Starting your career isn’t easy. In fact, it’s probably going to be one of the hardest things you’ve ever done for a couple reasons:
- It takes a long time
- Depending on who you ask, the average job search can take anywhere from 3-6 months.
- You’re using skills you’ve never used before
- How prepared were you to start interviewing for jobs and negotiating your pay straight out of college/high school? Unfortunately, "finding a job" isn't one of the core skills we're taught in education.
- You’re competing with hundreds if not thousands of other candidates
- Also, depending on what type of career you want to get into, expect to compete with over 10,000 other candidates for a single position.
- It’s almost completely out of your control.
- The only thing you can do to maximize your chances is to play the statistics. You can’t study your way through a job application like you can an exam.
Instead of being discouraged, lets look at this from a different perspective. We know it typically takes a long time to find a job, so how can we shorten the time we're spending looking for a job as much as possible? In this post, I want to give you tips that will not only help you land a job quickly, but help you land a quality job that's relevant to your career of interest as well. Here are 5 steps to shortening your job search and getting hired as quickly as possible:
1) Know What You Want
Depending on the study, ~65-70% of new college graduates struggle to get started in their career, either being unemployed or working in a field unrelated to their major. In this GradStaff survey, 75% of job seekers said that the two biggest obstacles to finding a job (other than work experience) were:
- “I don’t know what positions are a fit for me”
- “I don’t know what to do with my major”
One of the biggest reasons job searching takes so long, is that many people simply don’t know what they’re searching for. That’s why making a list of possible career choices and fields you would like to enter is one of the most important things you can do to accelerate your job search. In short, know what you want to do.
2) Mass Apply (It's a Numbers Game)
Once you’ve decided on your list of 3-5 possible careers you’d like to work in, start applying to every job posting you can find in that career field that was posted in the last 7 days. We can start narrowing things down and being pickier later, but initially we’re going to play the numbers game. Remember, no matter how good your resume or application package is, there’s still a higher chance you WON’T get picked for an interview.
Think of it this way, with a decent interview you should have at minimum a 1% callback rate, so every 100 applications should yield 1 interview. Essentially, each job application increases your chances of being called in for an interview by 1%. The better your resume, the higher those chances which effectively reduce the amount of job applications you need to send in (which is why we highly recommend tailoring your resume!). Having a 2% callback rate essentially means that you’ve reduced the amount of applications you need to send by half. This is why it’s important to not only play the numbers game, but to have a good resume as well.
Also, the idea behind mass applying is to apply regardless of the required experience and skills on the job posting. See a job posting that has all sorts of scary requirements? Apply anyway.
3) Tailor Your Resume
Speaking of a good resume, the best resume is a tailored one. ~60% of hiring managers say that a tailored or customized resume is one of the most important factors when deciding on interview candidates. So what exactly does it mean to tailor your resume?
A tailored resume will:
- Include the job title and company name in your objective statement.
- Include keywords and phrases from the job posting in your resume.
- Highlight qualifications and work experience that match the requirements of the job posting.
- Include and describe skills relevant to what the job posting is asking for in a candidate.
Keep in mind that while quantity of job applications is definitely important, quality is what will determine how time efficient you are in your job hunt. If it takes you a whole month to apply to 100 job postings and you only get 1 interview, you're not really giving yourself the best chance of finding a job quickly. However, if you're improving the quality of your resume by tailoring it and increasing that 1% callback rate to a 5% callback rate? You're now receiving 5 interview calls a month, significantly increasing your chances of landing a good job.
4) Include a Cover Letter (Play the Statistics)
Because we’re trying to give ourselves the best chance, a cover letter is going to be essential to your application packet. According to this survey, ~40% of hiring managers say a cover letter makes them pay more attention to an application. One thing I would recommend is to not spend TOO much time on your cover letter. Many managers won’t care if you include one and the half that do will just check to see it’s there. However, that doesn't mean it should be bad! Check out our post HERE to learn how to write a cover letter.
“If only 40% care, doesn’t that mean that most DON’T care?” While true for the most part, it’s better to play safe especially because we’re playing the numbers game and trying to give each application the best chance possible. Remember, the goal is to maximize our chances!
5) Create a LinkedIn Profile
Did you know that the vast majority of recruiters and hiring managers use LinkedIn to find their candidates? If you’re looking for a job and NOT using LinkedIn, you’re missing out. If you want to learn how to create an effective LinkedIn profile, check out our previous article HERE. Just make sure you follow these instructions to let recruiters find you!
Of course, remember that even if you do everything perfectly, circumstances can still decide that you’re the unlucky one who gets to wait longer than you’d like. While these steps won’t guarantee your hire, it should help decrease how much time you spend on your job search significantly.
- It takes a long time