We know the job market is a bit tight right now—especially in the tech industry—but we also know that clients are still landing interviews and receiving job offers. So, how can you become one of those people who are securing offers?
Most importantly, focus on what you control (how you present yourself) rather than what you cannot control (companies’ hiring plans). Here are five tips for improving the effectiveness of your job search efforts.
Tip #1: Do no rely exclusively on applying to online job postings.
Many jobs are never posted online, and for the ones that are, the hiring managers likely already have a list of top candidates in mind before the opening is even listed. So you should spend more than 50% of your job search time networking.
Action Item #1
Create a list of 10–20 target companies (regardless of whether they currently have a posted opening), and then search your connections to find people who work at these firms. They can help you understand these businesses, their hiring needs, and any job requirements. Use your first-degree network on LinkedIn to request introductions to people in their network who are employed at your companies of interest.
Tip #2: Leverage your network to gather information and build advocates.
CNBC has reported that 70% of open positions are never publicly advertised, and up to 80% of openings are filled through job seekers’ professional and personal networks.
Action Item #2
Be specific in your requests for networking conversations, but do not ask anyone outright for a job. Customize each conversation to your contact. Learn about their organization and its needs, and gather information on the best way to navigate the application process.
Tip #3: Customize your application.
Jobscan reported that almost 100% of Fortune 500 companies use applicant tracking systems, but a majority of resumes submitted to these systems are rejected. Using the right keywords and simple formatting is a must.
Action Item #3:
Analyze your target job description and identify specific skills and/or areas of knowledge in the responsibilities section that are especially important for the role. Use information gathered from your networking conversations to highlight your relevant qualifications on your resume and in your cover letter.
Tip #4: Submit high-quality applications and follow up on them.
Do not make the mistake that many candidates do in submitting numerous job applications each week but never taking any initiative to further demonstrate or affirm their level of interest.
Action Item #4
If you do not hear back on a job application within two weeks, reach out to the hiring manager, the recruiter, or your internal connection. Confirm that the company received your application, reiterate your interest in the role, and ask about the firm’s timeline for hiring. If you are not selected for the position, see if you can gather any insights on how to enhance your application for future postings.
Tip #5: Develop and leverage industry-specific knowledge.
Just being knowledgeable about an industry is no longer enough; employers expect candidates to have a passion for the business and ideas about how to move it forward. With so many qualified job seekers looking for their next opportunity, the onus is on you to clearly connect the dots for the hiring manager and demonstrate why you are the best candidate to meet the firm’s needs.
Action Item #5
Read (a lot!) about your target companies and industry. Sign up for e-newsletters from trade associations and for relevant industry publications. Follow your desired companies and key influencers on LinkedIn.
We believe these actions—in addition to setting weekly networking goals, tracking every conversation, and revisiting your progress on a monthly basis to identify obstacles and ways to overcome them—will greatly increase your chances of success.