It’s no secret that the economy is recovering slowly from the rough patch it hit in 2008, and many workers still find themselves searching for the perfect job after having been downsized or laid off during the recession. Others have become disenchanted with their employers and feel that the time is finally right to begin searching for a new position. Still others are fresh out of college and looking for their first full-time job in the field they’ve been trained for.
Whatever the reason, many people are on the hunt for a new job, but find the task understandably overwhelming. Long gone are the days when sending in an application and waiting to be called for an interview were enough secure a position with the company of your choice. Also, with more people graduating from college every year, competition for top jobs is fierce.
Navigating today’s job market is tricky, so what’s a job seeker to do? Read over the list of dos and don’ts below before launching your search:
Do: Tell everyone you’re looking for work
With all the online job postings and forums out there, it’s hard to believe that so many positions go unadvertised, but it’s true. That’s why it’s important to tell everyone you know that you’re looking for work in a particular field. Go beyond close friends and family – tell your acquaintances and new members of your social circle, too. You never know if a friend of a friend is looking to hire someone with just your qualifications, so be sure to broadcast your search to the world.
Do: Keep your resume and cover letter razor sharp
The easiest way for a potential employer to eliminate you from the applicant pool is to have spelling or grammar errors on your resume or cover letter, so be careful to go over both documents with a fine-tooth comb. Also, be sure to use dynamic wording – think lots of action verbs – to make the tone of your resume and cover letter sophisticated yet meaningful. Finally, keep extra copies of both forms on you at all times – you never know when you might need them!
Don’t: Just submit a resume
While your resume and cover letter are important, simply submitting them to a potential employer isn’t nearly enough to get you noticed in a competitive job market. Before turning over your credentials, do some online research to figure out who in the organization you’re applying to is most likely to be reading them and shoot her an email letting her know that you’re excited applying to work for her company. If possible, try to make in-person contact with a would-be employer as well. All of these steps indicate that you’re serious about working for the corporation and are willing go above and beyond expectations, a quality that all employers look for.
Do: Lean on social media
When it comes to job-hunting, your presence on social media should be considered just as important as the quality of your resume. In addition to professional networking sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook are important tools in your search for the perfect job. Remind your followers of your job hunt several times a day, and also consider tweeting and/or posting your qualifications. Another idea is to sign up for a service such as TweetMyJobs to get personalized job postings emailed, texted, or tweeted to you daily. The best case scenario would be to do all of these things in order to cast the widest net, but without doing at least some, you should expect to job search to drag. If you don’t use social media, you may get left behind.
Don’t: Think of job hunting as a part-time hobby
Most career experts recommend treating your job search as a full-time job, and with good reason. Post recession, it could take several months to find a position, so throwing your best effort into the hunt will lead to a positive resolution much faster. Be strategic and be prepared to spend several hours a day on job searching. It’s hard work, but you’ll employed self will thank you later.
Don’t: Forget about the basics
While lots of things about finding a job have changed, the basics – like being polite and friendly, maintaining a polished appearance, and conveying an articulate and professional persona – have withstood the test of time. No one wants to hire someone who appears slovenly or has a negative attitude, no matter how tech-savvy she is. Don’t get so bogged down in the latest and greatest of job searching that you neglect the importance of keeping up with the tried-and-true methods of scoring a spot at a top company.
Finding a job is full of emotional ups and downs, but with a lot of effort and a little bit of luck, you can land the position of your dreams. Visit tweetmyjobs.com for latest job openings
Angie Picardo is a staff writer for NerdWallet. Her mission is to help consumers stay financially savvy, and save some money with the best savings rates.