If you spent time using all the job search sites, tools, apps and suggested techniques for getting hired that have proliferated online you wouldn’t have much time to actually job hunt. Even though some of those things can help you get hired, you don’t need most of them. Back to basics works for a lot of things, and job hunting is one of them.
Here are six ways to keep it simple when job searching, and to get the most out of the time you have to spend on looking for your next new job.
How to Simplify Your Job Search
Have Your Job Application Materials Ready
Even if you’re not really thinking about a new job, it’s always a good idea to have your application materials ready. You never know when a perfect opportunity might come along, and when it does you will want to be ready to apply. On the flip side, you could have an unwelcome surprise and lose your position without much – or even any – notice. Then you will need to be prepared to gear up your job hunt quickly.
The trick to being ready to apply is to keep your resume updated and your LinkedIn profile current. Make a note on your calendar to check both every month or so. Rework the job descriptions, if you need to, and add any new credentials and skills you’ve earned to both. Even polishing them up a little can help make you a stronger candidate.
Also have a list of all the information you need to complete a job application. If you see a position that’s of interest, you’ll be able to copy and paste from your resume, LinkedIn, and your list to get your application in fast.
Make Your Own Cover Letter Template
Take the time to create a cover letter template you can tweak and edit for each job you apply for. You won’t need to start from scratch every time you apply for a job. Create a cover letter file that includes your contact information, an introductory paragraph, and a closing.
When you’re ready to get started on your next cover letter, simply write the paragraph(s) that match your qualifications to the job and show the employer why you should get the interview.
Pick a Job Site (or Two) and Go Direct
You don’t need to use every job site and social media site that is out there. Pick a few sites that give you good listings. It might take some trial and error to find out which sites have the best listings, but once you’ve found a couple that work for you ignore the rest. Here are ten of the best job sites to get you started.
Another time saver is to skip the middle person and go directly to the company websites of employers of interest. For large employers, you’ll be able to create an online profile you can use to apply for as many jobs as you want. With smaller companies, you may be able to find listings that aren’t listed elsewhere online.
Streamline Your Search Queries
Use advanced search options so you get job listings that are a close match to your skills and interests. In a job market with lots of hiring going on, less can be more. It’s better to stay focused and apply for jobs you’re qualified for. You’ll be able to search by:
- Job Title
- Type of job
Here’s more on how to use advanced search options to expedite your search.
Tip: On Indeed.com, the link to the advanced search options is under “Find Jobs.”
Do you need social media to job search? The answer is yes if you’re applying for jobs with “social media” in the job description. Otherwise, you may be able to get by without getting sucked into the huge time drain social networking can be. An exception would be if you have dream companies you’d love to work for. In that case, check the company’s social pages for the newest job postings.
While we’re on the social topic, if you’ve allocated time for your job search, which is always a good idea, ignore your Facebook feed and all your other social sites while you’re in job hunt mode. Social media is a great way to procrastinate and avoid actually job searching. So, try not to fall into that trap.
When you start a job search, besides getting your resume out there, it’s a good idea to be prepared for what comes next in the hiring process.
- Have a couple of interview outfits ready. That way you’ll be ready for a quick turnaround for both a first and second interview when you get contacted by a hiring manager.
- Review the interview questions you’ll most likely be asked, and have some of your own ready to ask the employer.
- Make a list of everything you’ll need to bring to the interview with you.
- Line up some references who can speak to your qualifications.
- Know what you’re worth. Take some time to research salaries for the jobs you’re interested in. It will be much easier to negotiate salary if you have a general idea of what you can expect (and what you need) to earn on your next job.
- Be ready to resign. Think about how you’re going to handle your resignation when you’re ready to turn it in. Know how much notice you’ll need to give, and think about what you’re going to say to your boss. Also be aware of what happens to your employee benefits, retirement plan, and accrued vacation leave when you quit.
Job searching can be complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. When you’re new to the job market or haven’t job hunted in a while, it’s better to start simple. If you don’t find enough good leads or you’re struggling to get hired, you can expand your search. But, you may not even need to do more than the basics to get your next job lined up.