The Job Search
Nobody likes doing it and we tend not to unless absolutely required, but job searching and applying is a necessary evil in life (unless you are part of the 1% in which case I’m assuming you are taken care of for the rest of your life). I have a few friends who are in the process of it and I went through it not once, but twice in the past two years, so I thought I would share some of my lessons learned in hopes that it may help someone else.
Before you even start cleaning up your resume, sign yourself up for job alerts on places like LinkedIn (hey I found a job there before!) and any other place that is relevant to what you are searching for. Several companies and organizations now have the option to sign up for their job alerts as well. At the same time, reach out to friends and acquaintances to let them know you are looking and if they see anything in regards to what you’re searching for, to please send it your way.
Once you’ve done that, move on to cleaning up your resume. This is perhaps one of the most painful parts of job searching. Many of us have resumes covered in cyber dust, sitting there aging every year. We tend to ignore our resume while we do have a job, even though we know it’s there lurking, somewhere in the background waving at us trying to tell us that it needs updating. BUT it needs to be done. Here are some pointers that I learned from friends who reviewed my resume:
- Add a summary at the top of your resume that is concise (no more than 2 sentences) stating what you are experienced in.
- For each job/position you’ve held, highlight the things you have achieved using an active voice.
- Be succinct and cut out any useless information.
- Remember that you don’t have to put everything in there, just the most important.
- Have about 2 friends and/or coworkers (if you can trust your coworkers) review your resume.
Remember those job alerts you signed up for? Start going through them and applying to what fits. Even apply to jobs that are not an exact match. These are your “exercise” applications, meaning you build up some experience and comfort with the job search.
Now comes the next painful part of the job application: the cover letter. No one really reads them (they may skim through) and really at this point, they are quite pointless. But we still have to do them. I did many, many searches online to get cover letter templates and tips, which really did help. After you write about 2-3 of them, you’ll find you won’t be spending that much time on them anymore and will tailor each one based on the job description. Here are some pointers:
- If you can, address the letter to the hiring manager. If you don’t know who it is, no matter.
- The first paragraph should mention that job you are applying for. If you have a mutual contact, then mention that person.
- The second paragraph should highlight your qualifications and why you would be right for the job. LAME I know, but that’s the way it is done. For now at least.
- Conclude your last paragraph by thanking the person for considering you for the job.
Here are also some examples based on job type.
Lastly I should add apply to as many jobs as you possibly can. I aimed for about 2-3 a day, even if it wasn’t the perfect job. It gave me practice and I got my resume out there. Even if you’re not 100% sure about the job and get a call for an interview, go to the interview and get some practice. It helps.
I know it’s a very painful process, trust me, I know. But like I said, it’s necessary at times. Fingers crossed and best of luck to friends who are looking for a new place to work. I sincerely hope they find and get something soon.
Do you have any other tips for job searchers?