When the clock strikes midnight and the last vestiges of the past year fade, we wonder what this new year will hold for us. More than 40% of Americans make a New Year’s resolution. Of those, 63% are work-related. Whether you’re looking to ring in the new year with a new job hunt or you need to revitalize your employment search, we’ve charted a course for your success!
Step 1: Create a Plan of Attack
When you’re looking for a new job, you shouldn’t be doing it blind!
Craft a plan for your job hunt. This includes determining what kinds of jobs you’re interested in, companies you’d like to work for, and creating an application schedule. Set goals for yourself to apply for a certain number of jobs each week and check out networking opportunities in your area.
Step 2: Pump Up Your Resume
Let’s be honest. Your resume could probably use some fine tuning. Whether you’re putting together a resume for the first time or yours has been gathering dust for a while, it’s important to make sure you’re including the best stuff!
For job hunting, this means a tailored resume for each job you apply to. It may sound like a pain, but it’s been shown that a one-size-fits-all resume just doesn’t cut it anymore. Employers often use a tool called an applicant tracking system – automated software that helps weed through all the applicants and manage the candidates. Some of these systems look for particular keywords relating to the position, so it’s vital you know how to deal with them. Check out industry trends and company values, then plug in relevant buzzwords and jargon every 3-6 sentences. Too few, and your resume could struggle to get past the application tracking system. Too many will get you through the screening tools, but make you seem inauthentic when the human hiring manager reads it. A healthy sprinkling of keywords will give you a 29% increase in getting an interview.
Step 3: Network ‘til You Drop
Make new connections in the new year!! The overwhelming majority (85%) of jobs are found through networking, so get out there and meet people!
Take a multi-pronged approach. Tap into your current network of family and friends by reaching out to people on social network sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. You should also work to expand your network, so it’s important to connect with new people. Check out Tinder-style networking apps like LetsLunch or Shapr. And never underestimate the power of in-person interaction! Keep an eye out for professional networking events, conferences, and alumni meetups.
Step 4: Be Choosy
When looking for a new job, you’ll reduce the chances of getting slammed with an auto-reject email if you apply to positions that are appropriate for your qualifications. It’s not a bad idea to take stock of your credentials. How many years of experience do you have? If you don’t have much experience, what transferable skills of yours are relevant? Do you have any degrees or certifications that will set you apart?
After you answer these questions, look for jobs that compliment your background. Hiring managers are trying to assess job fit, so if you check all their boxes, they’ll want to have you come in for an interview! And knowing your worth is important. If you shoot for the moon (ex: applying for an upper management position when you don’t have any relevant experience), you’ll be passed over for more qualified applicants. Be honest about the strength and breadth of your skillset and you’re sure to score some interviews! It’s okay to apply to positions for which you don’t meet all of the qualifications listed on the job description. A good rule of thumb is to make sure you meet at least 50% of the requirements.
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Step 5: Apply Strategically
Okay, okay. This one seems obvious. It’s hard to get a job that you don’t apply for.
But be aware! When you apply to a job is one of the most important factors in determining whether your resume will get into the hands of the hiring manager! There are several factors to consider:
Day of the Week: Send off your applications on Monday. This will improve your chances by 46%! Fridays and Saturdays are the worst days to apply if you want your application to be seen.
Time of Day: The early bird gets the worm! Sending in your application between 6am and 10am (in the employer’s time zone) will make you 5 times more likely to get an interview.
Age of the Posting: You’d think that the early bird would be full by now! When scanning job boards for listings, it’s a good idea to filter by “newest.” Your chances of getting an interview increase by 65% if you apply to a job during the first 4 days after it’s posted.
A new job hunt can feel daunting, but if you follow these steps, we know you’ll keep your New Year’s resolution!