9 ways to optimize your job search
Much of my advice comes down to forming meaningful connections. That’s because, despite the increased reliance on “Easy Apply” buttons, people support people. Not avatars. Not resumes. But people. The more you connect with a hiring manager human to human, the more likely they’ll be to care about your future and advocate on your behalf. Here’s how to connect and engage with the right people to find the right job:
1. Be social: After every professional interaction – over Zoom, email, whatever it may be – send a LinkedIn request. This helps to quickly build your network and stock it with influential people who may otherwise be hard to contact. Make sure to include a short note along with your request (a quick reminder of how you met works well) to forge a more personal connection.
2. Be open minded: Think outside the box when conducting your job search. How can I stretch my skills to apply to new areas? What are some jobs that may be tangentially related to my area of expertise, into which I can grow over time? It’s important to remain flexible – with respect to your skillsets – and open – to new conversations, even if it’s unclear where they’ll lead.
3. Be proactive: Message internal and external recruiters about specific roles, making sure to reference requisition numbers and showcase how you’re an ideal fit. And while you have their attention, ask questions about the job market – you’ll benefit from their extensive market knowledge (think salary comparisons, job opportunities, hidden gem companies) and won’t pay a dime.
4. Be creative: How can you distinguish yourself from other applicants? Internal recruiters get tons of requests on LinkedIn. Having a unique subject line, referencing a specific job, and being concise but friendly in your messaging will go a long way.
5. Be tactical: Have the job boards work for you – sign up for alerts from Indeed, LinkedIn, and Monster so you’re notified right away when a role matching your skills and preferences is posted. It takes no more than two minutes to sign up and pays dividends down the line.
6. Be specific: When you reach the interview stage, use the STAR method to frame your accomplishments in a story narrative wherein you (the skilled professional) helps your company (the hero) make money, save money, or save time.
7. Be personable: When talking with your interviewer/recruiter, try to connect on three levels – the company level (“How is the company faring in light of recent events?”), the role level (“What is your managerial style? Where do you see the team going in the next year?”), and the personal level (How did you find yourself doing this job?).
8. Be surprising: Don’t be afraid to flip the script during an interview. Try this – when your interviewer inevitably asks “tell me about yourself” respond by saying “I’d love to share some of my background, but would first really like to know what you’re trying to solve with this role. Then I can highlight the parts of my background that make most sense.”
9. Be memorable: After every interview, include a thank you note to ensure you’re not quickly forgotten. For an extra personal touch, include a ‘P.S.’ with something fun – a book you’d recommend, the best taco place in town, whatever makes most sense given your conversation with the interviewer.
If you want to connect to me human-to-human, feel free to send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org. Include taco/book recommendations for bonus points!