Looking for a new job is a job all by itself, right? Just reading the job descriptions alone can eat up a ton of your time. Instead of wasting your time going through every job opening on the internet, speed up your job search instead with these insider tips! There are three steps to going from “job seeker” to “the new hire” and those are automated alerts, being prepared, and being persistent.
We’re going to break down how you can use these three categories to make sure your resume is seen first. Here’s how you can automate some of the worst parts and speed up your job search for good!
Breakdown of How to Speed Up Your Job Search
Here’s what we’re going to cover in this article, but you can skip ahead if you’re looking for something in particular:
Beat the Bots!
Your resume doesn’t go from the job board directly to a person. Nearly all resumes are put through an ATS, or Applicant Tracking System. This is the company’s internal tracking system that looks for words in your resume that match the job description. To speed up your job search results and get hired sooner, be sure to check your resume against the job description.
If the job description has the word “Excel” under the skills section, then you had better have that exact word on your resume. Depending on how particular the ATS is, writing Microsoft Office might not be enough for your resume to be approved for Excel skills. This is why it’s recommended for applicants to put down exactly the name of the programs they’ve used. If you’re uncomfortable with writing each one out or it reads badly, you can put it in parentheses. For example, you could write “Microsoft Office (Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneDrive, OneNote, SharePoint)”.
Using abbreviations can also become an issue for an ATS, so be sure to write out what they stand for at least once. That’s including B.A. for Bachelor of Arts and R.N. (Registered Nurse). You can read more about how to optimize your resume for your job search here: How To Get Your Resume Past The ATS.
Speed Up Your Job Search With Custom Alerts
One of the best ways to speed up your job search is to use custom job alerts. Why search every single job out there when you can have the internet do the filtering for you? After all, are you interested in all jobs or just the ones you’re qualified for? Do you really want to apply for the theme park’s job as ‘Vomit Collector’ (a real position) or are you looking for something a bit less …gross?
Let the internet do the work for you by setting up custom job alerts in Google and LinkedIn can save you time and energy. This way the alerts can let you know what’s out there in the industry you work in, without you having to search every Monster, Indeed, or CareerBuilder page.
Need help setting up custom alerts? Stella Marcus has the answer in her article “How to Setup Google Alerts to get Daily Jobs Sent Directly to Your Email”.
Make Sure Your References Are Ready
First of all, they do know that they’re your references, right? Before you write down their name and phone number, make sure that you have the most up-to-date phone number and find out when is the best time to call. Also, it never hurts to double-check that they are willing to give a good reference. People don’t always remember who they worked with a year ago and it might take a bit to job their memory. Staying in contact with your references is just another great reason to keep your LinkedIn profile up-to-date.
Put Together a Cover Letter
You’re probably going to need a cover letter, so get one together or find your old one and update it. Don’t rehash your resume! Your cover letter is what shows the bridge between where you used to work and where you want to work now. It’s also a great place to explain career gaps, any career changes, and any career plans in the future. Employers will want those explanations anyway, so you can beat them to it – and beat out anyone who rehashes their resume in their cover letter.
Apply as Soon as Possible
Sending your resume at the right time is crucial if you want to speed up your job search. Resumes that are sent in on Sunday night get more traction than those sent in the middle of the day on Monday. This makes sense because hiring managers check their email inboxes when they come in on Monday morning and are often doing other work by the time the afternoon rolls around.
That being said, it’s more important for you to apply as soon as the job is open. The first qualified resumes to come in are the first people to be contacted. Keep in mind that the hiring manager is often looking for someone who is potentially “good enough” at the position. They would prefer a rock star, of course, but those who could be good are just as often called as those who are great.
Respond to Emails and Phone Calls as Soon as Possible
“To stay on the map, you’ve got to keep showing up.” – Peter Gallagher
Being able to reliably show up is a key factor for anyone looking for work. Wanting it is not enough. You have to let them know that you want it, too. That means answering the phone or calling them back as soon as possible, responding to emails, and being in contact. Whether it’s with a recruiter, hiring manager, or the person scheduling the interviews, you need to be communicating with them. If you genuinely want to speed up your job search, then you need to speed up how quickly you respond when an opportunity comes knocking!
It can be tempting to procrastinate calling someone back, but that person is calling someone else after you. They’re not just calling one person for an interview, so don’t put it off! During this time period of everyone changing jobs and careers, you have more competition for the jobs out there than ever before. The hiring manager has limited time to do one-on-one interviews. They don’t want to chase you and leave a ton of voicemails. If you want the job, you have to act like it, and that means calling them back as soon as you can, keeping your voicemail box available for messages, and checking your email’s spam or trash folder for emails.
Schedule Time in Your Day to Search for Jobs
Finding a good job is about persistence and the easiest way is to make it a habit. You can drastically speed up your job search by scheduling it into your day, even if it’s just an hour. Much like brushing your teeth, looking for a new job daily will get you better results. The more job alerts you can set up and the more habits you can enact, the better your chances of speeding up your job search. Even if it’s only the same jobs available as yesterday, taking five minutes to doublecheck is better for your anxiety about being unemployed than procrastinating.
Contact Your Network
Does your network know you’re looking for work? In this job market when so many people are changing jobs, it’s important that you keep in touch and talk to your contacts! Keeping in touch with them will help you get the word out. Word of mouth is one of the best ways to find a new job, including openings that aren’t even advertised yet!
You can join networking events, online groups, or reach out to people in the same industry. There are online lectures, classes, and even subsections of Twitter to help you connect with other people. Expand your network and you’ll expand your opportunities!
Don’t Forget to Follow Up
Always, always, always follow up. If you didn’t hear back because they hired someone else, still follow up. They didn’t respond at all? Follow up! Call, email, or send a messenger pigeon as a last resort, but always, always, always follow up.
You interviewed and didn’t hear back? Even though they should have, keep in mind that they probably didn’t contact everyone back who interviewed. However, they will remember who took the rejection badly and who took it well. You can either be forgotten, throw a fit about it (and get blacklisted from ever interviewing with them again), or send a courteous response. While no one enjoys losing, no one likes a sore loser. Remember that this isn’t the only job they’ll ever be hiring for. Making sure they are on good terms with you now (even when it doesn’t benefit you) will help the .lnext time they’re hiring. And who knows, they may know of another position that could be a better fit.
In conclusion, you can speed up your job search and get hired sooner when you follow these three steps. To recap, make the internet work for you, be prepared ahead of time, and keep at it!
You can also contact a recruiter for help getting a position. Recruiters often have full-time jobs available and can give you an honest opinion about your resume. Check out how you can benefit from getting a second opinion and finding out what a staffing agency could offer you here: The Complete Guide to Using a Staffing Agency.