5 Tips for Mastering the Job Hunt

Tips for Mastering the Job Hunt

If you need a job, then you don’t have time to waste on common job-hunting mistakes. Here are 5 tips that can make for a better hunting experience and a more positive outcome! 

Getting a job used to be easy—if our grandparents are to be believed. You would walk into the first tall building you saw, get the attention of the first person in there, and tell them you’ll take the first job they have available. Whether it was mopping the floors or the always popular “starting in the mail room”, getting an entry level position was just a matter of showing up. Once you got that job, you just had to work hard enough and you’d be running the whole company in five years, tops.

Whether that was ever true or just a movie someone misremembered as real life, it certainly isn’t the case these days. Every job posting seems to have a zillion applicants and submitting your resume feels like tossing a message in a bottle into the mouth of a black hole.

That’s why we spoke to the experts to get you the tips you need to conquer the job hunt and capture your prey (the job is your prey).

1. Evaluate what went wrong last time.

If you’re looking for a job because you either lost your previous job or don’t want to remain at your current one, then it’s important to evaluate precisely the reasons you’re in this situation.

As Jeff Altman (@TheBigGameHuntr), life coach and “big game hunter,” told us: “The first place to start a job search is by figuring out what went wrong in your current position. By that, I don’t mean the final straw that has prompted you to decide to look. I’m referring to deconstructing your job and all the little things that you tolerated that caused the final straw to break the camel’s back and made you decide to look. Doing this will allow you to look for potential rough edges in the next organization and reduce the possibility of making the same mistake again.”

Even if you’re moving or just looking for a change of pace, there are likely lessons from your last job you can keep in mind as you begin a new job hunt.

2. Determine exactly what you’re looking for.

Applying for jobs is so time-consuming, it’s essentially a job in and of itself. That’s why it’s important to narrow your search so you don’t waste any time applying for jobs that won’t fit your needs.

“Every scenario is different, but I always recommend a bit of self evaluation first—what’s important to you, what are you skilled at and how might those skills transfer, what kind of working environment do you want, and of course, how much money do you need to sustain your lifestyle,” explained leadership coach Elizabeth McCourt (@ecmccourt). “Oftentimes there’s a timeline, but I’ve found that really articulating these things can add both vision and clarity on a search.”

Fellow leadership coach Jennifer Davis (@jenmaydavis) agrees: “When first looking for a job, the most important question to ask yourself is ‘what do I want?’ We are so used to focusing on what we’re good at, what’s currently available, who we might know. All of these factors are important in the networking and application phase, yet it is critical to take a step back and start with a sense of purpose. Those who operate inside-out, i.e. figuring out what they want versus what is already out there or what they ‘should’ be doing, will be both more fulfilled and successful.”

3. Get your digital house in order.

These days everything happens online, including the entirety of the hiring process. That’s why you’ll want to make sure your resume is updated and uploaded at as many places as possible. Dana Case, director of operations at MyCorporation.com (@MyCorporation) offers this tech savvy tip: “One of the first things you should do when looking for a job is set up your Craigslist account to email you an alert any time a job is posted with the particular buzzwords you’re looking for. There are often hidden career gems among all of the Craigslist job postings. Setting up an alert helps you sift through all of the stuff you don’t need.”  

4. Attend networking events if you can.

Unfortunately, many networking events are closed off by alma matter or other elite considerations. Still, there are events you can find that are open to everyone. Dr. Heather Rothbauer-Wanish, owner of Feather Communications (@Feathercomm), offered this advice: “Once you have an updated resume, start attending various networking events to let others know of your job search. Consider attending Chambers of Commerce events, industry workshops, and ongoing connection opportunities. It is vital that you connect with as many people as possible to broaden your circle and network of influencers.”

5. Remember to follow up!

With so many people applying for each position, even simple small steps can help you stand out. That’s why Serena Holmes (@serena_holmes), CEO of Tigris Events (@TigrisEventsInc), urges job seekers to always follow-up: “I recommend candidates follow-up with businesses they apply to. Most applicants send an email with a resume and possibly a cover letter and hope for the best. One way to distinguish yourself from the competition is by simply following-up after you have applied for a position. Companies want to know you are interested, and going the extra mile by reaching out with a personalized email or phone call does just that. It demonstrates initiative, and also can be a great way to get feedback from human resources on the status of your application.”

A lot of these rules may seem basic, but it’s important to give yourself every advantage you can, as many applicants won’t even be diligent enough to take these basic steps. We’ll leave you with one last tip from Dr. Rothbauer-Wanish: “Finally, remember that it is imperative you display professionalism at all times. Even if you are leaving a less-than-stellar job situation, never bad-mouth the company or its workers. This only makes you look like a disgruntled worker while also demonstrating the perception that you are a non-team player.”

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Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter, has helped organizations achieve their objectives by hunting down leaders and staff as employees or consultants since 1971.

Dana Case is the Director of Operations of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter @mycorporation.

Jennifer Davis received an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business and trained at the Coaches Training Institute, through which she became a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC). She is also an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) through the International Coaching Federation. She is certified in the Leadership Circle Profile 360 assessment and development tool and leadership culture survey. She holds a BA from Tufts University, where she was a Phi Beta Kappa member and graduated Summa cum laude. Her website is JenniferDavisCoaching.com

Serena Holmes (formerly Schwab) is the President & CEO of Tigris Incorporated. She is a Broadcast Journalism graduate from Ryerson University. She began working in events in 2000 and started with Tigris as an events staff in 2004, was promoted to management and later accepted partnership. Serena took over operations of the company in 2008. Since that time the roster has tripled and the company continues to grow at a healthy pace. Some keynote clients include Rogers, Motorola, GTAA, CHIN Radio, Appleton Rum and many others.

Elizabeth McCourt, JD, MFA, CPCC, ACC is the President of McCourt Leadership Group.  She has been a financial services recruiter for 17 years and is also an executive coach, certified by the Coaches Training Institute (CTI), in addition to certifications in the Hogan Leadership Assessment and in Systemic Team Coaching. She works with high level individuals looking for both a practical and holistic approach to advancing their communication and leadership capabilities by harnessing their strengths and identifying their triggers so they can effectively achieve their goals.Prior, she was a trial lawyer in New Mexico with a JD from Loyola University and an undergraduate degree in Finance from University of Maryland.

Dr. Heather Rothbauer-Wanish has a BBA in management from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, an MBA from Lakeland College, and a Ph.D. in Organization and Management from Capella University. She LOVES helping people position themselves for today’s job market. She can help boost your confidence by creating a resume that helps you land your DREAM JOB.

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