Job Search Tips: Top 7 For 2018
(Oh, we know they will, but the landscape will look pretty different.)
In the meantime, a persona has to eat, and the only way to do that is to go out there and land a paying gig while one is still available. To help you do that, we have put together our list of the top 7 job search tips for 2018. Here is what it will take to crush it.
Job Search Tips No. 1: Do not get wrapped up in job titles.
Job titles like “Director of Talent Acquisition” or “Human Resource Manager” can be similar, if not identical, roles. It all depends on how the organization naming these people is structured. When you start looking for jobs, do not confine your search to one area.
You could very well be missing out on key opportunities simply because the position does not “sound” like you (i.e., what you went to school for).
Employers/companies are too busy to keep up with jargon. All they know are their needs, and they will express those needs in varying ways.
No. 2: Search industries.
To avoid the confusion of shifting job titles, you may want to incorporate industries into your job search tips for the year ahead.
When you search for industries on websites like LinkedIn and job boards like Glassdoor, you can often piggyback off technological advancement by being introduced to a whole subset of job opportunities you either did not know existed, or did not know existed in that particular capacity.
One tip that has really helped over the years — and this is particularly notable for you LinkedIn people — is to start with companies, then examine who the employees are who work at those organizations.
It is pretty simple. You just find a link on the site (usually near the company name) that reads something like, “X employees who work here are on LinkedIn.”
Check out that link and the employees attached. Read what their job titles are. Then, consider reaching out to one or two of them in addition to doing a flat Follow of the company.
No. 3: Create your own opportunities.
Do not wait for a job listing. While this may not be the way that companies are supposed to do it in a perfect world, most organizations fill their jobs with people internally or people connected to people internally.
Unless you are trying to work for a public institution or the job itself has a highly specialized skill set, it is probably already “filled” by the time the listing even goes live. If it is not filled, the company probably has a good enough idea of what they are going to do for the odds to not be in a cold applicant’s favor.
Rather than boiling over how unfair it all is, consider creating your own opportunities. That may mean attending job fairs, sending warm prospecting emails to department heads, or volunteering.
No. 4: Gravitate toward job markets.
If you are still in college and have not picked a major, do so with job markets in mind. Pursue a course of study that you know will be around for years to come. (Sorry, record-keepers.)
Going beyond college, you will want to incorporate job markets into your daily news diet. Make friends with BLS.gov, the website of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. BLS is more than just stats; it also covers industries with forecasts that show whether the sector is growing and, if so, how quickly.
You should also keep up with buzz terms and keywords of the day, and then use those to search job sites like Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com, and Indeed.com. By searching for terms instead of job titles or geographical locations, you can get a real sense of which sectors are hiring, where they are hiring, and what qualifications you will need to get on a job creator’s radar.
No. 5: Consider pursuing freelance opportunities.
The so-called “gig economy” may seem scary, but it has taken care of yours truly for more than ten years now. I am at a point in my life where I could not go back to a “regular” job if I wanted to because no single company would hire me for the amount that I can cobble together on my own.
That said, you do not have to make freelancing a permanent part of your professional life. You can use it as an in-road to established companies, making connections, proving yourself, and getting to the point where you are the person already hired by the company before they do their obligatory job posting.
If you are unsure of where to start with freelancing, consider you. What are some talents that you have and that you can demonstrate as being proficient? Writing, virtual assistance, design, consultant work on some main or sideline activity a business is engaged in — all of these are good options.
Once you have made your list, start seeking out personnel from companies in your area. It is easier to start out geographically because companies like to get involved in their communities and establish relationships based on trust.
All it takes is one good connection and one freelance opportunity. From there, you can start gathering more work from the company (once you prove yourself) and have the confidence to ask for referrals.
Referrals are how freelance businesses can form. But you may not want to do that. If not, make sure that your freelance client of choice understands that working for the company is your ultimate end-game and that you just want to add value until the right opportunity opens up. They will appreciate that, and they will think of you the next time a relevant opening comes along.
No. 6: Create value before expectations.
Volunteering to help an organization in some capacity is a great way to create value before expectations. And here’s the thing: what you help them with does not even have to be related to their daily operations.
You could end up volunteering to help organize a charitable function that the company is planning.
Whether you choose to work for free for the company, or you take a nominal freelancer’s fee, showing a willingness, being proactive, and doing a good job with your opportunity will allow you to build the perception that you are creating value without expecting anything in return.
Even if you do expect something in return, and even if they know you would eventually want something in return (a job), it won’t matter. Your willingness to support the organization and your proven ability to do a good job doing it, will make you an attractive future candidate.
And that will happen all because you did not get greedy and aim for the quick payday first.
No. 7: Interview preparation
The job interview will not necessarily land you a job, but it will definitely disqualify you if you handle it poorly. Sadly, many do. Even people with terrific connections. Case in point, one friend had multiple opportunities at a high-profile company where his dad worked as a director.
However, this company did not get to where it is today through nepotism. All the dad could do was get his son an opportunity, which he did on five different occasions.
Each time, however, ended in a “Sorry, while impressed with your qualifications, we’re going another direction” form letter. The reason: he was a poor interviewer. He did not convey that he was an assertive person. He practiced horrible body language during the interview. His resume offered no indication he was interested in growth or advancement.
He blew it.
If he had tried out some of these sub-tips, he might not have.
What to do before the interview:
Research the department and, if possible, the person/people who will be interviewing you. Use LinkedIn, use Facebook. Find out what they’re in to, not to suck up, but to have some capital you can use to keep the conversation going.
Furthermore, research the position and the company. What challenges are they facing now and in the future? What have they already overcome? What will the expect of the person in this role? What is the culture like? How often does advancement occur? What opportunities are there to seize the day?
Lastly, make a list of the questions specific to the job and company that you would like to ask. Be sincere and only ask questions that house your genuine curiosity. Then, on the day of the job interview, make sure that you dress professionally, get comfortable with the location/time, and leave early enough to deal with unexpected traffic/delays.
What to do during the interview:
Project confidence in your voice. Avoid vocalized pauses (um, uh, you know).
Provide a firm handshake that matches the interviewer(s). If you’re a strong man or woman, don’t break anyone’s hand.
Make clear eye contact to the people you are speaking to as the interview progresses.
Avoid chance-killing statements like, “Well, I’m not a very aggressive person,” or “I just want to work somewhere where I can make enough money to provide for my family.” Not the type of ambition a company is looking for as it faces an uncertain future.
What to do after the interview:
If the job interviewer gives you a clear timeline for when they will be in touch with a decision, respect that. Don’t annoy them with follow-up phone calls and emails every day. If they leave it a little more open, then you have my permission (for what that’s worth) to shoot a follow-up email their way.
You should probably do this anyway after a couple of days just to say, “I really enjoyed speaking with you and learning more about the company and the position. I hope we can talk again soon, and I wish you all the best in your decision-making.”
After you’ve done that, you’ve done pretty much all that you can do. Don’t think about it again until they contact you with an offer or a “Sorry, but no.” Either way, it’s out of your control, so you might as well focus your efforts on the next job opening.
As you set out on your 2018 job search, feel free to incorporate any and all of these tips into your proverbial tool bag. While doing so will not guarantee you a job, it will certainly leave a good impression, and it will help you in future efforts. So there you have it, readers? What are some job search challenges that you have had to face that you would like help with? Sound off in the comments section below.
[Featured Image by Flickr Creative Commons]