A job search can make most people cringe in nervousness, as finding a job is not the easiest task to do – especially in this economic climate.

To help make the process a little less stressful, we’ve created a job search tutorial guide to ensure you focus on the right routes and best practices during your search.

Job Search Tutorial for Finding your Next Job

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The guide will examine the key steps to getting started: defining your ideal jobs and sorting out your resume. We’ll then present six ways to find a job and the best practices for each route. Finally, we’ll give you four essential tips to keep in mind during the process.

DEFINE THE JOBS AND ROLES YOU WANT

The first thing you need to do is to define the jobs and roles you want. If you have the attitude of “I’ll do anything”, you’ll be wasting your time and your chances of success will diminish. On the other hand, if you narrow your search by being specific about the jobs you want, you can ensure you spend less time looking for the roles and your chance of success is much higher.

You always want to aim for the jobs and roles that fit your career development goals. The next job should always be a step up on the career ladder. If you’re unsure what your career goals are or what types of jobs suit you, you should do the following things.

First, consider your skills and achievements. What kinds of jobs require those skills? What are the roles that can benefit from your previous experience? Keep in mind the transferable skills. For instance, if you worked as a waiter in a bustling restaurant, but you don’t want a job in the hospitality industry, you can still use the skills you learned in other areas. You’ve improved your customer service skills, your ability to work under pressure and the ability to multitask, for example. All these skills can be used in other industries and careers.

Second, if you feel completely lost in the face of all these job opportunities, try doing a career assessment test. You can find online tests at CareerFitter.com and Assessment.com or you could talk to your school’s career advisor. Remember you can contact your university’s career department even after you’ve graduated. In addition, there are independent career councilors that might be able to help.

After you’re clearer about your passion and the jobs you want, you can focus your job search for these industries and roles.

 

PREPARE YOUR RESUME ACCORDINGLY

You also need to get your resume or CV in order before you start job hunting. There are a few essential best practices when it comes to preparing your resume for job searching.

These best practices include:

  • Customizing the resume to the job you are applying for, instead of using a generic list of your work history. This doesn’t necessarily require you to rewrite the resume for each employer, but it does mean it should fit the specific type of role or job you are applying.
  • The above can be achieved by ensuring you highlight the relevant skills and qualities required in the job position. If the company’s job post emphasizes things such as the ability to learn fast or problem solving skills, you need to showcase through your past experience and work history that you possess these skills.
  • Recruiters tend to check the online profiles of the most suitable candidates. You should therefore create a resume that matches your professional profile on LinkedIn and Facebook.

See and get some nice looking CV templates in the following slides.

 

There are also specific things you need to keep in mind in terms of the design of your resume. Recruiters don’t spend an awful long time looking at resumes and therefore, you need to ensure the resume makes a good first impression and has something to excite or draw the recruiter’s attention.

The main things to keep in mind in terms of CV design are:

  • Keep it short and specific.
  • Engage the reader with an interesting headline.
  • Ensure the resume is grammatically correct.

Check out these practical resume tips in this video:

 

EFFECTIVE WAYS TO FIND A JOB

Let’s now turn our attention to the different ways you can find your next job. You can find your next job by using the following six routes.

All of the outlined ways can be helpful, but you can always focus most of your attention on a few of these routes if you wish. We will explain how to use each route and share some best practices as well.

#1 Connect with your alumni

You should be active in nurturing relationships with your alumni. Your alumnus is likely to have plenty of people who share your interests and passions, which can help you in finding suitable roles.

Furthermore, you can grow your network, as your alumni friends will have their own contacts with people who might work in your chosen industry, even if the friend doesn’t.

As mentioned above, don’t forget to be in touch with your school’s career department, even if you’ve graduated a long time ago. They are generally happy to help previous students and might have tips or contacts you can use in your job search.

Best practices for connecting with your alumni

You should become active in engaging your alumni, both offline and online. You want to attend different alumni events and focus on spreading the word about your own alumni at the events, seminars and business fairs you attend.

On social media, consider using the appropriate hashtags and when discussing alumni or your industry-related topics, include your university’s alumni username to the Tweets and posts.

Focus your efforts on the people in your alumni who have contacts with companies or the industries you want to get hired in. You can check social media profiles or post questions on alumni forums and platforms.

