Guide to Performing an Effective Job Search

Searching for a job can be a stressful activity. How can you be sure you are doing enough to land the job of your dreams? Follow these tips and you are sure to perform an effective job search.

You should start by taking a look inward and ask yourself tough questions about what you are looking for in a new position and what your priorities are. Do you want fulfilling, meaningful work and are less worried about income, perks, and prestige? Are you willing to start at the bottom of a field that is new to you, or do you want to stay in the field you are experienced in and apply for a higher-level position? Do you have a stable position now and thus have time to really look around and be picky, or have you been laid off and are scrambling to find something, anything, quickly? Only once you answer these types of questions can you truly begin your job search.

Once you have established what you are looking for, you can begin to do research on fields, industries, and specific companies. Use websites such as Glassdoor to read reviews about companies from their current and former employees. LinkedIn is a valuable resource not only to research industries and companies but also to search for jobs once you are ready to start looking. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is updated and is an honest reflection of your knowledge, skills, and experience. Upload a professional photo to your profile, as studies show that profiles with photos are clicked on more consistently when they come up in recruiter searches than those without photos. You can join groups on LinkedIn; the groups are mostly comprised of people in a particular industry or members of professional associations. Joining and following these groups will give you valuable information about fields you may be interested in.

Once you have zeroed in on a field (or if you already have one) you can use LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and other job websites such as Indeed to search for jobs. You can also search the websites of your local and regional newspapers, or even scan the classifieds of the print versions-sometimes people just look online and you never know what you might find in the old-fashioned classifieds.

If there is a company that you are interested in working at, don’t wait to see a job posting for an open position there. Conduct online research to find an email address for the Human Resources department. Or look on a LinkedIn to find people who already work at the company (either in HR or in a department you are interested in) and reach out to them. It may at first sound like pushy or aggressive move but, if done cordially and professionally, will actually reflect very well on you. Companies like to be liked; they want to find people who are interested in working for them and generally will appreciate when you reach out to them to express that interest. HR departments in particular are happy when you can ease some of the financial burden and leg work required in recruitment. Be sure to be specific in your communication with the company; tell them what specifically interests you about their company and how you see yourself as being able to contribute to their continued success. If you don’t receive a response from the company, you could perhaps follow up in a few weeks’ time. However, it is probably better to instead just directly apply to open positions at that point. You want to seem interested, but you don’t want to become an annoyance. Keep following them on LinkedIn and Twitter, and respond favorably to their social media posts. That will keep you in their sights without being obnoxious.

Perhaps the most important job search tip is also the simplest. Once you find a job to apply to, follow the stated application directions! So many otherwise qualified candidates ruin their chances of even getting an interview by not following the directions. If they ask that you upload your resume, don’t email it! If they tell you to put the position number in the subject of an email, please do so. Companies specify these details for a reason; ignoring them will make you stand out for all the wrong reasons.