Follow these steps in your job search and land the job you want

Knowing you need to get out there and find a new job is one thing, but knowing where to begin your job search is another. Before you start to burn yourself out by doing everything at the same time, however, take some time to consider your approach.

This is your ultimate online job search strategy.

Get your resume ready

Ensure you’re carefully reading job descriptions, which will clue you into the skills and qualities you should be highlighting. Incorporating the right keywords can get your resume past an applicant tracking system (ATS), which plenty of companies are now incorporating in their recruitment processes. 

Search engine optimization consultant Rachel Rowan Stamper advises that even if a company is not using an ATS, “including clear, relevant keywords increases the odds that your skills will jump off the page to someone screening with limited time”.

But it’s not just your resume that you should be working on once you decide to begin a job search. You’ll need to ensure your social media profiles are in order, since companies are increasingly using these networks to hire new people - 65 percent do so, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. 

Social media can be a highly valuable tool during your job search, so make sure you’re presenting yourself as capable and qualified to impress anyone who happens to be doing some background research on you.

Stay focused

Glassdoor’s Catherine Burns advises taking some time to “reflect on what you’d like to do and why you feel that’s the right path for you” before you begin your job search. 

She recommends you begin by thinking about your long-term goals since those don’t need to be too specific. Consider where you want to be in ten years from now, then work backwards from there down to five years, one year, and six months.

Once you’ve done this, think of the employers you want to work for. Make a list of the values you prioritize and what you’re looking for in an employer, then narrow down the organizations you’ll potentially apply to from this list. These companies should be the first you approach.

Prepare your elevator pitch

You need to give a great answer when you’re asked to tell the hiring manager a bit about yourself. Your elevator pitch can help you nail down what you’re looking for, as well as help you establish the value you can add to a company. This can give you a confidence boost when you need it most.

Your elevator pitch should consist of a short summary of your experience, why you’re looking to move on and what value you can add to the company interviewing you. Use it to differentiate yourself so you start strong and set the tone for the rest of the interview. 

By immediately emphasizing how you can contribute to the company’s growth, you’ll be giving yourself a shot at convincing the hiring manager you’re the person for the job.

Track your activity

With so much going on, the job search can be a confusing time, so it’s advisable to track your activities so you know what you’ve done. After all, you don’t want to risk sending two different applications for the same job. As Burns explains, “job searching is a time-consuming process and requires regular attention”, so you’ll need to dedicate some time to tracking what you’ve done.

Keep a spreadsheet with your activity recorded to ensure there are no double applications or resumes addressed to the wrong person. Here, you can include details of the organizations you’ve applied to, as well as any deadlines for requested work samples or important dates. It’s a good idea to use a cloud-based service so you can access and edit it from various devices wherever you happen to be.

Network effectively

Meeting the right people can open doors to new opportunities, as well as boost your opportunities for learning and developing your skills. However, don’t assume you have to constantly meet dozens of people for this to pay off. 

Andrew Sobel, author of Power Relationships, found that most professionals could identify around 25 people that had made a difference to their careers. He advises figuring out who the most important people are and maintaining strong relationships with them.

Once you’ve identified someone you want to connect with, Sobel suggests, you should find a way to help that person. It's always worth finding out their desires and concerns because the chances are high that you'll be able to offer something worthwhile. 

He also suggests that you should play the long game and get onside with up and coming influencers as it will be easier to break into their network early in their careers. Do you know someone who’s going places? Make a connection and foster a strong relationship with that person as it could pay off immensely as you continue your job search.