The Best Tools and Techniques to Help You Get Hired Faster
Job hunting isn’t nearly as simple as it used to be. That’s true for both employers and job seekers. As difficult as it can be for job seekers, it is equally challenging for employers to find their ideal candidate. Most job seekers simply are not aware that there are a number of tools and techniques to help them get hired faster than they thought.
Here are some of the top productivity techniques to consider when looking for your dream job and speed up the process at the same time.
Set Up Google Alerts
If you know the job title(s) of your perfect job, one simple and free way to keep up with new openings in your area is by using Google Alerts. To start, visit the Google Alerts page. If you have not already signed up for a free Gmail account, doing so is recommended.
- Locate the search bar at the top center of your screen, “Create an alert about…,” then start typing in a job title (remember that you can set up many alerts). As you do so, a window underneath the search tool will pop up, giving you the option to “Create Alert” or “Show Options.”
- Select “Show Options” and take a look at the different ways to target your alerts. You can choose how often you want an alert, the source (for job searches, it is best to select “web”), the region (i.e., the United States), and more.
- Once you’ve selected your preferences, click “Create an Alert.” You will receive emails showing you where the job title shows up, and you will be able to keep up with the newest job posts.
Another way to use Google Alerts for a job search is to keep up with changes and developments in your industry. For this alert, make sure to use keywords associated with your industry and make sure that the source is “blog,” “news,” or both.
Use Email Templates
While job hunting, you are probably going to be sending many emails and cover letters. It’s perfectly professional to have a few different message templates or pre-prepared responses where you tweak a few words each time.
For the most advanced job hunters, it’s often a numbers game. For example, it may take on average 10 completed applications or sent-out resumes to secure an interview. It may take three interviews to get an offer. It may take three offers to find one you like.
Doing the math, in this example the job seeker knows that they will likely need to send out 90 resumes/applications to get the job that they want. For more competitive jobs, the numbers are a bit more daunting. However, knowing the numbers game helps you keep your morale high and not take rejection personally.
If you use templates and prepared responses, you are going to more easily hit your numbers day to day, thus getting you closer to landing your dream job. Create a Word document or Google doc, carefully compose your cover letter, and leave space for inserting the name of the company, individual, position, and any other section that you feel needs to be customized for each job. It’s most important to edit the body of the letter to show the employer why you’re qualified for the job.
If you use Gmail, there is already an option to create a variety of prepared emails or responses. See a tutorial here for setting up such responses.
If you’re using Word, here’s a selection of job search letter and email templates you can use as a starting point for your own correspondence.
Track the Jobs You’ve Applied For & Set Reminders
For the job you really want, you should plan to follow up on your application if you haven’t had a response within a certain time period. However, if you’re applying for many jobs, it can be challenging to remember when to follow up, and with whom. Some job-searching online services (like Indeed and LinkedIn) help you track the jobs you’ve applied for and when. However, if you’re using multiple platforms, this may not turn out to be as helpful as you’d like.
It’s a good idea to decide on a way to track what you’ve applied for, when you applied for it, and who the main point of contact (POC) is at the company. Here are ten easy ways to organize your job search to choose from. Then, go to your calendar and set reminders to follow up with the POC. This will help you demonstrate your diligence to potential employers, and it will also help you track your job-hunting progress.
Brand Yourself on Social Media
More than ever, employers will research prospects via their social media profiles. While LinkedIn is especially important for job seekers to be keeping up to date, even your other pages such as Facebook and Twitter are great opportunities for potential employers to find out just how serious you are about your industry, as well as seeing how well-rounded an individual you are.
As such, sharing helpful articles and videos about your areas of expertise, and keeping your social media clear of negativity, can do a great deal to make yourself attractive to employers and recruiters.
Script & Rehearse Pitches or Elevator Speeches
You should always be prepared for the question, “Tell me about yourself.” Another way that people may ask this question is, “Tell me about what you do.”
Many people find these open-ended questions challenging, but the good news is that there isn’t necessarily a wrong answer. The open-ended question gives employers a chance to see some authenticity and emotional intelligence as you try to encapsulate for them who you are and why they should hire you.
But here’s the hard part: you can’t talk all day. In fact, some contexts only afford you sixty seconds to answer the question. In an “elevator speech,” you may actually encounter a situation where you meet someone crucial to your professional goals in an elevator, and the only time you have to gain their attention is the time it takes to complete the elevator ride. Many professionals create an elevator speech that lasts sixty seconds, another that lasts five minutes, and another that lasts fifteen minutes.
