Finding a job you want requires effort and organization. It can be easy to be overwhelmed when you are following leads and are applying for several jobs at the same time. Here are some tips to help you become organized and avoid some common mistakes.
Being organized is an important part of your job search. It will be easier for you to keep track of leads and communicate with potential employers. Follow these steps to stay organized:
- Create a simple system to manage the different stages of the job process and keep track of deadlines, appointments, and follow-up tasks, such as sending thank-you notes.
- Keep a list of all jobs you apply to and relevant contact details. Always save the job posting in a word document or print it out—it will be deleted after the posting is closed.
- Save a copy of your application, résumé, and cover letter that you submit to each employer—you will need to bring these to the job interview.
- File business cards you collect at networking events or interviews and keep important emails and notes of conversations.
- Ask at least two people who know you or your work well to be your references to a potential employer. Keep your references informed about your progress on a regular basis—you will need them to be available and act quickly when you need them to provide a reference to a potential employer.
Know Where to Find Jobs
Many jobs are never advertised—you have to find them by networking. Others are posted online on a company’s website or on job sites.
- Use job search engines like Idealist, Monster, LinkedIn, and Indeed to see what type of jobs are available.
- Research the top 10 companies that you would ideally like to work for. Track networking events or job fairs that these companies may host or participate in, and visit their career page frequently for postings.
- You should post your professional profile on LinkedIn and use the site to get ideas, find support, and make connections. LinkedIn is the key networking site for professionals in the U.S. and Canada. Employers often search LinkedIn profiles with keywords to fill unadvertised positions. You can also print a business card with your LinkedIn address.
Be Honest and Professional in Your Communications
Be honest on your application and résumé. The information that you provide a potential employer should be accurate and verifiable. Often a background check may be part of the application process.
- Submit applications in the format requested—do not submit handwritten materials.
- Set up a voice mail message in English that is professional and let calls from employers go to voicemail if it is not a convenient time to talk.
- Don’t give a phone number on your application where it is possible that someone who does not speak English may answer the phone.
- Use a professional email address with your name (firstname.lastname@example.org), not something like email@example.com.
- Be aware that employers may view your Facebook or social network pages, so be careful with what you post.
- Always double-check your spelling and grammar—have your computer language settings changed to reflect standard American English.
Keep Moving Forward!
The hiring process takes time and you may wait weeks or months before you get a response to your application. Some employers do not inform candidates if they have not been successful. Apply for more than one job at a time. Many people make the mistake of applying for one job and then waiting to see what happens before applying for another job.
In summary, follow these tips to keep your job search moving forward:
- Use your time wisely. Follow up on current job applications while continuing to research other opportunities.
- Keep building your network by attending networking events and arranging informational interviews. Not only will you learn about new opportunities, but people will know you are still available and actively looking for work.
- Don’t get discouraged: Review your goals frequently, refresh your list of target companies, and stay organized to keep moving forward.