“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”
– Steve Jobs
Based on data by collected by Gallup from surveys completed by working individuals spread across more than 140 countries, only 13 percent reported to actually enjoy their job. A whopping 63 percent of those surveyed admitted that they are unmotivated at their job while the remaining 24 percent felt that they are truly unhappy and believe that they are unproductive at their current position. These are certainly discouraging numbers to say the least.
Over the years, I have worked in seven jobs in six different industries ranging from non-profit to fashion publication. Having seen this data, I consider myself fortunate that, for one reason or another, I could honestly admit to have enjoyed most of them. In hindsight however, I’ve come to see all of my previous jobs as wonderful opportunities and I am very much grateful for the wealth of skills, network and valuable experiences that came with each job.
Having been through the job search process multitude of times, one of the most valuable skills that I’ve gained from the experience is how to effectively land a job that I actually want instead of settling for a job that I feel less than stellar of having. Interestingly enough, by implementing these strategies, on one of previous job hunts, I was able to land not one, not two, but three great job offers within a period of just one short month.
Whether you are currently in between jobs and actively searching for a new opportunity or merely keeping your eye open for job search tips you can use in the near future, I hope you’ll find these job hunting steps as useful for you as it was for me and help you to land a job that you will not only enjoy but also thrive in.
1. Get REALLY clear about the job you want.
I know, this step sounds pretty darn logical yet you’d be surprised as to how many people don’t actually know the type of job they want let alone what it entails.
Before you start your job search, it’s crucial to take the time to clarify your vision of the ideal job you are looking for – this includes everything from the industry, the company, the position, right down to the details such as the tasks and responsibilities, the type of working environment and colleagues you wish to have at your next professional opportunity. Do your research and get a vivid picture of the kind of job you truly desire. Ask yourself what type of job that resonates best with your passion(s) and would offer you fullfilment. By doing this, you should be able to narrow down a list of 10 – 30 great companies that you can see yourself happily working at.
Once you have a clear vision of your ideal company/job/ position, it will likely to be easier for you to focus and invest your time and effort on applying only to those that fulfill your set requirements as opposed squandering your energy applying to any vacancies that you happen to stumble upon.
2. Maximize LinkedIn
If you don’t already have an active LinkedIn profile, I urge you to sign up and create one now. I found LinkedIn to be such a valuable tool not only for job hunting but also to network as well as to keep in touch with other professionals.
Almost 90% of recruiters use LinkedIn so be sure that your profile is in tip top shape so that when recruiters decide to check it out, they’re able to see just how suitable of a candidate you are for their clients. There is a myriad of resources on the web to help you to create a great LinkedIn profile such as this one shared on Forbes magazine’s website.
Most of the world’s reputable companies and businesses starting from tiny start-ups to huge multinational cooperations are also actively searching for possible candidates directly through LinkedIn. Many of them even regularly post job vacancies so it is definitely worth it to also follow the companies you are interested in for its updates.
3.Tailor Your Résumé
Sending a generic résumé (or CV) to every company and/or opportunities that you are interested in no longer works at this day and age. Companies want to know why you are interested in working for them as well as how you can specifically add value. Hence, tailoring your resume is a vital step that you must take in landing interviews, and ultimately, the ideal job you’re applying for.
Though altering your résumé to better suit each job and/or company you are applying for sounds like a whole lot of work, it can really pay off in the long run so it’s definitely worth investing your time and energy on.
Check out these great steps of tailoring your résumé to show that you’re a perfect candidate for the job.
4. Contact Hiring Manager(s)
If you found that the companies you are interested in are not hiring, do not let it discourage you. Many companies prefer not to advertise their vacant positions – this is especially true when the position(s) you are interested in happens to be higher up the chain (i.e: middle management and up).
Do a bit of research and find the names as well as contact details of the decision makers at that particular company. This can include anyone from the CEO to the head of the department you are interested in applying to. Basically, look for people who can make direct call when it comes to hiring new employees. When you make a point to contact hiring managers, even if there are no vacancies that suit your profile, if they are impressed with you and felt that they simply must have you on their team, they will be able to and likely to create an opening for you.
