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3 Ways to Improve Your Job Search

Improve Your Job SearchIf you’ve been looking for a job for a while but haven’t found one yet, you might feel frustrated and defeated. But don’t give up hope. Even if you feel like jobs are harder to find and employers are pickier than ever, you can put yourself ahead of the competition by focusing on your job search. You have the power to take control of your job search, so start by using these three tips.

Develop a Strategy
Before you apply for another job, sit down and think about the outcome you want from your job search by determining what type of position you want, what your qualifications are, and what industry you want to work in. This will help you focus your search on the jobs you really want and are qualified for. When you discover a position that you want to apply for, give it your all. If you can’t give 100% to all the jobs you’re curious about, evaluate the job descriptions and see which ones match your goals best. If it doesn’t match your goals, move on to another opportunity. Don’t waste your time applying for a job you don’t want. Instead, put your efforts toward the job you really want. Affirm to yourself that you truly want the job, and give your résumé, cover letter, and interview preparation the time and attention each new job opportunity deserves.

Think Beyond Your Usual Job
If you’re out of work and need to find employment quickly or are having a hard time entering your field of choice, consider part-time positions, internships, or tempor-ary employment through your local staffing agency. These positions can help you get your foot in the door and provide valuable experience that you can use elsewhere. These situations also have the potential to turn into full-time jobs, which can be just the break you’ve been looking for.

Visit a Career Coach
Don’t be afraid to ask for help from a career coach who can provide you with an honest, unbiased opinion and give you guidance to improve your job search. They can help pinpoint what’s been holding you back and give you the boost of confidence you need. If you don’t seek outside help, you might not realize you’re leaving off an important qualification from your résumé or saying the wrong things in an interview. Coaches can identify what employers are looking for and help you update your résumé and cover letter, as well as help you practice your interview techniques.

Making a few changes to your job search can give you hope, new leads, and potentially a job offer. So, if you’re still struggling to find the right opportunity, improve your job search by using these techniques. You might just find a better job opportunity than you imagined.

Take Back Your Job Search by Being Proactive

There are 24 million people in the U.S. looking for work. The job market is tight, and the job seekers who find the jobs are the ones who hustle. If you want to make it to the head of the pack, you can’t sit around and wait for opportunity to come to you.

The job will go to those hitting the pavement running. It’s a matter of being proactive and taking the initiative. Here are some tips on how to get in the driver’s seat when you’re looking for a job.

Apply for Unlisted Jobs
Believe it or not, many of the really good jobs aren’t posted in classified ads or job boards and company websites. Employers don’t advertise these positions, but offer positions to connections and contacts who have had experience working with decision makers in that company. You’ll never find these jobs if you don’t take initiative by asking for them. Do your research to find a hiring manager or decision maker, then express your interest in working for them.

Apply in Person
Thanks to the wonders of the internet and social media it’s incredibly easy to fill out an online application, attach a resume, and wait around until you get an email. Unfortunately, with the increasing number of automated resume readers, your application can get placed in a void never to be seen again. Even if your resume is seen by a hiring manager, it’s extremely difficult for one resume to differentiate itself from the hundreds of others being reviewed. Your chances greatly increase if you print your resume and cover letter, or application, and physically hand it to a hiring manager, potential supervisor, or department head.

Apply the Follow-Up
Whether you apply online or hand in a resume in person, you shouldn’t stop there. Those hiring have a busy schedule and sometimes filling a job isn’t the only thing on a department head or HR manager’s agenda. That’s why you should follow-up after applying to demonstrate your interest in the job.

If the job opening had an application deadline, wait a few days after, then confirm that the potential employer received your resume. Use this as another opportunity to remind them of your interest in the position. If no deadline was given, wait a week to 12 days after submitting your application to follow-up. Remember not to pester or annoy the company when following up. Keep it to two attempts. If you don’t get a satisfactory response, send an email a week later. If you don’t hear anything after that, move on.

Being proactive in your job search isn’t a guarantee for instantly landing the perfect job, but you will get hired faster when you take initiative instead of passively waiting for an offer. What are some ways you’ve taken the bull by the horns during your job search?

Job Searching While Still Employed

finding a job while still employedMaybe you’ve been at the same job for a few years and are looking for that next great challenge. Or maybe your current job isn’t working out for you. No matter your situation at work, it’s best to have your next job ready before quitting your current one.

Looking for a job while still employed can feel taboo. Many workers feel uncertain about the best actions to take at work when looking for new employment. You shouldn’t let this fear hold you back from advancing your career. Here are some ways you can improve your chances of finding a new job without stepping on your employer’s toes.

Shhh! Keep It Discreet
It’s best to keep your search away from work. You shouldn’t feel obligated to inform your current employer you’re job searching until you’re ready to give notice. While you may have a strong working relationship with your boss, you could still disrupt relations and teamwork with your boss and co-workers if you talk about a new job opportunity and end up not getting it. Also, don’t use your managers or co-workers as references during your search unless you’ve discussed with them your plans to look for a new job. Wait until you’ve left on good terms.

