Navigating the job search process is hard enough. Add in a pandemic, inflation, a flooded job market and low role inventory in the mix, it can feel impossible to break through. As a recruiter in the comms space, I speak with candidates every day about what they’re looking for and how they’re prioritizing the search for their next position. Being on this side of the table, I’ve identified a few tips for job seekers out there to help land the role that’s truly right for you.
Tip #1: What do YOU want?
Start with self-exploration. What is important to you; in a job, in your day-to-day tasks, the work environment, opportunities you want? What levels of transparency, benefits or perks are important to you? Sit down and map it out. Then, prioritize it. Use this list as your guide and stay true to it throughout your search.
Let’s say you land a job but it checks off very few boxes on your list. How long do you think you’ll be willing to stay there? If the environment feels terrible, the people are awful, there are no development opportunities. The answer is probably not long. And you’ll be back in the same seat, looking for the next thing, hoping it will be different, even if it too doesn’t check off the most important boxes on your list.
Alright, you’ve soul searched and now it’s time to look. Let’s talk about what you’re looking for and what you can do to get there.
Tip #2: RESEARCH
Take the time to do your research. In the recruiter seat, there’s nothing worse than the interview team reviewing an OUTSTANDING resume, only to find out the applicant’s answers to the application lack responses relevant to the work a company does. On paper the candidate is great yet in reality, they didn’t even take a moment to look at the website. That’s a red flag, and it’s onto the next.
Once you find something interesting, spend time looking at what they have to offer. How do they talk about themselves? What do they do? What does the job description say? Does this business check off your boxes? Once you feel that connection to the company, the application questions or LinkedIn message you send, will feel more on par with what they are looking for.
If you read something that doesn’t align with what you’re looking for or actively goes against it, move on. It’s not the right opportunity. Just as your future company is looking for a great fit in a candidate, you should be looking for a great fit in them as well.
Tip #3: Show up STRONG
Most of the time, if all you do is apply, your resume ends up in a stack of 50, 100, maybe 500 resumes. You can hope and pray that it stands out, or you can make it happen for yourself by showing up where people are. We mean that literally and digitally.
Who in your LinkedIn network can you reach out to for an interview or informational session. Don’t be shy to reach out to a recruiter, HR leader, or even employee who has a job similar to what you’re looking for.
You can even look into where the company is going to be in the coming weeks. Are they sponsoring an event? What are they talking about on social, is there an “in” there?
When and however you show up, be true to yourself. Your mind may be racing through the 101 things that you want to tell someone about who you are and why they should hire you. Are you showing up and engaging in mutual dialogue and exchange of information? Keep your focus on sharing your experiences and what you are looking for AND what the company is sharing about who they are and what they are looking for. There’s something to be said about a balanced exchange of information that feels genuine and authentic.
Tip #4: Do an in-depth review of the job description
We understand that these are tough times in the job market and many candidates are experiencing layoffs and eager to fill out every application available.
There’s nothing wrong with putting as many eggs in the basket as possible. However, we encourage you not to let rushing through applications diminish the quality of your responses. Spending a bit longer to thoroughly read and answer application questions or tailoring your resume to fit each role you’re applying to can increase your chances of standing out drastically. Because as a recruitment team, we’re looking for synergy.
In the end, not taking the time up front may lead to less than desirable results – an unfavorable interview process, an offer for a role you’re not that excited about, or you can end up at a company that doesn’t match your values. We recommend that you take your time, be thoughtful throughout the process from the very first step, do extensive research and apply to roles at companies where you’re confident you could be successful.
Tip #5: Do You!
Every business sits within its own phase of life. Maybe you’re considering a start-up, where culture is highly malleable and processes don’t yet exist. You can be part of a team that sets the standard. Maybe you’re looking at a long-standing corporation where the functions of the role were decided decades ago, and you’re stepping in to a well-oiled machine. Sometimes you have the opportunity to be the first of something and other times you’re bringing a new perspective to an established team.
If you aren’t sure what you want, look at how you tend to react in certain situations. Were you the student always raising their hand to lead, even if you weren’t sure what outcomes were expected? You might thrive in an environment where you’re building from scratch and have the freedom to decide. Do you love following instructions and a set process? You might be craving something more established.
Knowing yourself is key when it comes to how you focus your efforts. In all, the choice is yours. It’s up to you to know yourself and decide what you’re looking for. In any new role there will be learning curves and ups and downs when acclimating to new responsibilities, adjusting to company culture and cultivating collaborative trust with teammates. Just remember to keep an open mind, soak it all in and take great notes along the way.