In my experience, when I google jobs, lots of job boards come up. There are many options and jobs hunting can get overwhelming fast with all those results. How do you narrow things down and find the jobs that you are looking to apply for? How do you even begin looking for a job? Are job boards the best option?
In this series of articles, we are going to look at jobs, applying for them, job boards, and how to begin.
Let’s start with the beginning of looking for a job.
You need to know what you are looking for. Give yourself a broad overview, but also narrow enough to know what to look for. Don’t search “history jobs”, but search “jobs as a history teacher”. You want to be specific, but not too specific.
What I do when I am first looking for a job is just google. Let’s use project management as an example. I google project management jobs in [insert where you live or want to work] and investigate the kinds of jobs that come up. It gives me a broad overview of the jobs that are out there. If I happen to see a job that I find interesting, I will see who it is hiring and write it down. Usually in this first step, I don’t find a job, but get an overview.
Next thing that I will do, is look into what the project management jobs require. Do they require a certificate? Do they require a degree? What experience do I have that fits the descriptions I am seeing? This helps me to see what I might need to do to invest in myself to be qualified for a job.
From there, I will write down the themes that I am seeing for all the jobs that come up and do some investigation into things that I might not know about. If a job requires certain certification, I will look that up to see what all is involved in becoming certified. This helps me to see if I want to go for a certification or not.
Once I have compiled all that information, I will start looking at specific jobs and seeing which ones I have the skills to apply for and which ones require more experience. Many times, I don’t have the experience necessary, so it helps me narrow down the jobs.
I find several jobs that I am interested in and start looking at what all is required to apply for them. Do I have the experience necessary or the education necessary to do the job that I am applying for?
In some cases, I look into the company and see if I agree with what they stand for and if there is anything that stands out about them. Find out why people like working for them, or what they struggle with. Researching the company is important before applying.
Once I have chosen the jobs that I plan to apply for and have decided on the companies that I am interested in working for, I will go to the company websites and apply for the jobs directly there. I begin to structure my resume with the relevant information that they are looking for. If the job is looking for an “energetic, positive” employee, then I will be sure to include those words on my resume and in my cover letter. This helps me stand out if the company is using a resume sorter.
If the company that I am applying for is local, I will ask around and see if I know anyone who works there. It is helpful to have people vouch for you if you’re applying for a job. Networking and knowing people gives you a better chance at a job than just applying.
Once you have your resume, cover letter, and other requirements in order, send it in and see what happens. Give them two or three days after you send it in before you do anything else. If it is on a Friday, wait till Wednesday. Midweek is usually the best time to send in a job application because Monday is busy with flooded weekend emails and lots of times by Friday, the emails are turned off early and you’re lost in with the weekend emails. Midweek ensures that you are noticed before others.
After a few days if you haven’t heard back, send a follow-up email making your email go back to the top of your list. If you still don’t hear back, check their website and see if they allow you to phone call. Some companies do and some of them say, “no phone calls”. Be respectful of their policies.
If you hear back that you haven’t been selected for an interview, move on. Don’t waste your time trying to get an interview. Most employers know what they are looking for, and if you don’t qualify or they aren’t interested, it is a waste to keep pushing. It is best to apply to several jobs at once and build up your practice on cover letters, resumes, and interviews. Even if you don’t get the jobs, it is still good practice for when you do land the official job.
All in all, have fun! Be willing to put yourself out there and even if you don’t get a job or an interview; you are building a networking base. Good luck out there finding a job!