Ask information about the company or the job to get a better understanding of what’s required. This can also show the person you are passionate and serious about the role, making it easier for them to vouch for you later on.

Learn how to leverage your alumni network by watching this video.

 

#2 Check with your network

When it comes to getting hired, referrals have been shown to be the most effective. Therefore, you want to create a strong network of people who are working in the industry or who are connected with the right people.

You’ve hopefully already built a small network of people, either through your alumni, contacts from previous roles and other professional acquaintances. Examine this network and the connections these people have and identify the most influential people.

Use these connections to discuss your career development goals and the job search you’re currently conducting.

Best practices for checking with your network

Focus your efforts on creating long-term relationships with your network. Offer help to people when they need it, instead of simply seeking out contacts when you need something. You can even engage with your network by simply sending them articles and other such resources that they would find interesting.

Stay in touch on social media and connect with your network by commenting on their posts and updates. You want to build a relationship where they see you as trustworthy person and an expert in your field.

Don’t be afraid to ask for advice or information, but don’t ask for a favour or direct introduction to a hiring manager in a specific company. Instead of sending a message saying, “I see you work in company X, would you mind passing on my details to the HR?” ask something like, “I see you work in company X, I’m really interested in their X role. Could you tell something about the business culture there? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the company in your opinion?

You should also stop relying on simply nurturing the relationships online. Organize face-to-face meetings with the contacts whenever you can, as this can help build more trust. If they are attending events near you, ask if they want to meet up for a quick coffee and so on.

This is how you build a career network effectively.

 

#3 Use job boards

Whilst job boards might not beat using referrals to gain a position, they are still a powerful tool to use, both online and offline.

The key to using job boards is about finding the job boards best suited for the jobs you are looking for.

Analyze the different options available and pick the ones that are either focused on your industry or have the best selection of companies you are interested in.

If you can go niche with job boards, then you should.

Best practices for using job boards

You’ll have more success using job boards, if you don’t simply upload your resume and walk away. It’s important to regularly update the resume to ensure it stays at the top of the list.

Take advantage of the search tools on the online job listing sites. These help you customize the kind of jobs you are looking for, especially in terms of the location. Again, narrowing down your search options will guarantee recruiters understand what you are looking and can, therefore, match you with the jobs they have.

Your resume should also be filled with keywords and you can add keywords to your online profile. Use specific and clearly defined keywords, instead of generic ones. For example, instead of saying, “jobs in tech”, opt for “IT support manager” or another similar narrow job description.

Finally, don’t apply to jobs on job boards without researching the company. Even if the role seems exciting, you want to know what the company’s values are and what kind of business culture it has.

#4 Contact headhunters

As well as using job boards, you could also contact headhunters. This is especially beneficial for middle- and senior-level professionals. Headhunters have the positions for these roles and they focus on executive jobs.

Best practices for contacting headhunters

Just like with job boards, you need to identify the headhunters who are specialized in the industry you are interested in or who operate with companies you’d like to work for. Make contact with the headhunter and explain the positions you are interested in and the reasons you’re suitable for those roles.

When contacting headhunters over specific roles, ask questions about the company and the role. This shows interest and professionalism.

Don’t stop contact with the headhunter if you are rejected or indeed, if you get the role. Remember headhunters are another tools to use for career progression, and you might require their services later in your career.

This guide explains in depth how to best utilize a headhunter for career progression.

 

#5 Attend career recruitment events

You should also use career recruitment events as a tool in your job search. This can be a powerful way to find out about exciting roles, but it’s also beneficial in terms of networking.

Remember to take advantage of other events that aren’t necessarily the traditional career fairs, but which still provide networking opportunities. These include events such as charity events in your chosen industry, business seminars in the field and company open days.

Best practices for attending career events

Before attending an event, conduct research into the event in terms of participants and the discussions. Identify the companies and their representatives, as well as other key professionals, you want to make contact with and do a bit of research on them.

At the event, try finding these individuals and strike up a conversation with them. Don’t be pushy or mention how you want them to hire you or introduce you to someone, but talk about your interests and casually mention you’re searching for jobs in the industry.

