Keshreeyaji R. Oswal
As the American economy moves toward a reasonable pandemic recovery, it is continuing to see an increasing pace of new job openings. At the same time, entry-level applicants and recent college graduates have faced, at times, significant resistance in their job search. In this short guide, I provide you with a set of pointers to help you overcome this resistance and distinguish your application in today’s complex digital job marketplace.
1. Map out your professional network
An excellent place to start your job search is to see who you can reach out to in your network. These connections may be your former professors, supervisors, colleagues, recruiters, and even friends and family who are willing to offer advice. A few things you might ask your connections are:
- Do you know of any job positions that I would be a good fit for?
- Do you have professionals in your network who are in my industry and would be willing to connect with me?
- If applicable, could you write me a reference letter to support my application?
2. Create, update, and optimize your LinkedIn, Glassdoor and/or AngelList profiles
With a growing user base of more than half a billion professionals throughout the globe, LinkedIn is an important yet commonly overlooked networking tool for job seekers. Other web-based networking tools such as Glassdoor and AngelList can also help you expand your virtual network, especially as an entry-level applicant. The Japanese company, Recruit Holdings Co., lists several excellent job search engines and staffing websites for job searches in the United States and beyond – Indeed, Glassdoor, Workopolis, Staffmark, and Recruit Global Staffing.
3. Expand your job search to platforms like Indeed, Monster, ZipRecruiter, and CareerBuilder
To better sort through and manage large pools of applicants, employers are increasingly relying on websites like Indeed. Expanding your job search by opening a free account with these job sites and keeping an up-to-date resume on file can help hiring managers find you easily.
Remember that your success with job search platforms heavily relies on the quality of your online profile.
4. If you are interested in a government position, expand your job search to USAJOBS.gov and similar government job platforms.
Like traditional online job platforms, the United States federal government operates its own free jobs site called usajobs.gov. Similarly, most city, county, and state governments have their own websites serving the same purpose.
Before you apply to a federal government position, read this resume guide: What should I include on my federal resume?
5. Customize your online resumes by a set of employer centered keywords from their job descriptions.
These keywords are central to optimizing your chances for being flagged by the computer database for the position of your choice.
6. Instead of applying indiscriminately, make a short list of job descriptions that match your qualifications and personal interests
Then, put some effort into customizing your resume and cover letter for each job. This customization is important because employers do not want to look at candidates who are so lazy that they can’t individually address their cover letters to each employer. Your cover letter should always have the full address of your employer above the salutation and try to address your letter to the appropriate staff member in charge of the job search. Tracking down the exact hiring manager and the department is tricky in these online job descriptions unless the employer has provided this information on its own.
7. Don’t glance past job opportunities just because you think you don’t have the preferred qualifications!
These are pandemic times, and, in many areas, employers are struggling to fill positions. If you see that the job is a notch above your qualifications don’t hesitate to apply. You never know! Many employers are willing to train new employees on a particular skill if they are otherwise qualified.
8. If you have an employment gap, do not worry!
In this market, most employers will not make an issue out of it and might still offer you a job! However, be prepared to provide an explanation for the gap to the hiring team.
9. These days recruiters are not just for executive level positions
If you have met a recruiter at a college fair, renew that contact and provide them an up-to-date copy of your resume. Also, ask around in your network for additional recruiter contacts. The recruiters are paid by employers; so, you do not have to worry about the cost.
10. Give employers a reliable phone number and time when the search manager can reach you
Do not put too many limitations on the times they may call you although you may not want to answer their call while you are at work at your temporary job or during a class. If you really are interested, you should get back to them the same day. A slow response from a candidate can be interpreted as a lack of serious interest in the position.
11. If the prospective employer calls you to set up an interview, write a thank you note right after you schedule an interview
Write another longer thank you note right after the interview where you emphasize your reasons for liking this position and how you appreciate the opportunity of interviewing with them.
12. If you get rejected by an employer, ask for their feedback
Such feedback can help you improve your application materials.
13. If you learned something from my step-by-step guide, feel free to spread this advice with your peers on your social media!
Apollo Global Management, & Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. (2021). CareerBuilder. Retrieved December 27, 2021, from https://www.careerbuilder.com/
Microsoft Corporation. (2021). LinkedIn. Retrieved December 27, 2021, from https://www.linkedin.com/
United States Office of Personnel Management. (2021). What should I include in my federal resume? Retrieved December 27, 2021, from https://www.usajobs.gov/Help/faq/application/documents/resume/what-to-include/
Randstad NV. (2021). Monster Jobs. Retrieved December 27, 2021, from https://www.monster.com/
Recruit Holdings Co. (2021). Glassdoor Job Search. Retrieved December 27, 2021, from https://www.glassdoor.com/index.htm
Recruit Holdings Co., Ltd. (2021). Indeed. Retrieved December 27, 2021, from https://www.indeed.com/
Recruit Holdings Co., Ltd. (2021). Recruit Global Staffing. Retrieved December 27, 2021, from https://rgfstaffing.com/
Recruit Holdings Co., Ltd. (2021). Staffmark. Retrieved December 27, 2021, from http://www.staffmark.com/home/
Recruit Holdings Co., Ltd. (2021). Workopolis. Retrieved December 27, 2021, from https://www.workopolis.com/en/
Venture Hack, Inc. (2021). AngelList. Retrieved December 27, 2021, from https://angel.co/
ZipRecruiter, Inc. (2021). ZipRecruiter. Retrieved December 27, 2021, from https://www.ziprecruiter.com/
Keshreeyaji R. Oswal holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Puget Sound. His research interests reside in the area of urban environment and health. He works for the Washington State Health Care Authority. He also serves as a commissioner on the City of Tacoma Human Rights Commission.
Keshreeyaji R. Oswal. (2021). Why aren’t employers calling me?: Completing a successful job search is more about strategy than rigor. the Western ABC Bulletin, 3.2.