It may be helpful for you to write out these speeches and practice them. Ask for help from mentors and peers so that your speeches are clear, concise, and compelling. The goal of your elevator speech is to earn more time with the prospect of arousing their interest and curiosity, so that eventually they want to hire you.
Memorize Your Primary Skills
Closely related to your elevator speech is knowing the official names of your hard and soft employable skills.
- Hard skills are the technical skills behind your experience (software programs, trade skills, etc.)
- Soft skills are those that relate to character and personality
More than any other platform, LinkedIn has made professional development through social media a science, and it has countless tools to help you build your resume, portfolio, and more. One of the best features of LinkedIn is its exhaustive list of in-demand skills by their official titles. Taking the time to carefully craft your LinkedIn profile will help you know what your employable skills are and why they are important to employers.
Be sure you’re including your most relevant skills in your job search documents. You may have more employable skills that you think you do.
From there, memorizing your skills will help you in conversations with prospects via introductions and interviews.
Collect Letters of Recommendation
In case you are not familiar with this term, recommendation letters are letters from your mentors and previous employers affirming your skills and employability. You can begin asking college professors (as long as they are fairly well-known in the industry), and as you leave a job – on good terms – be diligent to ask your soon-to-be-former employer for a letter as well.
Most mentors and employers are familiar with letters of recommendation. They needn’t address the letter to anyone specific (“To Whom It May Concern…”), but it should clearly identify your core abilities and motivate others to hire you.
Build More Than One Resume
In today’s digital age, having a Word document or Google doc resume to hand out may not be enough. If your field is website development or content marketing, you might consider building a resume website for yourself. Many professionals are creating more alternative-looking resumes in the form of graphic design, infographics, or video resumes (resembling the elevator speech described above).
Depending upon where your skills lie and expectations within your industry, building a couple of different resumes and resume formats can help you attract more attention as well as making your job hunting more dynamic. There are free online resume builders you can use to speed up the process.
Also, check out this advice on how you can easily make an infographic resume to supplement your traditional resume.
Understand Application Tracking System Technology (ATS)
After encouraging you to build multiple and creative resumes, it is important that you also understand how most medium- to large-sized companies find their ideal candidates. Application tracking systems (“ATSs”) don’t care about how cool your resume looks or how it is formatted. All the software cares about are the keywords in your resume.
As such, if you are using job boards or uploading a resume on a company website, it is best for you to use your ATS resume so that the ATS software will push your resume forward. Resumes that hide the keywords (through fancy formatting) or lack the job description keywords within the text never make it past the ATS software and into the hands of employers. Online tools, such as Jobscan, can help you tailor your ATS resume to employers that use the software.
According to the age-old proverb, “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” Most job seekers cringe at the statement, but it’s not all wrong.
In many respects, it doesn’t matter how much of an expert you are at something if no one knows your name or what you do. It’s as if you don’t exist. While it is most important that you make yourself the most qualified candidate through hard work and experience, it is also very important that you get out and network with peers and thought leaders in your industry.
Networking is not quite so much about showing yourself off as it is about engaging in a professional community. Only the cynical approach networking with a competitive spirit. Most of the time, top-notch networking is little more than having coffee with people that do what you do and jumping in to help with a problem among your peers related to your field of expertise. Done well, networking takes time out of your week, but it frequently gets your name out in front of people that need what you do.
These tips will help make career networking much easier.
In Conclusion: Using Technology
It’s important that job hunters think about their goals and how technology can help them achieve these goals by getting hired in the right job faster. Many job seekers get so caught up in software programs and online subscriptions that they forget to focus on the end result – getting hired for the job they want. Other job seekers end up with tunnel vision going after their ideal job, and they ignore tech tools that could be making their efforts far more efficient and effective.
As you read through the tools and strategies above, many of these tasks can be done far more effectively using job-hunting software. While some programs cost you a little bit of money, many are completely free. Since you only have so much time in the day (but also don’t want to cut corners), certain software tools can help you accomplish more with less effort.
That being said, consider exploring some of the top productivity apps and software programs available for job hunting. Spend a little bit of time watching some tutorial videos and test them out.
After tinkering with a few programs, keep the ones you like and discard the ones you don’t. At the end of the day, what’s most important is to know what your ideal job is and that you have a plan to secure it.
Also take a look at these productivity tools that can help you succeed at work. They’ll help you get started in your job or make your current position easier to handle.
Finally, our step-by-step guide to productivity at work, will help you get on the fast track to being as productive as possible in your workplace.