I’ve been job searching for three months now, and needless to say, it sucks. Whenever I search for jobs, write cover letters, and study for interviews, I always think about how there are a million other things I’d rather be doing with my time. However, I’ve realized that job searching is a necessary life skill that everyone should have and be good at, because sooner or later, that life skill is going to come in handy. And for me, that time is now.
Since this is the first time I’ve ever been unemployed and actively job searching, I’ve been learning A TON of tips and tricks to help me improve my job searching skills and hopefully land me a job soon! Today I’m going to share some great advice I’ve adopted as my own. Some of it might seem like no-brainers, but for me, a lot of this advice has been eye-opening and helped me to get more and more interviews. So here’s what I have to share; hopefully it will help you, too, if you ever need it!
Finding Jobs to Apply For
- Tell friends and family you’re looking for work because they are likely to help you with your job search. Since I’ve been job searching, I’ve had friends and family email me job postings, job searching advice, and offer to let me use them as a reference. Even Chris’ friends send me job postings! The more people who know you’re looking for work, the more help you’re going to get.
- Attend networking events. This is another great way to get help finding work and expand your network. Lately, when I attend networking events and tell the people I meet I’m unemployed, they’ll give me recommendations for non-profits I should look into or email me job postings that they know I’ll be interested in. And if you’re lucky, you might even end up chatting with someone in your field who is hiring.
- Go into businesses to apply instead of only applying online. I use this trick for when I apply for restaurant jobs. At my last restaurant job, my manager once got 200 resumes for ONE open server position. Talk about competition! I imagine the restaurant industry is still just as competitive now that I’m looking for work. So instead of emailing my resume to restaurants, I bring it into the restaurant myself. This way, I can deliver it directly to the hands of the manager instead of risking the fact that he might not find it buried under 199 other resumes.
- Don’t apply for anything and everything. Unless you’re truly desperate for work, don’t do this. It’s the fastest way to get burnt out during your job search. Save your time and energy for the jobs you really want.
- My favorite job searching sites are Indeed and Glassdoor. Indeed is basically a job search engine, and Glassdoor provides salary info and reviews for companies written by their former employees.
- Don’t use an objective; use a profile summary/summary of qualifications instead. A resume objective isn’t helpful because it states what YOU want to get out of the job rather than what you can offer the employer. Profile summaries do just the opposite: it summarizes all of your qualifications in just a few sentences to let the employer know right away what they will get out of hiring you. Objectives are outdated; it’s all about the profile summary nowadays.
- List your accomplishments on your resume. This shows employers that you not only did the job duties that were expected of you, but also went above and beyond at your past positions to make a positive impact.
- Include volunteer work in the “relevant experience” section if it relates to the position. Applying for a job as an event coordinator and you have volunteer experience as an event committee chair? Include that info!
- List your education on the bottom of your resume. These days, most employers are all about how much relevant work experience you have, so that’s the first thing they look for when scanning your resume. Do them a favor and put your work experience towards the top.
- If you have contracted work on your resume that lasted less than a year, specify that it was contracted work. This lets the employer know you didn’t peace out from a job after only a few months. I did this for my recent 6 month contracted position by putting the name of the temp agency in parentheses after the name of the organization.
- Avoid big blocks of text in your resume. Instead, use bullet points to break up information and make it easier to read/skim.
- Save your resume and cover letter as a PDF file and make sure the file name is specific. Saving as a PDF makes your documents look complete. Choosing a specific file name helps your application to stand out among tons of other applications that are saved as “RESUME.docx”.
In Part 2, I’ll share some tips on the interview process and other miscellaneous advice.
Do you have any good job searching/resume tips and tricks to share?