Some people are hesitant in contacting hiring managers as they fear that hiring managers would be too busy to entertain their interest in being considered as a candidate. From my own experiences, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, I found that the higher one’s rank is within a company, the more they are likely to respond to you. They may contact you back directly or they may forward your e-mail to their subordinates to further review your profile and contact you back (which they will because the order is coming from their boss) should you be a suitable candidate for the company. It’s a win-win situation.
Remember that unless you are applying to an industry that are heavily reliant on robots, a company’s greatest asset is its people. Having previously been a headhunter, I know first-hand that companies are more than willing to fork out a handsome sum for the service of executive search firms all in hopes of landing themselves great candidates. Hence, when you contact a hiring manager, keep in mind that you (an awesome candidate) may just be saving them a whole lot of time, money and effort by cutting out the middle man and contacting them directly!
Don’t hesitate to contact as many hiring managers on your list of companies as you can. As long as you keep your contact professional and courteous, the worst thing that can happen is that you won’t get a response. Should this be the case, don’t take it personally. Move on and contact the hiring managers of the next company on your list.
If you’re not entirely sure as to how you can create a winning e-mail for hiring managers, check out this great article.
5. Be Patient, Consistent and Persistent
There’s a whole lot of variables that can affect how long your job hunt hence some job search will take longer than others. In any case, it’s always helpful to stay patient and optimistic – this means that no matter how you feel, you would need to make consistent effort to show up for your job hunt day in and day out.
When a job search is taking a considerably longer time than we had anticipated, it is likely that fear and insecurity will start to rear their ugly heads. When this happens, remind yourself that you are good enough. Choose to believe that everything is unraveling as it should and all will work out in the end. Most importantly, don’t let yourself down by desperately taking any job that comes your way. If you do this, all the time and effort you’ve already put into the job hunt may just as well be wasted. When you accept a job that you don’t necessarily resonate with, chances are, you will find yourself miserable within a couple of months and soon after, you will be back right to square one (back to looking for yet another job).
If you are not yet convinced that settling for a job that is far below your expectations will cause you nothing but grief, have a read through this great LinkedIn article by Liz Ryan from the Human Workplace, a Human Resource coaching and consulting company.
6. Ace Your Interview
If you successfully stayed the course throughout your job hunt regardless of how long it took, you will inevitably land one or more interview(s). Now that you’ve got your foot in the door, you’re a step closer to your ideal job and it’s time to shine.
Prior to the interview, be sure to do a comprehensive research about the company you will be interviewing with. In addition to the products and/or services they offer, do educate yourself on the company’s mission and vision along with other pertinent information about the company that will allow the interviewer know that you truly want to become a valuable part of the team.
If you happen to know exactly who will be interviewing you, it would also be helpful to find out a little bit about the interviewer. Check out their profile on LinkedIn and find something that intrigue you about his/ her experience that you may just find will tip the scale in your favor during the interview.
I can not stress just how important it is to be prompt aka to show up on time (if not early) as well as to dress presentably for your interview. The first couple of seconds of meeting our interviewer goes a long way in making the right first impression. Be sure to confidently make eye contact and smile but of course, don’t go overboard with both. For more tips on basic yet crucial interview etiquettes that may improve your chances in landing the job, click here.
At the risk of sounding cliché, during an interview, choose to stay true to yourself and be truthful about your expectations which include what you can and willing to bring to the table. Keep in mind that should you be chosen for the job, if you would like be employed with that particular company and stay happy at work for the long haul, it’s important to be forthcoming instead of providing the interviewer with only answers you believe they would like to hear. Being honest may, at times, lead you to not get the offer. However, it would likely be that particular job that was a poor fit for you in the first place.
On the bright side, many companies deeply value honesty and should the combination of your experience, skills, knowledge and character truly resonates with the interviewer and what the company is seeking, you are well on your way to landing yourself an ideal job.
I hope that 6 steps above will prove to be as useful to you as they were to me! Do keep in mind that should your job hunt end up taking a longer time that you had anticipated, don’t despair because it usually does. Most importantly, keep your eye on the ball and keep going. Stay driven and motivated, you’ll inevitably land a great professional opportunity that you’ll be more than excited to wake up for every day. Good luck! 🙂