Your professor, who hasn’t had to look for a real job in 10 years, shares his career wisdom freely. A well-meaning aunt gives you her suggestions about resume objectives. And you’re getting contradictory job search advice from somewhere between two and ten newsletter subscriptions. When it comes to a job hunt, it seems everyone has something to say.
All this input and contradiction, even from so-called career experts, can get confusing, right?
Here, we’ll cut through the clutter and give you the seven best pieces of job search advice we’ve seen so far this year.
1. More Applications Doesn’t Equal Better Chances
A great piece of job search advice: more is not usually better. You might think that if you fill out dozens of applications, you’re more likely to get a great job offer. But with somewhere around 250 applicants for each open position, the person who demonstrates that she’s the best suited for the job will get it.
Tip: Only apply for jobs you think your qualifications fit; remember, today’s Applicant Tracking System (ATS) will automatically reject resumes that don’t match relevant qualifications. Resume tailoring is probably the top advice to come out of 2016.
2. Tout Accomplishment Statements Rather Than Job Duties
Resumes with lists of duties you performed at previous positions are outdated. Instead, focus on including accomplishments: quantitative, measurable results achieved in your previous positions.
Tip: Good accomplishment statements often focus on money or time. For example, you could say “Increased sales by 20 percent over five years” or “Decreased time spent on packaging by streamlining shipping procedures.”
3. Resumes Come in More than One Format
Depending on your experience and the expectations of the job posting, you can choose one of three top resume formats.
Tip: Each one of these resume formats has its strengths and weaknesses, so you should consider how you want to sell your skills to a potential employer.
4. Resumes Should Not Be One Size Fits All
Our top piece of job search advice: you shouldn’t send out the same resume to every job opening. Even if you’re applying to very similar jobs in the same field, you should tailor your resume to the skills and qualifications that each job requires.
Tip: Tailoring your resume to dozens of postings in your job search can seem daunting. Jobscan’s resume optimizer speeds up the process by scanning your resume and pinpointing the missing keywords you should include in order to raise your match rate with the job description.
5. Networking is Better than Job Boards
LinkedIn is one of the major ways recruiters start looking for potential candidates. In-person networking events and informational interviews are also great ways to get your foot in the door.
Tip: One of the greatest job search tips for speeding up your job hunt: update your LinkedIn profile. You never know when a recruiter could be looking for someone just like you.
6. In Hiring, Nice Guys (and Gals) Really Do Finish First.
Companies aren’t just looking for employees who look good on paper, they want people who they actually like. Demonstrate your approachability.
Tip: An excellent piece of job search advice: sending a physical or electronic thank-you note after an interview can make or break your job chances.
7. Companies Want to Hire People Who Want to Work for Them
Letting companies know that you fit into their company culture can help them envision you working there. If you come to an interview for a formal company in jeans, for example, you probably won’t get the job.
When you’re lost in the maze of all the job search advice available, it helps to know the current trends. Now you have the best advice available so far this year. Use it to navigate your way to success.
Tip: A piece of great career advice: research the company before your interview. If you can understand more about the company’s priorities, business practices, and corporate culture, you’ll be better able to present yourself properly and ask the right questions.
Make these best possible pieces of job search advice part of your career strategy, starting today!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Jobscan.
About the Author: James Hu earned his bachelor’s of Information Systems and Finance from University of Washington. He is currently the Founder and CEO of Jobscan. James has also enjoyed work experiences at Boeing, Microsoft, Groupon, Kabam Games, and a start-up of his own. Through his work in the United States, China, and Spain/Gibraltar, James truly integrates a global mindset into his career. In his free time, he enjoys water sports and backpacking. Follow James on Twitter.