Embarking on a job search process can be an intimidating prospect for many of us, much more so in today’s extremely volatile environment. For most of 2019, India’s unemployment numbers hovered around 7-8%, spiking to over 23% in April and May 2020, once the effects of COVID-19 shook the economy.
In such uncertain conditions, wading through the dangerous waters of a shattered economy can be terrifying. How can you ensure your job search process gives you the best chance of success in an unprecedented environment? We’ve put together a framework that will help you think through all the necessary steps for an effective job search process.
How to Search for a Job?
When thinking about the steps involved in how to search for a job successfully, it’s important to realize that the first and the most crucial element in the equation is you. What are your professional and academic capabilities? What is the specific value you bring? What is your unique selling proposition, or as it’s more commonly known in business circles, your USP? Sometimes, it’s helpful to think of the job search process as a sales process, where your potential employer is the buyer, and you are both the product and the seller.
Any good sales process relies on the sellers’ understanding of what the buyer wants and then leveraging the insights on their buyers’ preferences to ultimately make the sale. Thinking deeply about what your potential employer may be looking for and presenting yourself accordingly can yield more meaningful results.
Much like a sales process, how to search for a job successfully, will also depend on the number of leads you have, because only a fraction of leads end up converting into actual sales. With that context, you need to keep in mind the following when thinking about ‘how to search for a job?’
Get Your Paperwork in Order – According to Glassdoor, the average time spent by a recruiter or hiring manager on your resume is 6 seconds. That’s not a lot of time to make a lasting impression. So, how can you ensure you put your best foot forward?
Here are a Few Helpful Tips
1. Don’t Forget the Cover Letter
Your cover letter is one of the most effective ways of customizing your application for the job that you want. It’s an excellent opportunity to tell your story your way. Focus on the skills and personality traits that are unique to you and craft your story to match the needs you know the recruiter has. Remember, everyone loves a good story, and hiring managers are no different.
2. Dissect your Resume
Resumes can be thought of as three broad types:
Reverse Chronological Order Type
Most resumes are of this kind; they list your work experience, educational history, and other relevant activities in the reverse chronological order. This is more useful for freshers since those with more experience may spill over the recommended one-page format for resumes.
This format is more useful for those with a little more work experience, who are in the job search process looking for their next job, and not their first. This format allows you to leave out some of the experience you may deem irrelevant to the job you are now applying for and focus only on the stuff that counts.
For example – if you’ve worked for a few years in a general marketing role and are now looking to specialize as a content manager, you’ll want to highlight the creative work and campaigns you’ve run rather than the data and analytical parts of the marketing job. It’s essential to focus on the keywords you know the recruiter is looking for and place these relevant words and content on your resume’s top half.
As the name suggests, the combination approach employs the best of both and is mostly used by those with a lot more work experience under their belt. Following a reverse chronological order, this format eliminates all irrelevant experiences of your story and only keeps those important elements required for your desired career graph.
3. Use your Network and Build on it
An often ignored or overlooked step in searching for a job is your network. By the time you’ve reached the employment age, an average person knows at least a hundred people, mostly consisting of their family and friends. One of the first ports of call for you should be your close circle of family and friends.
Turn to them for everything from advice on your chosen career path to helping you connect to relevant potential employers in their network. Especially the older and more experienced family members or friends bring the benefit of an extended network and usually operate with your best interests at heart.
4. Get your Game on, Go Online
In today’s job search process, perhaps more than ever before, the digital world is the preferred destination for most job seekers.
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Here are a few key elements to explore
1. Employers Websites
Create an exhaustive list of the companies you’d like to work for and devour their website to learn everything about them. Extensive research on the company, its products and services, their story, and their challenges, will only serve you well in customizing your conversation when you reach out.
2. Your Linkedin Profile
This is probably the first place a potential recruiter will check out once they have been through your CV and resume to gain additional insights about you. Your LinkedIn profile is your opportunity to build your brand and be visible to the recruiters’ largest online source under one roof. Ensure your LinkedIn profile follows the best practices laid out by the experts.
3. Job Search Websites
The digital revolution has presented those in the job search process with unprecedented access to tools and software to make the search easier. Websites like Shine.com, naukri.com, and monster.com are just some of the many platforms built to help match your profile to relevant recruiters.
