Apply for Your Job
Not every job you accept will be one you want to stay with until you retire, and that’s OK. Whether you’re looking for your first job or seeking a new employer, you need to start somewhere.
Use Social Media to Find a Job
Social media sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook offer simple ways to put your professional profile on the Web. Consider these ways to make the most of your online profile:
- Keep active. Recruiters look for the number of connections you have. Become a member of an industry group and follow companies to show that you are actively engaged.
- Brand yourself. Recruiters search for particular job titles, so pick the job title that best fits your skills and desired position.
- Use keywords, phrases and hashtags related to your field.
- Remove any questionable posts, comments, pictures or tags. You never know when a potential employer will look at your profile.
- Stay current on the latest social media trends to maximize your chances of making a positive first impression through social media.
Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile
- Include a clear position title, your industry and a high-quality profile picture.
- Write a summary of 40 words or more, including keywords. Highlight the value and services you provide to those outside of your specialty.
- Add skills to get more page views. Put the most relevant skills on top.
- Publish posts to get noticed. Promote your professional image and be sure you feel comfortable discussing in an interview what you post.
- Join LinkedIn groups relevant to your field and become an active participant.
- List volunteer experience relevant to your skill set.
Tips for Applying Online
Often online applications are checked by software systems before they are seen by human eyes to weed out bad matches. To make sure your application makes the cut, follow these tips when you apply online:
- Make sure you’re qualified for the job. No need to waste time if you don’t have the minimum qualifications.
- Create one profile per company, even if you apply again in the future.
- Go error-free. Check everything before you hit submit.
- Integrate keywords from the job posting into your submission.
Preparing Your Cover Letter and Resume
Have a cover letter and resume ready to go before you start your job search, but be sure to customize them for each job that you’re applying for. CBS Moneywatch suggests tweaking these items every time you send a resume:
- Highlight relevant achievements.
- Take out jobs that don’t apply to this one.
- Align your skills to the company’s core needs.
- Change your address (if you’re relocating).
Need help crafting and marketing your resume? CareerOneStop’s Resume Guide is a comprehensive, free online tool that will walk you through the entire process.
Tips for Applying in Person
Although it’s rare to apply in person these days, there may be times when applying in person is your best option – for example, if you are applying to a retail or restaurant job. Career Options offers a glimpse at some things to do when you apply in person.
- Prepare: Bring your tailored resume with you, with a few key talking points, even if you only anticipate having to fill out an application.
- Dress for the part you want: Show that your visit is planned and purposeful.
- Follow up: Get the names and business cards of people you meet at the interview and follow up with a letter or email restating your key qualifications and interest in the job or position.
Protect Your Information in a Job Search
- Be selective about posting your contact information. Don't give out your Social Security number, driver’s license information, banking or financial information or birthdate online.
- Choose respected “middleman” sites. Posting a confidential resume on job-hunting sites (such as Monster or Indeed) will not disclose your personal information and allows recruiters to contact you indirectly.
- For additional privacy, use sites that only allow employers — not other job seekers — to see your resume.
Never use an agent who charges you a finder’s fee. Legitimate employers and recruiters do not employ these tactics. Additionally, check out any site offering to write a resume for you with the Better Business Bureau or look for any customer complaints online.
Network for a New Job
Building a network takes time, but personal connections often are the best sources of opportunity and advice. Not sure where to start? Try tapping into these resources:
- Alumni networks. Ask alumni members for informational interviews or advice about their chosen field. Focus on their experiences, not your needs. Then, after building a relationship, ask for a referral.
- Face-to-face networking. Networking in person builds relationships, experiences and trust. Look for active, local networking groups within your profession and attend their events.
- Volunteer. Volunteering shows that you’re interested and engaged. You also might develop new, marketable skills along the way.
- Friends and family. Don’t discount your friends’ and family’s connections. You never know when your cousin or uncle might meet someone in your field who could help you get started. Let friends and family know what type of work you are looking for and ask them to pass along any leads.