It is no secret that finding employment in today’s job market can be challenging. To face those challenges, it is important to understand how to stand out from the crowd. Increase your chances of success in your job search by implementing these five best practices:
Create a Job Search Strategy
It may not seem necessary or that important, but take the time to write down your short-term and long-term career goals. Take a look at these goals and ask yourself, “Where do I want to be in the next six-to-twelve months?”. Or ask yourself, “What kind of job search campaign do I want to launch?” By asking these simple question, you are simplifying the job search process while maximizing your time and energy. Understanding your career goals, for example, can help you stay on track and focused throughout your search.
Track Your Job Applications
Managing your job search will help you keep track of your job applications and stay on top of your job search. To do this, you can create a job application table using an Excel spreadsheet, Microsoft Word, Google spreadsheets, or various job search management tools like JibberJobber.
Use a Variety of Methods
Savvy job seekers use a variety of methods to contact prospective employers rather than limiting themselves to one method. There are many effective approaches, whether it is attending networking events or job fairs, monitoring job boards, contacting recruiters, or visiting company websites. Studies have shown that most job openings are filled through recommendations of friends who are already employed by an organization or other contacts. This is known as the hidden job market. Combine this with using job boards and you many increase your chances of landing a job.
Conduct Informational Interview
Another great strategy for your job search is to set up informal, brief conversations with people working in areas or positions that interest you, as they may be able to provide insights for your job search as well as career advice. By participating in informational interviews, you can gather career information, investigate career options, get advice on job search techniques, and familiarize yourself with employers. And who knows, if an opening comes about at their place of employment, they may think of you first when a vacancy occurs.
Build and Grow Your Professional Network
The most effective way to meet potential employers and learn about possible jobs is to tap into your personal network of contacts. Professional networking should be a part of your daily work and career-related endeavors if you are serious about progressing your career. LinkedIn reports that 70 percent of people in 2016 were hired at a company where they had a connection. The same article states that 80 percent of professionals consider professional networking to be important to career success, and 61 percent of professionals agree that regular online interaction with their professional network may lead to possible job opportunities.
Keep in mind that UMUC Career Services is available to help you in every stage of your career. Click here to set up an appointment with a UMUC Career Advising Specialist.
Rhoda Smackum is a career advising specialist at University of Maryland University College. She is an associate certified career coach and a certified master of career services. Her areas of expertise include career transition, career exploration, and job search strategy.