You should also avoid posting your resume into search databases online, instead directly apply to open positions. You never know who could be looking at them, and the news of your job search could reach your current employer.  Consider changing some privacy settings on your social media accounts. Social media can be a powerful tool in your job search, but if you’re friends with  co-workers and managers, you could burn some bridges with them by publicly announcing your job search. You may feel like it’s keeping a secret, but it’s more about keeping the search out of the workplace until you’re ready to leave.

Don’t Use Company Time or Company Dime
Your employer is paying you to work for them, so don’t use company time and resources to look for a new job. Wait until you’re off work to search online and send resumes to hiring managers. Make sure you include your personal contact information and not your work number or email in a cover letter or resume.

If you need to schedule an interview, make sure it’s before work, during your lunch break, or after work. If asked why you’re taking your lunch break early or late, you can tell management that you need to take care of some personal business. You can also take scheduled time off for interviews, but don’t use sick time off for this purpose.

Avoid using company equipment and resources during your job search as well. It may be small things like paper, but it can really hurt your chances of getting hired if you send cover letters with your current employer’s letterhead.

Resign with Respect
If you get a job and accept it, make sure you give your boss ample time to prepare before you leave. Be upfront and give as much notice as possible. When you’re leaving your job, it can be easy to stop caring about your responsibilities. Make sure you have your duties and responsibilities clearly communicated to the right people. If you continue to work as a model employee before leaving, you’re more likely to be able to use this employer as a recommendation, contact, or reference in the future.

Applying for a job while still working a full-time job can be tiring. You have a lot to do during your off time, on top of your regular life schedule, but the long hours are worth it. What has helped you find a job while still employed?

Find a Job Like Detective Ace Jobseeker

Different ways to find a jobThe days of graduating, posting a resume online, and sitting back while you wait for recruiters and HR representatives to call with job offers are gone. Gone like a host of sparrows escaping the winter months. Odds are, you’ll be scratching up dough at 11 different jobs by the time you’re 44. With all that job hopping, you’re going to need more than just one method of finding a job.

Nowadays, there are several different resources at your disposal to find a job. You just have to look for them, like a detective. Whether it’s job fairs, social media, internships, or staffing agencies, it’s a matter of finding what works best for you.

That’s why Express’ own private eye, Detective Ace Jobseeker, is here to explain. See how he puts his investigation skills to work.

What are some methods you’ve used to find a job? What do you think about the gumshoe Ace Jobseeker? Sing like a canary in the comments section below.

Answer These 3 Questions to Discover Your Perfect Job

secrets to finding the right jobDo you ever feel a tad envious when you hear about people who absolutely love going to work every day because they’re so passionate about their jobs? Maybe you think only really lucky people land jobs like that. But finding a job you love involves more than luck – it’s about knowing yourself and what type of work you find most rewarding.

By answering the following three questions, you can discover what it will take for you to wake up every day excited about going to work.

What are you best at?
Research shows that you’re more likely to feel professionally satisfied when you work at a job you’re good at. In fact, the book Now, Discover Your Strengths, cites 2 million interviews and 30 years of research to confirm that fact.

While it’s possible to become proficient at almost any task if you’re given enough time or training, that doesn’t make the behavior a strength. Your true talents are in the areas where you naturally excel.

To determine your natural abilities, think about roles you’ve thrived in. Don’t limit yourself to thinking only in terms of work either. Brainstorm talents you use at home, in volunteer work, or for hobbies.

Knowing what you’re good at is essential to finding the career path that’s right for you. For example, recognizing that you excel at meeting new people or public speaking could point you in the direction of jobs that would use your natural talents such as a sales or hospitality position.

What gets you excited?
While determining your strengths helps you figure out which jobs you’ll have the natural abilities for, this next question aids you in narrowing down the fields or industries you’re most likely to thrive in. For instance, after examining your talents, you might decide that a role as a salesperson would best suit you. However, salespeople work in many different fields, so how do you determine which one is right for you? This is where understanding what energizes you becomes important.

To zero in on the field that’s right for you, think about the kinds of activities and types of environments that make you feel most alive. Do you feel your best doing hands-on projects in a pair of jeans and a T-shirt? Or, does the prestige of wearing a slick business suit and working on a high profile project appeal to you more? Are you passionate about working with children, the stock market or environmental issues?

Spend some time thinking about what gets you going. Understanding the physical, mental and emotional atmosphere that you enjoy most can lead you to the industry that best matches your disposition and drive.

What matters most to you?
Answering this final question will assist you in discovering the types of employers you’d enjoy working for the most. Because companies’ cultures, values and structure vary widely, it’s important to evaluate what’s most important to you in a job.

Different employers appeal to people with different personal and professional goals. Some organizations require 70-hour work weeks but the pay-offs in financial rewards and status are high. Other employers offer flexible schedules and reduced stress but have less monetary perks. And many businesses offer a range of positions between the two extremes.

