Most people job search the same way. They send out countless applications online, they do nothing to stand out, and they become desperate and forget (or don't realize) how much control they have, and how much they can influence the process.
All of that leads to frustration. The reality is you can get you more interviews and more job offers with less effort by changing a few things you do. Here are the steps.
Don't send a generic resume to every employer on every job board. Pick employers that fit what you actually want, and write them a cover letter briefly explaining why you wanted to apply (and how it relates to your career goals).
Tailor your resume too. It takes a few minutes to match up some of your top bullet points with the bullet points on the job description. And it's one of the best ways to make your resume stand out. Remember, the first thing a hiring manager is looking to see is whether you have experience that will allow you to come in and contribute immediately. The bullet points on a resume tell you exactly how they're judging your past experience, so try to mimick it whenever possible.
Study the company too before any interview. Prepare a few great questions that are specifically about them. Mention things you read on their website, or a recent news article you saw. This will impress them and will give you a big advantage moving forward.
I coach a lot of people in their job search and one of the most common reasons they can't find a job (or even get interviews) is that they're having the same interaction with each company. You need to tailor everything you do and show them that you chose them for a reason, and why you're a fit.
If you followed the advice above, you're going to be sending out less applications, but better ones. And you'll be sending them to companies that are a better fit for your career.
This means you'll need more time for each application. So you can't apply to every company out there. You need to be selective. This will make you more attractive to the companies you speak with. It's impressive to be able to tell them exactly what you're targeting, and how their company fits with that when they ask, "so, why do you want to work for us?"
When you get on the phone for an interview, tell them what you're looking for in your next job and ask questions about whether they can provide that. Then after the conversation, decide if they have what you're looking for.
Note: Never try to decide this mid-interview. It'll just distract you. Don't end an interview if you think it's a bad fit either, it's unprofessional and word usually travels pretty fast in any given industry... so other employers might find out.
Once you're talking to companies that are a great fit, don't be shy. Follow up after each conversation, tell them you're excited, ask about next steps and when you'll hear back.If you don't hear back in that time frame, send a friendly follow-up email asking for feedback.
Recruiters leave companies, hiring managers go on vacation, people forget things. Don't assume that a lack of response means they chose somebody else. Stay on top of things and remind them you're interested if they haven't responded like they said they would. Follow up after an unanswered application, too.
If you follow the steps above you are going to end up with a better job in less time. You'll send less applications but you'll get more interviews, and you'll be able to quickly turn those interviews into job offers.
Originally published at www.business.com