Finding a job can take a long time, even when you do everything right on your end. This becomes painfully obvious at times when you have to wait for an employer to sort through information they collected from your resume, get back test scores and go through multiple interviews. Luckily, there are ways to expedite the process, at least when it comes to your own side of the equation.
If you play your cards right, you can move the process along. Here are 12 great tips that can help you speed up your job search:
1) Apply as soon as possible:
Don’t procrastinate or wait to apply for an opportunity you’re interested in. Apply as soon as possible, which in most cases should be when you find the job posting. According to a 2011 study by StartWire, 50 percent of new hires had applied within the first week a job offer had been posted. Just imagine, that study is outdated now and the job market is much tougher. There are more people out there looking for work, which means you’ll have to work harder to land something.
2) Be consistent and don’t give up:
You may end up searching for a long time, but don’t let that get you down. Remain consistent and don’t give up. Continue your search, and continue applying to opportunities in droves. Attend as many interviews – in person or via Skype – as it takes. You may have to give up some of your precious personal time, but it will pay off and save you time down the road.
3) Practice makes perfect:
Even if you absolutely bomb an interview, you still learn something from the experience. When it comes to interviewing with potential employers, practice makes perfect and the more experience you have, the better.
That doesn’t mean you should enter an interview expecting to fail. Be prepared, and be sure to study beforehand. Do your best to ace the interview, even if you don’t feel confident about it. Practice interview questions and explore potential topic discussions, wear the appropriate attire and be sure to thank the interviewer when it’s all over.
4) Introduce yourself and contact the appropriate parties:
Your best bet is to find the name and email of the hiring manager and send a greeting to them specifically. If you find that difficult, find your next best option, such as a shift manager or comparable member of management. It’s a great idea to do this before you turn in your resume. When you make contact, introduce yourself and do a brief sales pitch for yourself.
5) Put together a cover letter:
Always include a compelling cover letter with your resume. Try to remember that you should never just rehash your resume and call it a day. This is where you can take your experience and explain its relevance to a potential employer. You can also provide insight into employment gaps and careers changes, along with plans for the future. Most employers will want to know more about you than a list of previous experience and work. The cover letter is where you can show some of your personality.
6) Respond to emails and phone calls ASAP:
Communication is important, but perhaps more important is reliability. Follow up with any and all connections in a timely fashion. Don’t burn any bridges, and don’t waste time when it comes to responding to messages.
7) Take advantage of social networking:
During your networking, if you encounter someone that promises to introduce you to a potential employer, take full advantage of it. In turn, this means being ready at the drop of a hat. Have your resume, cover letter, headshot and personal pitch ready to go.
It’s not bad to rely on friends, family or previous colleagues to get you into a job – if they can truly help. Always be ready to pass out contact information and a brief sales pitch, which should hopefully be passed on to the right people.
8) Create a portfolio or professional website:
Depending on what field you’re shooting for, you’ll want to set up a portfolio or professional website. A portfolio allows creative folks to share previous work. This is where freelancers and designers can show off published content, media or other creative works.
If you don’t work in a creative industry, then go with a professional website instead. Here, you can showcase your online resume, social network links, a blog and much more. The idea is to build up your character and provide an interesting backstory. More importantly, you want to ensure that backstory and content is relevant to a potential employer.
9) Look everywhere:
The Internet has made us all extremely lazy, and we owe it all to search engines. When it comes to looking for jobs, there are dozens of job search engines like Monster, Indeed and many more. Those are the obvious places to look, but don’t stop there.
LinkedIn is obviously a good place to network, but did you know that 89 percent of recruiting professionals in a Jobvite survey say they have hired from the site? Be sure to actively use LinkedIn as a job search tool by maintaining your resume and publishing your thoughts to establish yourself in the industry. Staying on top of your social accounts is crucial, especially if you work in a field that requires social media experience.
Don’t stop there; visit websites and blogs of companies you’re interested in working for. Visit – in person – local businesses that could be a great opportunity, or call them on the phone. Scan the classifieds for work, online and off. Just make sure you broaden your horizons by searching in as many places as possible.
10) Use a good headshot:
No, you don’t need to run out and hire a professional photographer to get a good shot of your mug. That said, you want to have a professional-looking headshot or photo available. This image can be used for contact info pages, social media profiles and accounts, Google+ and Gmail profile pics, and much more. You’ll get bonus points if you can get a creative or unique shot that gets others to remember your face.
11) Don’t forget to follow up:
No matter what happens – even if you’re told you didn’t qualify or were dropped from a candidate list – always follow up. Thank contacts for consideration, and request that they keep your information for future openings. You never know who is going to help you find work in the future. Not to mention, no one likes a poor sport.
12) Recruiters can help:
For many people, there seems to be a stigma with asking for help, especially when it comes to finding work. Don’t be afraid to get aid from recruiters. They can help you find excellent job opportunities at places you may have never even considered otherwise. They can also help you spruce up your resume and clean up your act, where applicable.
Following these tips should help move your job search along, so you can hopefully land your ideal position that much sooner.
Author: Sarah Landrum is a freelance writer and career blogger sharing advice on finding happiness and success in the work world. You can find her dishing out advice with a side of wit on Twitter @sarahlandrum and her career advice blog, Punched Clocks.
Image credit: #Speed202