account and the resources will be on your profile page. Knowing and understanding your qualities and abilities is vital to navigating the job search - it provides you a compass that points you to where you need to go. It also gives you more confidence in your approach - confidence being the secret sauce of landing a job! Don't take this first step lightly, it’s super important to make a list of your best qualities, skills, and accomplishments. Making this list will help tremendously when creating your resume, cover letters, and practicing for interviews.
The list of skillsets and strengths you can bring to an organization to add value is the foundation for you to begin your search. Your qualities, expertise, traits, and skills is how you begin to research industries, jobs, and companies you may be interested in. There are many things to research to get yourself started. First, identify the jobs you’re interested in based on the list you made in step one. Then research companies in your preferred industry. Research company culture, brand, their values and identify the ones you really connect with and want to work for. Next, identify the job search platforms and social media you can leverage best. Along with social media, knowing which job fairs and career centers are available will definitely help support your goals of getting that job.
Finally, research your network - friends, alumni, colleagues, peers, neighbors, or previous co-workers are all warm leads to get you started. Make a list of these people because you will probably need to do some outreach later on. Before we wrap up this second step, here's something to keep in mind: for process flow, research is step #2, but in reality you should never stop researching. Why? Well, jobs and opportunities like networking events or job fairs are constantly being updated everyday. No two days are the same in the job market, so you must stay vigilant by keeping yourself updated daily. Once you have identified the job boards and social media that work best for your industry, build a routine in the morning of checking job boards, job forums, and social media accounts.
Once you’re sure of the job you want and where you want to work at, it’s time to update your resume and work on cover letters. Here are some quick items to keep in mind when updating these documents:
- Remove unrelated experiences and skills from your resume and cover letters. Example: if you're applying to a sales job, don't mention your expert-level culinary skills as work experience. Perhaps relegate that to a hobby if you'd like.
- It is critical to match skills listed on job posts. Some research suggests to match the skills verbatim - if the job description says "adaptable and flexible" then consider putting "adaptable and flexible" on your resume and cover letters.
- Pursuant to the previous point, the reason why it is suggested to closely mimic the job description is because of the way recruiting software sorts and filters applications and resumes. These software recruiters use are called Applicant Tracking Systems (or ATS) and it is widely known that certain keywords produce more visibility than others. So, get the advantage and research keywords specific to your industry/role and add them to your resumes and cover letters.
- Again, the software that recruiters use is unknown to you so optimize for all software by using formatting on your documents to make sure it works everywhere. Imagine going through all the trouble of preparing an application, tweaking your resume, and creating a cover letter only for your submission not to be looked at because it "doesnt look good" on the recruiter's end! Do some research and identify the best format that has the best chance of working on all recruiting software.
- Lastly, it is important to tailor your resume for every job if needed. If two or more jobs are pretty similar then you can get away with using one resume, but if for example, you're applying to an Analyst position in Healthcare and another in the Finance sector, then it is highly encouraged that you tweak that resume to talk the industry lingo. Tailoring your resume and cover letter gives the impression of a person who understands the environment and can fit in.
Getting yourself assessed by an HR professional is a great way to iron out any flaws or difficulties in your interview delivery and in your resume. Mock interview reviews provide you with constructive feedback in a low-stress environment. Practicing reduces stress and anxiety about interviewing and boosts your confidence. Our state-of-the-art online mock interview tool allows you to practice core interview questions as well as job-specific questions. Additionally, you can have your mock interview expertly assessed by top Fortune 500 HR professional recruiters, or you can also share it to get feedback from your peers, friends, or mentors.
Create a free account to access our free mock interview tool at Pyxai. Getting an account, also allows you to get access to our free soft skill resource guide. Our soft skills self-identification and self-assessment resources give you the opportunity to validate your own soft skills and increase awareness into your strengths and identify areas for improvement.
Depending on the industry, figure out if you should optimize your applications for quantity or quality - lower skilled jobs (like waiters, janitors, or cashiers) may need a higher amount of tries compared to a higher skilled job (like lawyers, doctors, or programmers). Applying for jobs online is faster and sending targeted resumes to individual employers is a better approach. When creating cover letters for your application, emphasize your skills and abilities, be clear about what value you can bring to the role and the overall organization, stay concise, and proofread. After applying to a job, remember to check on progress daily to make sure you don't lose on an opportunity. It is also a great idea if immediately after applying, you loop back to your network and try to find a connection to help your chances of standing out in the application queue. Which brings us to the next step...
Get yourself out there! Networking is a vital part of the job search and the secret sauce of those who master the hiring game. Begin by reviewing the list of individuals you created in step #2. You built a strong foundation with your research (in step #2), so now use it to build professional networks, connect with recruiters, and find job openings at targeted employers. You can do these things, by identifying those in your list that can help you make connections in your preferred industry, at your preferred company, or even someone in the inside (recruiter or hiring manager). You can identify your target folks by doing further research in LinkedIn where everyone has a summary of where they work, where they have worked in the past, and any connections they have to others.
Don't be shy, just make a good plan by structuring your messaging - always remember to be authentic in your delivery. Also, instead of asking for favors, ask for help instead. Most people aren't keen to doing favors for virtual strangers. Nevertheless, if you state your need (why you need the help), specify why you chose them, and clearly list what you need help with, then you may have a better chance of someone assisting you. By reaching out to your friends, family, fellow alumni, or colleagues, you can benefit in many ways, including knowing about job openings that might be a good fit. Another added benefit is that networking and talking to others in the industry facilitates knowledge sharing and advising that could lead to greater insights to help you land your job.
Actually looking for a job is a full-time job! Like most things in life, to get great results, you have to put in the effort. We all reap what we sow as the saying goes. A serious job search includes setting up daily routines that consistently and constantly produces results that will inch you closer to landing that job. A daily job search routine should consist of:
- Monitoring your job applications and looking for updates
- Looking for new jobs, new opportunities, join new networks, etc.
- Identifying key contacts to leverage for a particular job application or company
- Creating tailored resumes and cover letters for new jobs that come up
- Searching for and attending networking opportunities and events
- Preparing for any upcoming interviews or networking events
To execute step #7 effectively and keep your dedication game strong, you must organize yourself for success. Create a spreadsheet where you keep track of companies, recruiters, any contacts, the stage/process your application is currently in, and any important notes like why you like a job over another. Also, use your calendar to keep you on track of important dates or any events you have to attend, etc. Update and monitor daily. You could also use an app on your phone to do the same. Having this data will help you leverage your network efficiently. Applying only to jobs you are really interested in and are qualified for will limit the number of applications you have to track and help you to focus on jobs that matter.
This last step is more of a mindset shift. A normal job search is taxing on the job seeker as it takes lots of time and effort before a job offer is obtained. Typically, job searches are marathons, not sprints. This concept of grit, persevering in the long run, is especially true now during COVID times when so many people are out of work and businesses are not operating as usual. The overall hiring processes may be slower due to the ongoing pandemic. This may prolong your job search. Prepare for the long term by hustling relentlessly and passionately, focusing on the end goal, and persevering no matter what comes. Plan ahead and make sure that your basic needs are met a few months after you think you'll get a job. So, if you estimate it may take you 6 months to get a job, plan for 8 or 9. Assuring that your basic needs are met is a HUGE burden off your shoulders and allows you to focus more intently on your job search, on developing yourself, and making meaningful connections.