To make the best use of your time, follow these 10 tips to help you be more strategic in your job search:
1. Don’t Apply for Everything
Sure, showering online application systems with your resume is pretty easy, and something should catch eventually, right? Maybe…the issue with indiscriminately applying to jobs, however, is that you really are wasting your time on opportunities that won’t come to fruition, as well as wasting the time of the hiring manager who is scanning applications. What you should be doing is focusing on applying to jobs that you are qualified for, and putting together more thoughtful applications for these.
2. Don’t Get Attached to One Particular Job
On the flip side, it’s also important not to get too attached to one position in particular. You may think you have found your dream job, and therefore begin devoting all of your time and attention toward putting together your materials for it. But if it doesn’t pan out you’ll be stuck behind on everything else. Don’t risk falling under the spell of one incredible job – spend a little extra time on your application and preparation for this particular position, but don’t let the rest of your job search fall by the wayside.
3. Don’t Constantly Re-Write Your Cover Letter
While it’s important not to send a generic cover letter out to companies you are applying to, you also shouldn’t waste your time crafting a new letter for each and every position you’re interested in. Instead, create a few good templates that only require you to change a paragraph or so for each job.
4. Don’t Constantly Revise Your Resume
Again, it’s a waste of time to switch your resume around for each job prospect that presents itself. Here, too, it’s helpful to save a few different copies that you can choose from, instead of carefully scrutinizing and tweaking your CV every single time.
5. Don’t Get Sidetracked on the Internet
The problem with searching for jobs online, especially when you are networking on sites like LinkedIn or Facebook, is that you can so easily get distracted. Set ground rules for yourself and consider setting up a special email account for your career search so that personal emails don’t sidetrack you.
6. Don’t Apply to Every Job Available
Some people think that they’re best chance at getting a job is to apply to every job they find online…literally every job, whether they are remotely qualified or not. It may seem like playing the numbers is a good bet, but in reality, trying to carpet bomb the internet with your resume won’t result in any interviews.
7. Don’t Stand Inline at a Job Fair
While some types of job fairs, like company specific or college job fairs can be worthwhile, you should avoid the mega-job-fairs typically held in arena, event or conference centers. In situations like these, you’ll spend so much time traveling and waiting in line, its simply not worth the time.
8. Don’t Pay a Headhunter
Real headhunters are paid by companies to fill positions. Unfortunately there are many former or want-to-be headhunters that can’t find work with companies, and instead advertise their services to individuals. These people don’t have access to any jobs you couldn’t find yourself.
9. Don’t Get Useless Certifications
Some people think if they get an obscure certification, it will make them look unique to employers. Unfortunately most employers don’t care about your certifications if they aren’t relevant to the job, even if you think they give you some special insight or advantage.
10. Don’t Use Only Free Job Boards
Free job boards are open to anyone on the internet, and the jobs that are posted there often get a huge volume of resumes, many unqualified. For this reason, many employers choose to use subscription based job boards, because the candidate quality is so much better. Don’t miss out on these jobs in the hidden job market. Try using a paid job board like Doostang.com, and see how much better the job quality is.
Unfortunately, there is a myriad of ways to get distracted and waste time in the search for your next job. Just remember how important your time and ability to focus are, and try to avoid the above productivity drains.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Doostang!
Founded in 2005 at Harvard, Stanford and MIT, Doostang was created with one goal in mind: to successfully advance ambitious young professionals in their careers. Doostang offers its members the opportunity to search thousands of high-quality, highly relevant job opportunities, and tools to leverage their inside connection to get hired. Follow Doostang on Twitter!