When thinking about what you want from an employer, consider the type of hours you’d like to work, a job’s distance from your home, the opportunities for growth within the company, and the organization’s values and culture. Knowing what matters most to you in a job will allow you to target employers that provide the things that are essential to your happiness.

Knowing your strengths, passions, and priorities will help you select a job that’s right for you. Then you too can be one of the “lucky” ones who wake up excited to go to work every day.

Like, Mention, and Friend Request Your Way to a New Job Through Facebook

Use Facebook For Your Job SearchFacebook just recorded 901 million active monthly users at the end of March. Needless to say, it’s a big deal. Odds are you are one of the millions of users checking their account every day to see what’s going on in the life of friends, loved ones, family, and celebrities.

What’s great about Facebook is you can use this vast market of people and organizations to help in your job search. Best part of all, you’re probably already using Facebook in your normal daily routine. With a few simple steps, you can use this common digital past time to help find a job.

Clean it up
It’s becoming more routine for employers to search candidates’ social media profiles to influence their hiring decisions. Consider cleaning up your profile to make sure it reflects a professional image of you by removing photos or status updates that could reflect poorly, and untag yourself from images you wouldn’t want potential employers to see. If you really must have those photos and memories on your profile, make sure you set them to private so only trusted friends can see the content.

Make sure your future updates are in a professional manner when looking for a job. Be especially mindful when updating after an interview. An employer may be taking special interest in what you say after talking with you.

Implement Interaction
One of the most important tactics in a job search is networking. Facebook can help you stay connected with people from all over the world. It’s time to take advantage of that. For example, post an update to your friends to ask if they’ve heard of any job openings you’re qualified for, or at least asking if they know anyone who does. Provide them links to your online résumé, LinkedIn profile,  professional blog, or website.

You can also use Facebook to interact with companies and organizations you want to work for. They are always looking for more interaction from their customers on social media, and if you can get on their social media radar, the better the chance they’ll notice your résumé. Commenting on status updates and sharing their links are great ways of interacting with potential employers. It also opens doors for you to ask about employment opportunities.

Facebook’s App Attack
Apps on Facebook are more than just Farmville and Socialcam. They can be used specifically to help you build a professional network and find a job. One example is BranchOut, which allows you to build a professional profile on Facebook, network with more than 400 million professional profiles, and search more than three million job and 20,000 internship postings. You can also connect with Monster.com’s BeKnown mobile app on Facebook. Marketplace also has a jobs section that allows you to connect directly with recruiters.

Another option to consider is placing a Facebook ad. Some job seekers have found success using them, but they do cost money, and Facebook ads have been losing effectiveness since they launched. Do your research and see if it could be a viable option for you.

If you’re already on Facebook, go ahead and use it as a powerful tool to grow your network and connect with potential employers. What success stories do you have using Facebook to find a job?

Tweet Your Way to a Job Offer

twitter for a jobTwitter is kind of a big deal – more than 140 million active users posting 340 million tweets daily big. I was pretty skeptical of Twitter when I first heard about it in 2007, but like most people, it’s become one of the biggest sources of instant information on what’s happening right now across the world.

It’s a social media site where users post small elements of information in less than 140 characters and share them with other Twitter users. Not only is it a great source of info, but it’s also a large market of influencers, recruiters, employers, and an opportunity for find work. Here are four ways you can use Twitter to find a job.

You’ve Got the Look
The first thing to do is make sure your profile is employer friendly. The ideal profile picture should portray you in a professional manner, and your about paragraph should include your elevator pitch, a to the point overview about yourself. Utilize your background space to best promote yourself. The Closet Entrepreneur has an easy method to create a good looking Twitter background. Don’t forget to link to your LinkedIn profile in your bio section.

Join the Conversation
What makes Twitter powerful is the interaction and engagement with other users. Use the Twitter search to look for interesting companies, industry experts, recruiters, or even local leaders.  When you follow them, you’ll notice the people they talk to and the hashtag (#) conversations they participate in. That’s your chance to start a conversation with them or jump in a group discussion. Contributing to chats can help you get advice and get noticed. You don’t have to blast them with your job search story or experience, but you can build the relationships naturally.

When using Twitter, you should post relevant content and comments. No one will follow you if you talk about what you had for lunch or where you’re about to shop. Post thoughts about what’s going on in your industry, link to interesting blog posts or news articles, or retweet, something that was posted by someone you’re following that you found interesting. The more professional content you post, the more business/industry followers you’ll get.

Give, Give, Give
Don’t just promote yourself, help others promote themselves too. Job hunting as a community can have a much bigger impact. Nothing gets more credibility than helping others as opposed to always self-promoting. Hear of a job lead that’s not fit for you?  Tweet about it so that others might apply to it.

Treat Your Followers Like a Garden
It’s not about how many followers you can have under your name, but the quality of followers you interact with. You’ll find more success by developing fewer, but stronger, relationships with Twitter users than having a huge list of unengaged followers. Just like a garden, developing connections on Twitter takes lot of time, attention, and care to grow.

What are some ways you’ve used twitter to help your job search? Sound off in the comments below.