Are you in the market for a J.O.B.?
• Did you take some time off voluntarily or as part of a layoff?
• Are you new to the job market?
• How about returning to the 9-to-5 after a prolonged absence?
If you answered “YES” to any of these questions, then you are in good company.
You may be starting to see how difficult it is to find a job.
It may sound counterintuitive, but not having a job makes you less likely to land one.
Well, you’re in luck.
I have over one year of experience looking for a new role and have insight into what works and what doesn’t.
My job ended abruptly in 2016. Since then, I have taken steps to find a job that checks (most) of my boxes this time around.
This included opening up my horizons to not only jobs in my home state – but expanding into other cities and even entertaining remote opportunities.
I am going to combine some tried and true tips with my own experiences to provide actionable advice that you can use to increase your chances of finding a job.
Keep reading for the 4 things to do right away, some items to keep in mind, and areas where you should proceed with caution.
4 Things To Do Right Away
#1 – Polish up your resume and cover letter and make sure it stands out, both in visual and written form.
Aka – make it look and read GREAT!
Ask yourself – If you saw your resume roll across your “hiring manager desk”, would it get noticed?
Try using a brand new resume and cover letter template.
There are plenty of options out there that you can utilize for free, or you can design your own format.
Make it look clean, easy-to-read, free of typos, slang, and grammar mistakes.
As for the written portion, on your resume go through for each old employer and include 2 or 3 notable accomplishments in either a designated area or within the job duties section.
Think hard about what you have accomplished and what you can confidently speak to in an interview – and always, be honest!
Here are some examples of accomplishments:
- Recouped over $2.5M in efforts to contribute to the department $20M savings goal – that’s awesome!
- Led the implementation team in the migration from a legacy to ERP system with successful results – yay!
- Designed email marketing campaign leading to an increase in engagement from customers and a 25% increase in sales – wow nice job!
When working with the cover letter, you may want to have a single version that can be utilized across most of your job applications.
When applying for a job, simply tailor the specific areas of your cover letter to the job listing.
#2 – Get some solid references.
The references that you use should be able to speak to your accomplishments.
Avoid using a reference that did not oversee your work and/or is not going to speak highly of you.
This may seem obvious, but it would not be wise to use a reference if it will not benefit you in getting a job.
If you have recommendation letters then that will really help your cause.
When my husband was laid off from his first job out of undergrad he got a recommendation letter from his boss. In the letter, it not only remarked on his work ethic and skills, but it told the story that the layoff was due to budget cuts. This helped in finding his next job and when it came down to recouping State benefits (that were based on years in the field).
#3 – Set-up a free LinkedIn account and reach out to your connections.
Send your contacts a message and let them know you are in the market for a job.
Also, add a headline to your LinkedIn account stating that you are available for work.
This signals to everyone that views your page that you are open to a new position.
There is also a way to set up your account to be viewable to recruiters.
Simply go to Privacy › Job seeking › Let Recruiters know you are open to opportunities. At that point, there is an area that you can fill out your preferences.
#4 – Focus your job efforts on using reputable career websites.
I have the most experience using Glassdoor, Indeed, and LinkedIn. Any one of these websites would work for your job search.
Additionally, I would recommend Glassdoor for company reviews, Indeed for the ease of use, and LinkedIn for the option to “easy apply” with an established account.
On each website, you can save jobs and apply either through the platform or as a redirect to the company website.
Things To Keep In Mind
–Have an “alibi” for any time you are out of work.
Ensure the time you are out of work is accounted for and there are no gaps in your explanation to employers. Relevant productivity is the key here.
Potential employers don’t want to know that you walked your dog around the block every day.
Here are some ideas:
- Contract work
- Professional education and classes
–Apply for a job at least a few times a week.
Companies can take a long time to get back with a candidate. It can take upwards of a month or longer to hear back about your candidacy. Consistently applying for jobs keeps the momentum going.
It will help to have a log of all the jobs that were applied to so you can reference back to them. When you apply for multiple jobs it can get unorganized. Items to add to your log can include job duties, salary range, company, date applied, position, and so on.
If interviews come on an infrequent basis, make sure you are ready to put your best foot forward when the time comes.
Have a log of the most commonly asked interview questions and review them periodically and always right before interviewing!
–Reach out to contacts on a regular basis.
If you are working with a recruiter, make sure to follow-up with them. Unless they are updating you regularly, chances are you are not on their radar.
Alternatively, if the recruiter has been blatantly unhelpful, then lose their number and move on to someone that will actually help you.
I had several of these instances where they would call just to get information, but never tried to help me. I caught on pretty fast to not even entertain calls that I didn’t initiate.
Proceed With Caution
–Work with recruiters if it benefits you.
If you are seeking a job in the same profession and don’t have any odd changes in your experience, then you may benefit from using a recruiter.
If like me, you are looking for a job outside of your area of expertise, then it may not be in your best interest to seek the assistance of a recruiter.
The primary reason is that recruiters want to move candidates quickly, and will likely not waste their time focusing on someone with special requests.
–Think twice before signing up for a job subscription – like FlexJobs.
The subscription is a relatively low price at $49.95/year.
Though, it’s not worth it unless you are in a profession that would warrant the kind of jobs that FlexJobs.com curates.
They focus mainly on part-time, telecommute, and flex jobs. It depends greatly on your industry. If you happen to work within IT, online teaching, customer service, sales, and client services, then this might be a good avenue for you.
–Don’t fall into employment traps.
There always seems to be a scam for something or other, so I am not surprised there is one for job-seekers. Be extra careful about random emails that ask for an interview through Google Hangouts and ask you to pay before accepting a position.
This will never legitimately happen. I’m always careful about this, but I’m adding this tip just in case!
Keep At IT!
Let’s face it, job seeking is not fun, but it is only temporary – fingers crossed.
My hope is that if you are out of a job right now, you can utilize the insights I have outlined in order to get back on your feet.
Remember, there is not one job out there that is 100% secure. Feel free to bookmark this page and review it if you ever find yourself in the position of needing a job.
Read more about my mission HERE.
Join The FTD Community
+ Instant access to the "Resume Template" that looks clean and professional
+ Access to the "FTD Library" for subscribers - now available
+ Weekly updates so you never miss out!
Looking for finance + lifestyle resources?
Readers, do you have any input on job-seeking that you would like to add? Have you been in a similar situation and have a real-life story to share?