Organize a follow-up after the event if you can. For this purpose, remember to give and collect business cards and be active in terms of utilizing them. Drop a quick email to the person or connect with them on social media to continue the discussion.

#6 Build a credible online reputation

In 2010, Microsoft conducted a study, which found that 80% of employers search for applicants online before inviting them to an interview. By today’s use of the Internet in terms of jobs, the number is likely much closer to 100%.

This means your online reputation can either damage, or benefit your chances of finding a job. The key is to create a credible online reputation.

For professional purposes, platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook are the best. Ensure they use keywords relating to the jobs you want, mention the key qualifications and skills required in these jobs and have references or recommendations from people within the industry.

Best practices for creating a credible online reputation

Keep highly personal stuff behind locked profiles to guarantee potential employers don’t witness your drunken posts or see you doing silly things on a holiday. While we’re all simply humans, it doesn’t give a professional image.

If there are damaging posts or pictures online, try to remove these. If they can’t be removed, try ensuring they aren’t immediately associated with your professional career. For example, consider using maiden name, different initials or usernames to ensure initial search doesn’t bring them up. It’s also a good idea to have an explanation at hand, in case the employer brings them up during a job interview.

Nonetheless, if you want to keep your so-called private social media profiles public, consider using a simple username, which doesn’t connect your profile to your professional profiles.

Use social media for highlighting your expertise as well. This means engaging in industry discussions, providing helpful tips to people asking about the sector and generally speaking out. This can help you create a professional and knowledgeable online persona. If you can, blogging is another good way of attracting potential employers.

 

USEFUL TIPS TO KEEP IN MIND FOR YOUR JOB SEARCH

Finally, a few practices and behaviors can boost your job search. When you’re starting your hunt for the next job position, keep these four tips in mind.

Perfect your elevator pitch

Whilst you might think the famous elevator pitch is not related to job search, the truth is different. An elevator pitch can help, as you are essentially selling your personal brand to a potential employer and you often don’t have more than a few seconds to gain their interest.

Create your selling pitch by basing it on your personality, your skills and your achievements. Keep the sales talk short and sweet, with an emphasis on the start.

Boost your personal brand further by focusing your efforts on social media activity and networking. With the ideas and practices mentioned in the previous section, you can become a person who’s known for specific talents and characteristics.

Create a target list of the employers

As well as defining the kind of jobs and roles you want, you should also have a list of your ideal employers.

Pick your ideal employers based on the values and aspirations you share. This helps you focus your networking efforts and it can help find a job you actually want and enjoy doing, as an enjoyable career isn’t just built around the role, but also the corporate culture around you.

When it comes to applications and networking, keep the ideal companies at the forefront. Nonetheless, don’t exclude companies that aren’t on your list outright. There might be companies out there you didn’t think about or haven’t yet heard of.

If an opportunity comes along with a company, conduct research and make your decision based on the findings.

Don’t give up

Finding the perfect job won’t be easy and it won’t always be fun. There are certainly going to be times when browsing job boards becomes frustrating and the rejections start hurting.

Don’t give up. You need to stay positive, keep upbeat and trust in your abilities. The opportunities will come and the work you put into networking will bear fruit.

If you are currently between jobs, take it as a transition period not unemployment. Don’t be afraid to tell people in your network you’re in transition. You won’t find a job hiding in a closet feeling sorry for yourself.

Consider joining a job search group

Finally, make the burden of job search a bit more fun by joining a job search group. You can organize a support group with people in your network who are doing the same or find groups online.

Your group can be online or offline based. The key is to ensure you motivate and challenge each other.

Discuss your progress regularly and create milestones, which you all want to achieve. These can be small such as sending an X amount of emails to contacts and include the ultimate goal of being hired. Use the group for accountability and advice. Who knows, the group might even turn out to be a handy networking tool!

CONCLUDING REMARKS

The above should hopefully have provided you with the tools needed for conducting job search and outlined the practices that can boost your chances of finding your next job. Finding a job is not easy, but there are plenty of tools available to make it a bit smoother.

Focus on understanding what you want from your career and targeting the jobs and companies that help you find the ideal role. Use networking as a path to gaining more knowledge and getting your foot firmly on the career ladder. Approach your job search positively and always keep your eyes open!

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