15 Job Search Tips Guaranteed To Get You Hired

By Maddie Lloyd - Mar. 15, 2021
Articles In Job Application Guide

Find a Job You Really Want In

Finding a job is a difficult art to master. You’ve got to craft the perfect resume, tune up your cover letter to match the needs of the job, and show employers why you deserve the job over everyone else. On top of that — there are about a million things you could do wrong and several things you absolutely need to do right.

Here’s the deal:

With all the tips on how to prepare for a job interview and how to find a job, it’s easy to get lost. Don’t panic – we’ve got everything you need to know to stand out against other candidates and impress employers.

Keep reading to learn more about 15 job search tips that will set you apart from other candidates and help you land the job:

1Idenfity Your Goals

Knowing what type of job you want is an essential first step to any successful job hunt. Whether you’re a recent graduate, a career changer, or a person looking to improve their position slightly, identifying your needs and desires can help make sure that you’re only applying for positions that suit you.

Even if your career goals seem out of reach now, do some research on the career path it takes to get to where you want. Then, evaluate some entry-level or lower-level positions that can eventually rise to where you want to be.

If you’re unsure of what you want, you can try to take a career aptitude test or personality test and see what turns up. Or, ask trusted friends, family members, former supervisors, coworkers, or professors what they think would be a good career path for you based on your skills and interests.

Your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile aren’t set in stone — you can change them whenever need be. Use their flexibility to your advantage and make yourself stand out during your job search.

If one of your application materials doesn’t show that you’re the perfect person for the job, don’t be afraid to modify your keywords, rearrange your bullet points, and adjust your job responsibilities and achievements.

No one cares about a generic, boring resume. Make sure yours has everything needed to make employers excited about your candidacy.

Your cover letter should be specially tailored to the position, as it’s your chance to express your enthusiasm for the role and line up your resume’s biggest accomplishments with the responsibilities of the job you’re applying for.

Finally, your LinkedIn should be fully completed and follow some key guidelines to maximize your chances of success. An optimized LinkedIn profile helps answer recruiters’ and hiring managers’ questions about you before they even have to ask.

3Use Keywords on Your Resume

Employers only spend about six seconds looking at a resume before they decide if it’s a keeper or if it’s total garbage, so you don’t want to waste anyone’s time — including yours. Make their lives easier by showing them that you have what it takes to get the job done.

In order to make it painstakingly clear to recruiters that you’re the one destined to fill the position, you’re going to need to edit your resume and cover letter to line up with the specific job. Use keywords and required skills for the job in your resume to show that fate brought you to this job opening.

Not sure of which buzzwords or keywords to use? Don’t sweat it — just check the job description for the required qualifications. Mirror your skills and experience that line up with the job in your cover letter and resume, and you’ll be good to go.

Our pro tip: highlight all the action verbs in the job description in one color and all of the adjectives in a different color. Then, look for ways to honestly and naturally incorporate those keywords into your resume. Try to scatter keywords throughout your resume rather than stuff them into one section.

4Go Beyond Online Applications

Applying for jobs online can be pretty limiting, especially if the employer doesn’t have a face to match with your name. If you want to speed up your job search, you might want to consider stepping out of the comfort of anonymity and talking to recruiters, or people who work at a company you’re interested in.

How do you go about doing this? Easy — just request an informational interview. They’re a powerful secret weapon and a great way to network with employers and learn about their company.

But the thing about informational interviews is they’re not advertised, so you actually have to ask for one. Email an employer or someone who works for the company, asking to schedule an informal meeting to learn about their experience and get some advice.

They might not be able to give you a job on the spot, but it’ll help you get your foot in the door and put you on their radar.

5Be Confident

You might see that you don’t meet up with 100% of the job requirements or qualifications listed in the job description. Don’t give up before you get started — there are plenty of ways to get a job you’re not qualified for.

Never be apologetic or bring attention to your lack of experience or required skills. Instead, focus on what you can offer and emphasize your capacity for learning, both on your application documents and during the interview, if you get that far.

If you’re not confident in your ability to perform the job well, then hiring managers and recruiters won’t be either. If you don’t feel like you can carry out a conversation about the demands of the job, it might be a sign to save your time and not bother sending an application.

6Network Often

People often forget about networking until they need something. This is a massive mistake, as professional networking is a game of give-and-take. Be a helpful member of your network so that you don’t seem like a selfish jerk who only shows up when he needs something.

Attend networking events like career fairs, business conferences, and online meet-and-greets. Let people know that you’re looking for a job (the more specific, the better) and what your qualifications are.

7Write an Elevator Pitch

The best way to be prepared for any impromptu job opportunities that come your way is to have a winning elevator pitch prepared. To write the perfect elevator pitch:

  • Introduce yourself. Briefly give your name, shake the person’s hand, make eye contact, and say “nice to meet you.”

  • Write about what you do. Talk about what you do professionally. Cover the most exciting and impressive topics related to your work — things you can talk about with real passion. You can also showcase some achievements in this part, if you can work them in naturally.

  • Make your pitch. Describe what you want in clear terms. In this case, what you want is a job. But not every connection you meet is a hiring manager.

    With this in mind, consider “how can this person help me?” Often, the goal of an elevator pitch is just to earn a second conversation or an email follow-up. Keep your goals realistic for each conversation you have.

