Desperate for a new job? Experts suggest it takes roughly one month per $10,000 of income to find a new job. But if you’re currently jobless or just plain miserable in your current situation, you might want to accelerate the process.
Luckily, there are ways to fast track your job search process, provided you prepare yourself to launch your search with all your ducks in row. That means assembling the strongest application possible, as quickly as possible.
Here are 10 steps to getting a new job and get where you want to be.
1. Compile Your References
Start by reviewing what resources are available to you—in particular, collecting reference letters from previous employers, showing how valuable you proved yourself to be. That sort of thing can be incredibly useful once you make it to the interview stage.
2. Personalize Your Resume
Now is not the time to send out your standard, generic resume. Target your resume specifically to the job you want. Make sure to include your biggest accomplishments, and show them in quantifiable terms. How much money did you raise in that campaign? How many employees did you supervise? And you can be sure to skip the outdated “Objective” statement at the top. Replace that with a succinct and surgically worded summary.
3. Spread the Word
Don’t hesitate to tell people you’re looking. Now is the time to expand your network and call upon your contacts if there is anything concrete they could do for you in the company or industry you’re applying for. Remember that most open positions are never shared online—and certainly won’t make it to the big job search engines. So get yourself in the game.
4. Optimize Your Timing
If you can afford to wait for the peak hiring times of the year, that might put you in a better position. The biggest months for new hires are January, February, October, and late September. Try to make your contact at the start of either of these two cycles, and spend the off times streamlining your profiles and getting ready to charge in at the right moment.
5. Build your Brand
Double and triple check any information about you that is available in public. Google yourself. Then take a serious look at your LinkedIn and other social media profiles. Make sure you’re presenting the best and most polished version of yourself—and also the most coherent narrative across the multiple platforms. Remember, in the job search, you are a salesperson selling yourself as the product. Put yourself in the best possible light for best results.
6. Keep Looking
Even if your dream application is in, don’t stop applying. Worst case scenario, you’ll end up juggling offers, which is never a bad position to be in. This doesn’t mean you should apply to every job you come across that might fit your qualifications; make a more targeted search of companies you’d like to work for and jobs that you could really do well.
7. Dress Like a Manager
If you’re lucky enough to get an interview, remember that first impressions do matter—a lot. Put some time and research into figuring out how people tend to dress when they’re successful in your field. Then aim to replicate that look. When in doubt, clean, classy, and professional can’t go wrong.
8. Bone Up on Your Interview Skills
This is crucially important. Think of the interview as the exam at the end of a long semester. You’ve already made it this far; you just need to keep the right information in your head to ace the test. Do your homework. Prepare to answer questions that are most likely to come up. And prepare a few good ones of your own—you will definitely be asked whether you have questions.
9. Be Yourself
So often people forget to be themselves in an interview, to their detriment. Prepare, but not to the point of coming off as rehearsed or fake. Go in there and be as authentic as possible. Use storytelling to convince them of your candidacy. The more you showcase of yourself, the better idea a recruiter or hiring manager will have of your capabilities in the context of the job.
10. Be Gracious
So many people forget or ignore this important step. After your interview, be sure to send a handwritten thank you note—immediately. This reiterates your interest, displays your decorum, and is a nice way to get your name back in the mind of your interviewer. If you have to do it by email, that’s always better than nothing.
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