4. Apply Now
You may be surprised to find out that much like everything else in life, timing is vital even in your job search process. According to a study, the majority of recruiters post their jobs online on Tuesdays. Mirroring this trend, most job seekers also apply for jobs on Tuesdays; clearly, the most action-packed day for job hunting in the week.
Not just that, the study dove deeper to discover that between 11 AM – 1 PM is where most of the traction occurs, so, don’t overlook this important element when wondering about how to search for a job. While the study has been conducted across the US and Canadian markets, in today’s global economy, these trends can be estimated to apply in India with some degree of accuracy.
Prepare Well for the Interview
By now, you’ve prepared your profile, identified which companies you’d like to work for, and how you can apply for these jobs.
Once you’ve managed to land an interview, here are a few things you that should keep in mind as you prepare for the interview:
1. Do Your Research
Make sure you have understood everything you possibly can about the company you are applying for. Read about them on their website, visit their social media pages, check out the media coverage, and learn about the top management.
These things can help you understand what the company stands for and how your values align with theirs. Aside from the company, you must know the job description for your interest profile. Dive deep into the description and make sure your skills and background make you eligible for the job in the first place.
2. Conduct a Mock Interview
Find a friend or family member who can play the recruiter’s role and tell them to be as brutal as possible with you in a mock interview. The objective here is to uncover all potential pitfalls that you may encounter during the interview and be prepared to avoid or overcome them with a fitting response. The harder you work in preparation for your interview, the higher your chances are of acing it when the pressure is on.
3. Listen, Absorb, and Question
Listening is sometimes as, if not more, critical than talking during a job interview. Be attuned to the words that the recruiter uses when communicating with you and try to understand where they are coming from. If you don’t pay attention to what they are saying and focus only on what you have come prepared with, there will be a breakdown in communication.
Once you have understood their perspective, ask questions about the parts that need further clarification. Be honest about things you understood and those that you did not. Everyone appreciates sincerity more than posturing.
There exists a delicate balance between professional courtesy of a follow-up and turning into pain for the recruiter, by badgering them after the interview for a decision. Once you’re done with your interview, send a thank you message or email to the recruiter and let them know that you are keen to hear back. Rather than being pushy for a verdict, remind them why you are the right candidate for the job and the value you will bring to their organization.
Even if you get a rejection letter, maintain a professional and positive attitude as you never know when your paths may cross later. Also, don’t forget to ask for specific feedback to understand where you lost out, helping you improve your chances in the next interview.
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As you set off on the often perilous journey of how to search for a job, these tips and tricks will serve you well to navigate a tricky landscape. In today’s ultra-competitive job market fuelled further by job cuts across sectors due to the global pandemic, sometimes you need more than just a useful guide to set yourself apart from the crowd.
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What are the prerequisites for job hunting?
Laying the groundwork before you commence job hunting is a must. The number of jobs in collation to job seekers is skimpy, so to make into the list of picked out candidates, ensure that the cover letter you work upon should focus on your strengths. To comprehend it in marketing terms, accentuate your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). Wisely choose the type of resume depending on your qualification and experience. Your polished skills along with experience in the field where such skills were manoeuvred should make it to the top of the resume.
Where should you start?
Start from the vicinity. Know your connections and use them sagaciously. Relatives, family, friends, and colleagues who are your true well-wishers would suggest you the best and recommend you to the best recruiter if they know one. This is just an avid start. Create an account on various job search websites and find the job as per your profile. Creating an account on LinkedIn will also be of great help both, for the candidate and the recruiter, to be acquainted with the particulars not mentioned in the cover letter or resume. If you aspire to be part of a company or a few companies, visit their website regularly and be updated with their social media handle.
Is an interview the last step?
People often overlook the importance of interviews and prepare for them at the last minute; don’t be one of those. To be in a fit state for the interview is equally important as working well in the organisation, and one should gear oneself up right after having applied to the company. Selection or rejection for the interview is the company’s call, but preparation is yours. Study about the company and thoroughly research about it, including its mission and vision. Practice for the final interview with a mock one. Taking the help of a friend or family member would not cost much, but will fetch rewa ds. And last, be a good listener before being a good speaker.