On the road to finding a new job or career, job seekers can get easily overwhelmed: Where do you find your best job matches, and how do you find them?
The key to a successful job hunt is to look at the modern-day job market and understand your options.
1. Be aware of technology’s role in your job search
It’s more than just using the internet on your computer or phone to submit application after application to various websites. Some businesses receive thousands of resumes a day through sites such as LinkedIn. And almost all employers today—large and small—rely on an applicant tracking system (ATS), which is software that helps filter and rank job applicants.
One of the main ways an ATS works is by comparing keywords in your resume to those in the job description, and judging your compatibility. Stuffing your resume full of keywords won’t fool an ATS. Their algorithms recognize content containing hallmarks of spam (such as entering keywords in tiny, white text. Invisible to a hiring manager’s eyes, maybe, but not invisible to a computer)—and penalize applicants for it.
2. Customize that resume
The more your resume is targeted for a particular job, the more likely it is to get noticed. To get ranked highly by an ATS, your resume has to show that you possess the right qualifications.
Keywords are the main way to customize your resume. The best source of resume keywords is to look at the job listing itself. Keywords include specific terms relating to skills, tools, accomplishments, and credentials—for example, “project management” or “HTML5.” Also, pay attention to the number of times each keyword appears in the job listing and mirror that emphasis in your resume.
Free online resume analysis tools, such as Jobscan, can show you what’s working in your resume, and what can be improved.
3. Build those network relationships
You don’t have to go it alone on the job search. In fact, the internet and social networking make it easier than ever to find support during your search. Creating a profile on websites such as LinkedIn, as well as specialized job sites for your field, also make it possible for recruiters and hiring managers to find you. Remember, they’re searching just as hard for the right person as you are searching for the right position.
Don’t forget the rules of resume keywords. You can, and should, use them in your professional profiles online, too.
4. Create your own position
Why sit around, waiting for the perfect job to pop up on Craigslist, when you can create it yourself? According to Forbes.com, this is one of the top unconventional but effective tips for job seekers.
The internet makes this possible for many, by giving people the opportunity to simply go online, create their own website or blog, and begin to network: from wedding photographers to ghost writers to ghost hunters, the possibilities are endless.
This approach takes a lot of research and dedication, but thinking outside the box can pay off more than you can believe. For example, Angela Liddon created Oh She Glows, a food blog that got so much attention that she was offered a cookbook deal, and her cookbook is now a New York Times bestseller.
5. Look where the jobs are—and where they are going
It never hurts to take a look at what markets are booming, where are they booming, what jobs are trending, and what’s on the decline. Finding a job, or creating it yourself, won’t mean much if you don’t understand where that field is headed. Thinking big-picture will help guide you on your job search.