1. Tailor your cover letters and resumes for each job.
Many graduates know they should write a unique cover letter for each job application, but you should also write an original resume that speaks to the position and employer, too.
2. Look for jobs in four online places.
There are four primary places you should be looking for jobs online:
General job websites, such as LinkedIn and CareerBuilder,
Field-specific job websites, meaning sites that cater to your area of expertise; for example, JournalismJobs.com for journalists,
Location-specific job sites; for example, practically everyone in the San Francisco Bay area posts on Craigslist.org, even if they also post to other sites, and Social networks, which may also include email.
Look broadly. You’re not going to see great jobs that suit you every single day, so the wider you cast your net, the better.
3. Be organized in searching for a job.
To effectively plaster your resume every place it would count, you’ll need a very organized approach so that you’re not applying to the same position twice or otherwise emailing the same few people repeatedly.
4. Show your interests without sounding desperate (i.e., network!).
Use social networks to tell everyone you know about what your strikes your interest, as well as your skills and areas of expertise. Tell them how interesting and valuable you are without sounding desperate for a job, which is a real turn-off. Post about topics that genuinely interest you, and share why. Follow up with comments along the lines of, “That kind of thing would be an ideal career for me. I’d love to learn how to get my foot in the door!” People will bite. Use those connections, and again, try to not come off as desperate. Sound curious to learn. And be concise.
5. Use one email address.
It’s crucial that you have one professional email address that you use for all your job hunting, networking, and other professional outreach. It should be a professional-sounding address made up of your name or some very simple variation of your name and initials. Don’t include a city abbreviation, year of birth, or university affiliation in your email address. You don’t want the address to be outdated or give away information about yourself that could be a point of discrimination.
6. Clean up your social media accounts.
Take some time to clean up your social networks so that you’re presenting professional online profiles. One tool that can help is Facewash, which scours your Facebook account for naughty language, and lets you search your Facebook account for any terms that you might deem worrisome while job-hunting so that you can edit or delete them. See these other tips on how to clean up Facebook, too. There are many applicants for most open positions, and hiring managers are looking for easy ways to disqualify applicants: don’t give them one.
7. Speak the language of your industry.
One huge, but little discussed, reason networking online can be of service is it teaches you to speak in the same language and tone as the people in your industry. Some fields still value professionalism above all else, but in other industries, a more casual conversational tone will get you farther, faster. I used to work as a writer and editor in the video game development industry, where overly formal emails got tossed the moment the words “sir or ma’am” came into view. Using the wrong tone in a cover letter could be what causes your application to go into the pile of rejects. It’s a tough gray area to negotiate, but the more contacts you make in the industry and the more professional communication you have with them, the better you’ll be able to choose your words. The same holds true for dressing appropriately for a job interview. Not all industries want to see a suit and tie anymore. The more contacts you make, the more people you can ask for industry- or company-specific advice.
8. Write down your goals.
A beautiful aspect of technology is it makes it easy to review notes, update them, and review your changes and progress along the way. That’s all extremely helpful when your notes are goals, things you want to accomplish. When people write on physical paper, they often toss their notes or forget that they wrote them in the first place. When you write down your goals and how you plan to achieve them in an electronic space, you can set reminders to review your goals, adjust your objectives, and so forth.
9. When employed, document your workflow.
Once you have a new job, an excellent way to make a great impression on your boss and also help yourself get ahead is to spend your downtime documenting your workflow and other procedures in the office