There’s a pretty good chance you’re looking for a job. Most people are, actually. According to a survey conducted by Rake, 80 percent of full-time employees are either actively or passively looking for a new job.
No matter your job history, the process is frustrating and intimidating. In fact, 87 percent of survey respondents said that keeping track of job search efforts are challenging to some degree.
But there’s good news -- you can take back control and increase your chances of being hired.
Here are some of the best habits successful job seekers use to take hold of the reins and land the position they want:
Identify, save and apply to select opportunities.
There are many ways to build your job opportunity pipeline. Some of which include managing online profiles and your personal brand to attract recruiters and employers. Others involve attending events and networking. When it comes to online searching, you have a lot of options. On average, 48 percent of job seekers are searching on four to six job boards or company sites.
Online job searching isn’t exclusive to the home computer anymore. You can look for jobs on your phone, tablet, work computer, and other devices. As you come across those promising jobs, make sure you save it for reference.
But just because you find the perfect job, doesn’t mean you’re prepared to apply for it on the spot. Nor should you mass apply to every job that looks interesting.
That’s why 75 percent of job seekers save jobs they find online with the intent to apply to them later, according to our research. While finding jobs is convenient from any location, applying isn’t as easy -- in part because of the technical requirements laid out by the employer or because you simply want to properly take the time to complete a quality application.
Successful job seekers take the time to apply with thought. That means updating and tailoring your resume to the job, crafting the perfect cover letter, and doing research on the employer before sending in an application.
Set deadline reminders.
Now you have all these great jobs and opportunities saved and waiting for you to apply. But when you go to actually apply, you realize that the job expired and you’ve missed the deadlines on a few of them. Bummer.
While our resumes boast that we’re well organized doers, we probably miss more job application deadlines than we would like to admit. So it’s no wonder why a resounding 75 percent of job seekers we surveyed said that receiving deadline reminders on their phone would be very helpful in their job search.
Set yourself up for success by using the calendar on your phone, computer, or the old-school post-it notes on your desk to help remind you of deadlines before opportunities are missed. While the various methods of being reminded are vast, the emphasis here is that you need to be proactive in making it happen.
Track your efforts... all of them.
Between company career pages, job boards, and social media sites, the possibilities for job postings feels endless. Not to mention opportunities you uncover from networking events. And while tracking your job search is a pain, most job seekers agree that it’s critical -- 74 percent say it’s important to track their efforts, and 76 percent believe that doing so will yield better outcomes.
So, not only is it important to keep track of your efforts so application deadlines aren’t missed, but also, remembering what jobs you’ve applied to is critical so you can send the often neglected thank-you note or a follow-up to an employer you haven’t heard from in a while.
Another great byproduct of tracking your efforts is the ability to create an audit trail of interactions you had along the way for each opportunity. Many workers spend five years or less in a job, according to the 2016 Employee Tenure Summary from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
The BLS also concluded, from a survey spanning three decades and accounting for 9,964 working men and women, that the average person will hold approximately 12 jobs over the course of their career, with half of those employments occurring by age 25. This means that at some point, you will likely pick up your job search. Having tracked all your efforts puts you in a better position to reconnect and reengage those you communicated with along the way.
Connect and network.
Applying to any job online and hoping to get a call back is not ideal. Instead, the most successful job seekers identify great opportunities and then leverage a connection to help them network into the company. It should be noted, that you should always still apply via the company's website such that your application makes it in before they close it out. Like the lottery, you have to be in it to win it!
Talk to friends, colleagues, family members, and anyone else in your network to find an ‘in’ with the employer. But asking these people for ‘help’ isn’t good enough. Talk to connections about a specific opportunity, that way it’s easier for them to take action and actually help put you in touch with the right people, preferable the hiring manager.
In addition to your existing network, you can make your own connections with prospective employers. Technology has made it easier to connect with companies and their leaders. Once you’ve identified an opportunity, reach out to the company and its leadership by commenting on blog posts, or liking and sharing content on social media. This way, you can potentially get their attention by demonstrating your expertise.
The job search can often feel like a never-ending and impossible process. But the best job seekers form good habits and take a more proactive approach to land the positions they want. Take back control of your job search, work smarter, not harder and watch your results improve.