Uggghhh – the online job search! I hear you. It can be incredibly frustrating sifting through thousands of job descriptions as you get pulled down the internet worm hole. You may have started as an Account Manager this morning but somehow now you’re super qualified for that international wine-tasting position, yes? (I found myself applying to be the karaoke host on Royal Caribbean only 30 minutes after starting my search for a new HR position once.)
But hey, apply away!
My point is, online job searching can so easily become job post READING instead of actually applying. After hours of clicking around, even though you may have found a few potentials we wind up so click-happy we either skip the actual “apply” part or just click “apply with LinkedIn” because it’s faster and we can go back to clicking around.
Are you even remembering what you are applying to?? I wasn’t.
What’s the goal? Find a great match: a place you can showcase your strengths with a corporate culture you’re excited about — and that are lucky to have you.
online Job Searching Strategies
STEP 1. GIVE ONE POSITION YOUR ALL
When high school kids apply to college they don’t send their transcripts to 30 different Universities on a whim. Remember? You wanted to make sure you were going to make friends, study your passion and hopefully catch a football game! There was so much effort that went in to the decision that would determine the next 4 years of your life.
Now think- how long will you be at your next job? 2 years? 5? 8 years? Fortunately online job applications aren’t as time-consuming or as tedious as a college application and I’m not aware of anyone making you re-take the SATs… but just because applying to a job is “easier” than applying to college, that’s not an excuse to apply on a whim.
when you find something you’re excited about stop searching.
Research the heck out of that company. Check out their website and reviews on Glassdoor and you’ll already be a step above 50% of the other candidates.
STEP 2. REVISE YOUR RESUME
Most likely you spent a little bit of time before your job search updating your resume with your most recent position information (if not, stop and do that…)
That’s only the beginning. But don’t be discouraged. This next step is going to put you in the top 75% and the recruiter hasn’t even looked at your work experience yet.
Revising your resume is the process of reworking, rewording and recreating your experiences to appropriately match the information listed on the job description. Do not copy/paste lines from the posting into your resume or lie about your experiences. Reference the job posting and use the lines on your resume to communicate your unique experiences relevant to this position.
EXAMPLE: As the Manager of Employee Engagement at a large catalog retail company I wore many hats. I implemented an entirely new onboarding process, created and led an employee recognition program, developed a corporate wellness initiative and oversaw other miscellaneous HR responsibilities like hosting corporate events and the employee store. On my “generic” resume and on LinkedIn I have a list of all my high-level duties. If I were applying to a position, however, I would be sure to communicate specific projects or responsibilities that matched the responsibilities of the new role and would also remove irrelevant information. I might take off my participation in the wellness program and corporate events if I was applying for a position more specific to recruiting and onboarding and use the space to highlight specific accomplishments.
STEP 3: WRITE A KILLER COVER LETTER
Like, a KILLER cover letter. That’s all you’ve got! This is your first interview! You may never hear from them again! This is your chance to grab the recruiter or hiring manager on the other end. Think about their day. They’re going through several resumes, just hoping to find someone to interview. They’re probably either upset a great employee left, or worried because a poor employee was let go and they don’t want to make a mistake hiring another one.
Wow them. Be a real person. Tell them why you’re interested (all that company research you did earlier) and squash any hesitation the recruiter/hiring manager may have on you.
OKAY TO INCLUDE IN YOUR COVER LETTER: A gap in experience: Example: “I was a full-time mom the year in my resume gap”, “My dad got sick and I took time to be with family”, “I took a personal sabbatical and traveled the world”. It’s okay to be open and honest. Even if it feels weird writing about it in a cover letter it’s way better than a recruiter guessing game and potentially not calling because of their confusion. If you make it to the interview it’s going to come up in conversation anyways. Recruiters and hiring managers are real people and will be happy that you are too.
be yourself, be honest and be confident that you are the best for the job.
Send your cover letter off to a trustworthy friend for proofreading and an unbiased eye. Maybe you even have a friend in HR you could run it by!
step 4: repeat as needed
Great job! You have successfully applied to one job! No need to let that statistic intimidate you. That application has a 90% higher chance of leading to an opportunity over clicking “apply with LinkedIn” on 30 jobs/day. If you’re setting goals, try for applying to one job every day you are looking (maybe you’re currently employed and are just searching for a new opportunity on weekends, for example). It will most likely take you between 1 hour – 4 hours to apply in this way for a job, but this time investment is much different that clicking around. (It usually takes me about 8-10 hours. I completely tailor my entire resume and cover letter, including graphics consistent with the company’s branding. I even made a video cover letter once and got the job, of course).
On your second day of job searching, continue your search, be specific for what you are looking for and don’t be afraid to leave large job searching sites like Indeed and check out career pages on company sites in the industry you’re interested in. Many sites even have a way to send over your information without the availability of an open position- you never know!
Help your future self
Keep a list of companies and positions that catch your eye.. and if you save it somewhere on your computer… or even better yet in google drive let’s say? It will still be there 4 years from now when you’re considering new opportunities. (Don’t you love it when you are proud of your past-self for being so responsible!?)
Despite what may initially feel like more of a time-consuming process, you will truly be encouraged with the company response rate and how successful you job hunt will be!
Best of luck!