  • Give a call to action. Be clear in what you’d like the listener to do next. Ask for their email to follow-up about job opportunities or to be put in touch with a new person. Keep your “ask” low-effort and low-pressure to maximize the chances of your conversational partner agreeing.

  • Thank the listener. Whether you get what you want or not, always thank the listener for taking the time to hear you out. It’s just good manners, and those are an important part of networking.

Your elevator pitch should be around 30 seconds long, or about 75 words if you’re writing it out. It also works great for resume summary statements, LinkedIn profile summaries, and answering the interview questiontell me about yourself.”

8Grow Your Skills

While you’re searching for a job, always be expanding your skill set. Whether that’s independent study, professional development at your current company, or taking freelance work to boost your experience, you want to be seen as a person who’s always learning and improving.

Look into online classes and workshops and seek advice from mentors about the most valuable way to expand your skill set.

As you earn credentials and learn more stuff, be sure to add them to your resume and LinkedIn.

If you’re a recent graduate or you have savings to float it, you can even take an internship to break into an industry. This can provide valuable real-world training that can make your job applications more competitive moving forward.

9Get Referrals and Recommendations

Getting referred for a job boosts your chances of success considerably. Having a current employee vouch for you goes a long way in a world where hiring decisions often have a lot of unanswerable questions. If you don’t know anyone at the company, consider looking into meeting someone who does, even virtually.

Don’t be embarrassed about asking for a conversation — the worst they can say is no, and you stand to gain a valuable referral if they like you.

At the same time, you should start preparing letters of recommendation from former supervisors, professors, and coworkers. Don’t ask for one from your current boss — that is a recipe for awkwardness and possibly a termination earlier than you were expecting.

Having these documents ready and letting the writers know that they might be receiving calls is a huge step to being prepared for job opportunities on the fly.

10Stay Organized

Searching for a job can get messy — keep a spreadsheet that tracks all of your progress with various applications and companies of interest. List things like:

  • Company name

  • Position title

  • Hiring manager/recruiter/company contact name

  • Job description

  • Resume/cover letter docs you sent to the company

  • Application date

  • Interview date

  • Reminders to follow up

  • Application status

Having all this information in one place will ensure that you don’t miss any important deadlines or send anyone the wrong documents. We also recommend having a dedicated folder that holds all of your job search documents and materials, broken into subfolders for each company and position.

11Do Well at Your Current Job

The best time to apply for jobs is when you have a job. But if you’re not exactly a star at your current job, you won’t have great stories about your accomplishments. Not to mention that, eventually, the hiring manager or recruiter will have to touch base with your current employer to confirm that you accurately described your work experience.

Be a great coworker who goes out of your way to help others, a reliable subordinate who anticipates his boss’s needs, and acts with honesty, integrity, and accountability in all scenarios.

If you’re a force for positivity and productivity, it’ll be easier to sell yourself to hiring managers. Plus, you’ll actually be better at the job, which should make you feel more confident in the new role.

12Have an Online Presence

Regular social media can work for finding jobs as well, so make sure you have a polished and professional online presence. If you can build a website for yourself, or use a service like Squarespace or Wix to put one up quickly, it can be a real asset in your job search process.

Recruiters will be able to learn a lot about you here, and it’ll add an extra “wow” factor to your application.

13Get Job Notifications

This is a low-effort tip — set company alerts or job notifications for companies and roles you’re interested in. That way, you can let the jobs come to your email inbox rather than spending time searching yourself.

Timing is everything when you’re looking for a job, so being the first to see a new job listing, and the first to apply, can make a significant impact on your chances of landing the job.

14Show Off Your Personality During the Interview

If you want to make a good impression on the interviewer, you’re going to have to do more than regurgitate your perfectly memorized answers to the most common interview questions.

While you should definitely prepare your responses to these questions, you never want it to come off as a script reading. You want your interview to be a conversation, not a monologue. Otherwise, you’re going to bore your interviewer to death, and even though you memorized all of your answers, you probably won’t get the job.

Our tip — don’t be boring. Memorized answers will only get you so far. If you want to be remembered by the employers, you should aim to come off as genuine and relatable. Tell engaging stories to back up your answers, and have a conversation with your interviewer.

15Always Send a Thank-You Note After an Interview

One of the cardinal rules of job searching is that you should always send a follow up thank-you letter after an interview. If you don’t, you’ll just look like an unappreciative jerk, and no one wants that kind of person around their office.

Send a thoughtful, genuine thank you note to each and every interviewer you meet with during your job hunt. Aim to send your thank you letter within one business day of the meeting, and reiterate your interest in the job.

A simple thank you can go a long way, and employers will notice if you send one, or if you don’t.

Final Thoughts

Finding a job is difficult enough on its own, and it gets even more challenging when you don’t know about the tips and tricks that can help you get ahead in your job search.

Employers want to find candidates who are personable, considerate, and can bring valuable experience to the job on day one. Help your interviewer see that you have what it takes to be their ideal candidate, and you’re sure to get the job.

Now that you’re ready, it’s time to get started and find the job of your dreams.

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Articles In Job Application Guide
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Maddie Lloyd

Maddie Lloyd was a writer for the Zippia Advice blog focused on researching tips for interview, resume, and cover letter preparation. She's currently a graduate student at North Carolina State University's department of English concentrating in Film and Media Studies.

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