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Step-By-Step Guide To Finding The Best Job For You

It all started in summer 2014. Unable to qualify for the college I aimed, I left all plans of doing my masters and my quest for a job began. I signed up with an online job portal and got interview calls from a few companies, but nothing seemed to please me. After weeks of indulging in the online job boards, I still found myself staring at the screen hopelessly.

Having visited everyone from career counselors to professors, I experienced months of endless strain. However, bits of career advice from here and there, collectively helped me find my true passion. Today, here I am writing this blog for all those who are going through the same situation as I was two years back. There’s a saying that “Experience is the best teacher” and my experience taught me more about life choices.

I have jotted down a guide that would help you discover your passion and get the perfect job.

Get your resume right

Gather information for your resume

Work on tightening-up the primary ideas on your resume before you begin with anything else. Make an unfiltered list of every possible career-related achievement you have in your bucket, then segregate the ones that are significant to the job you are applying for. Give a glance to the first few sentences of your resume and make sure they create an unblemished picture of what you seek to achieve. Refrain from including irrelevant job experience and double check for typos!

Market test your resume

Now that you have optimized your resume, show it to someone who has hiring experience. You can reach out to a recruiter friend to take a look at it, an aunt who manages an office and does the hiring or even by hiring a professional resume writer or career coach. I understand that you may be secretly delighted with your resume. However, having a fresh set of eyes look at it instead of sending the employer a poorly drafted document would only do well.

Begin the job hunt

Apply to jobs you qualify for

Beginning the job hunt can be intimidating at first, as you may not know where to start. Luckily, there are a ton of great job sites out there that allow you to filter your search based on different things like industry, salary, experience level and geographic area. Note that, while it is important to get your resume out there, you don’t want to apply for just any and every position you find in your desired industry or city.

Why? If you are sending out your resume and cover letter to multiple companies, you may rush through the process and not take the time to customize it to the company and do the research to stand out among other applicants. Quality trumps quantity in this case and it is better to take your time with each application and ensure it looks and sounds professional and not generic.

Of course, if you find a ton of jobs that you are interested in, you may indeed apply for them all. Again, just take the time to customize them and make sure to keep yourself organized so you don’t mix the different jobs up when you do get calls/emails for interviews.

Don’t just send your resume

According to Richard Bolles, author of the bestselling career advice book “What Color Is Your Parachute?”, the probability of finding a job by sending your resume directly to the company is around 1 in 1000. This is because most organizations receive hundreds of applications and often use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to filter out those who don’t match the keyword criteria.

Therefore, the key to getting your resume seen is by reaching the hiring manager. You can do this by finding out who the hiring manager is and sending to them directly, networking into the company through existing connections or by creating connections through informational interviews and networking with employees on LinkedIn. Employers will feel more confident in candidates they already know about.

Get referrals – but how?

The process of getting referrals begins with creating/updating your LinkedIn profile. It is vital because the people you meet on your job quest usually see your LinkedIn profile. Reach out to professionals and ask them for an informational interview to discuss the opportunities in the industry. Don’t ask them for a job if you are meeting them for an informational discussion. Instead ask them to refer you to the person who does the hiring.

Apply for the job

Write a kick-ass cover letter

Write a ‘kick-ass’ cover letter that gives a clear picture of your objectives and intentions. Also, mention the name of the source or reference you’ve got to know about the job from. A succinct cover that precisely answers ‘who you are’ and ‘why you are here’ can make your profile resonate in the mind of the employer for long.

Keep a record

If you are applying for a ton of different jobs it is important to keep a record of each of them, in order to keep your job hunt process de-cluttered. Keeping a record of your applications will help you to identify the vacancies you have been shortlisted for, without feeling lost at each call.

Inform your references

Once you have been contacted for an interview, inform your references that they may be expecting a call in the near future from your prospective employer. Depending on your relationship with them, this may be a great time to ask them for advice that might help you bag the opportunity.

Prepare for your interview

Know the employer

You can’t really impress employers if you don’t have a clear understanding of the company and its values. Doing your research will help you achieve your career goals sooner. Take the time to research the company by checking out their website, doing a Google search to find relevant media and find out more in-depth information through websites like Glassdoor and O*NET.

Prepare your 3-point selling strategy

Before you go ahead for a meeting, prepare a 3-point selling strategy that focuses on 1) What you’ve done successfully before. 2) Why do you want to be a part of the organization. 3) What are the suggestions you can work on.

Working on this ‘pitching idea’ will help you to focus on what’s most significant and tell your employer what you have to offer.

Support your message with facts

For every skill and achievement in your resume, have evidences that support your mentions. Go through every part of the ‘work experience’ listed in your resume and if necessary, carry the required credentials that back your achievements.

Practice from start to end

Before heading for your interview, meet a friend and ask him to put five interview questions in front of you. If you aren’t able to meet a friend, practice your answers aloud in front of a mirror. As you go through your set of possible interview questions, ask yourself what kind of follow-up questions could be asked and plan the ways in which you can answer the more difficult, behavioral questions. It is also good to practice your body language and handshake in advance if you can.

Seek interview feedback outside the process

Ask someone who has interviewing experience

Once you are done with your interview, plan on meeting someone who has hiring experience and casually asks them to gauge the odds of you getting selected. An outsider cannot tell your exact chances of your success; however, his experience will help you to learn for future interviews. Hiring a career coach to have in your corner throughout the process is a great way to get feedback before and after interviews.

Approach the recruiter

Approaching the recruiter sounds risky and understandably, you may be concerned about coming off as impatient or desperate. While there are chances that you might disturb them or turn them off, there is no harm in asking. Suggest you connect after his or her office hours and ask for feedback.

Send a follow-up email

If you haven’t received an email or call from the organization by the given date, don’t get disheartened. You can send a polite follow-up mail to the organization to thank them for the interview or even to inquire about next steps, without seeming impatient in the eyes of the employer.

Be prepared for rejection

Rejection is something most of us have to deal with at some point in our professional lives. As I mentioned before, getting rejected from a few of the jobs you’ve applied for is common. It is true that job searching is the hardest thing you’ll have to go through all alone. However, once you land the job of your dreams, only the results will matter, not the rejections.

Hiring a career coach to act as a support system and accountability partner can help alleviate the more difficult aspects of job hunting.

Don’t just take any offer

Don’t let your desperateness make you accept anything that comes in your way. Rejection might make things appear a bit tough, but keep yourself calm throughout the process and use all your efforts collectively to find the job you truly deserve.

Stay motivated!

Your job search will even make online dating look easier, but you just keep swimming. Throw every motivational technique you know at your job search and interact with the people who gone through the process in the past (you can bet most people you know understand and sympathize with you). All of it will help you to stay motivated and develop strong skills that will contribute significantly.

Job hunting is not always a pleasant process, but going through the above-given steps can definitely increase the chances of your success. I hope that the given steps contribute considerably in your future job searches. Let us know how your job search is coming along in the comments!

About the Author Anurag Gupta

Anurag Gupta works for, one of the leading placement portals of India. Anurag keeps a keen interest in ongoing placements trends in the country and has delivered many article and blogs exclusively on effective jobs search. For more details, follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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