11 Helpful Job Hunting Tips

Many people looking for work start getting discouraged as time goes on, but be patient while job hunting

Flickr user Flazingo Photos

Whether you’re looking for a summer job in high school, a part-time job in college, or your first full-time job after graduation, finding a job can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. And since many companies don’t get back to applicants, it can be easy to be discouraged after weeks or even months of no replies.

However, it’s important to remember that patience is key here. Very few people are hired for the first job they apply to. In order to be patient and keep on top of your career goals, you’ll want to keep these 11 tips in mind during your job search.

1. Understand That It Is A Process

When a company posts a job opening, they allot a certain amount of time before they begin to actually begin reviewing applications and resumes. This is to allow ample time for potential candidates to learn about the position and apply. 

Businesses wait about 2 weeks after the position is made public before they start scheduling interviews, but it can be much longer. Some organizations may list a job opening and not get back to applicants for 6 months! Then there’s the interview process, follow-up calls, internal discussions, and more.

Keeping in mind that businesses have other things to tackle in their day-to-day on top of the hiring process will help keep you sane.

2. Keep A Record Of Your Job Hunting Search

During your job search, grab a notebook or an Excel sheet so you can keep track of your progress. Write down the company you applied to, the job platform you applied through, the name of the position, any contact information you have, the date of your application, and any other information you think is important to the job opening. 

We recommend this because when you’re applying to a lot of jobs, they all blur together. It’s easy to think, “I already applied to that.” when you actually just applied to something similar! It will also prevent the mistake of confusing two companies if one should call you back about nearly identical positions.

3. Use the Right Job Search Tools

While there are businesses that will accept a paper application, they are few and far between. The vast majority are looking for (and require) online applications. That doesn’t mean you have to visit every company’s website that you’re possibly interested in looking for open positions.

Instead, using job hunting sites, such as LinkedIn and Indeed, allow you to input your search perimeters and find positions that fit what you’re looking for. These can be just a few keywords related to your career or you might want to get more specific and require certain locations, job hours, and pay. 

By signing up for these websites, you’ll be able to be alerted to new positions that fit what you’re looking for and easily apply through the platform. It’s also a good idea to upload your resume and flesh out your LinkedIn page so recruiters can find you, too.

4. Automate to Save Time

Do you have one resume that you constantly update every time a new job posting is listed? Or do you write a brand new cover letter for every application? Do you type in your contact information every single time?

These steps can take a lot of effort and time – and they don’t have to. By automating certain parts of your application, you can cut down on the time it takes for you to apply for a position. You can:

  • Craft several resumes that fit different job positions and use them when they’re applicable, rather than having a single resume that constantly needs to be edited
  • Write a few cover letters that can be quickly altered to fit the company, job position, and job requirements
  • Use auto-fill tools on browsers that automatically enter your contact information and other details

And while there are certainly tools out there that will automate the entire job search and application process for applicants (and some programmers have even written their own), you might want to stick to applying on your own so you can be sure you’re keeping track of your efforts.

5. Have Your Resume Reviewed

Did you know that HR is rarely looking at each and every resume they receive, especially at larger companies? Instead, they’re using automation tools that look for specific keywords in resumes and cover letters. If your application fails to have those words or phrases, you may be auto-rejected.

Professionals can review your resume for your dream positions so you can be assured you have the appropriate keywords. They can also assist you with beefing up your credentials and formatting.

Tip: If you’re currently in college, your college’s career center can help with this!

6. Look Into Recruiting and Staffing Agencies

Recruiting and staffing agencies can help you connect with companies that are looking for employees in your area. If you decide to go this route, you will likely first have to complete a number of tests – including ones that are related to your skills – and have an initial interview. The agency will then contact you with any positions that meet your criteria and skill set. 

If you have limited time for job hunting or you’re getting burnt out, this is a fantastic resource. They do the work for you. You simply have to make time to make appointments for any potential positions.

And, if you’re still in college, the career center may offer a similar service. They might just be able to connect you with local employers that are hiring! 

7. Keep Active

It’s easy to fall into a rut when you’re job hunting, especially if you’re currently not working. Staying active then, is essential. First, it’s a must for your mental health. Day in and day out, doing nothing but applying for jobs, can take a toll on your mental health. Getting out and about, even if it’s just going for daily walks, can be essential.

Second, employers tend to want gaps “explained.” Gaps refer to any period between your last job (or graduation) and the present day. Now, we want to state here, it is okay to have gaps in your resume. Everyone has them, and it is not necessarily a poor reflection on you. Some individuals have medical concerns that keep them from working, for example. If you don’t want to answer this question either, you don’t have to! But if you spent your “gap time” doing something in particular, this is the time to mention it.

Job hunters can keep active by:

  • Picking up a new hobby
  • Volunteering
  • Tutoring
  • Gig work
  • Freelancing
  • Traveling
  • Furthering their education
  • Learning something new

8. Find Ways To Stay Motivated

It can be hard to keep your motivation levels up, especially when things start to drag out longer than you expected. What motivates you?

Keeping your goals in mind is an excellent way to stay on track. You should also:

  • Keep up momentum
  • Set new goals when your current ones are reached
  • Record your progress
  • Surround yourself with the right people
  • Work with a mentor

And if you’re struggling to get motivated, making any sort of progress is progress. Having a rough day? Try applying to just one job that day – you still accomplished something!

9. Network, Network, Network

Even though you’re not employed, that doesn’t mean you can’t work!

Networking is an excellent way to get to know people in your industry and even get your foot in the door. Many communities have networking clubs and opportunities for professionals, young and old. Getting out there can help you forge connections that last a lifetime. 

Connecting with your college peers and friends is also a great way to further your network. This is especially where LinkedIn comes in handy. 

10. Reward Yourself For Your Dedication

Finding ways to reward yourself for your patience and dedication is not always easy. If you are tracking your job hunting activities, you can set mini-milestones to create rewards for. What the rewards are are completely up to you. It could be a night out to the movies, a nice dinner, a trip to the local theme park, or that book you’ve had your eye on for a bit! This will help you keep up the motivation, too.

11. Give Yourself Time To Relax

While finding a job is important, it can’t be your focus 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You’re going to drive yourself crazy if you do that. You need to find ways to recharge your mental, physical, and emotional batteries. 

Instead, setting a schedule (just like a job) for job hunting can help you stay sane. Set aside a certain number of hours on a certain number of days each week to apply to positions. The rest of the time should be seen as your free time to do whatever you would normally do when not at work!

Patience is a must when it comes to job hunting. While you might get lucky and get hired to your dream job on the first go, it’s uncommon. Instead, building up a strategy for your job hunt is a must – especially if you want to keep your head.

Curious about what jobs fit your education and career goals? Our free Career Finder helps you identify the best jobs out there for you, and gives you essential information about the field! Check it out right here.

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