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Your 2018 Guide to Getting a Job

Debra Hayes
By Debra Hayes - Jan 25, 2018 11:00:00 AM

New Career wooden sign with a street background 

How to Get a Job: Your 2018 New Year, New Job Guide

Many new positions hit the job market every day, making it easy for job seekers to hit that apply button for every online listing they encounter. But finding a dream job that will keep you satisfied long-term requires more finesse. Many people don’t know where to start or the steps to take to find - and secure - an offer for a job that best suits their skills and career goals. Here are some career-saving tips that will get you jump started.

  1. Identify your skillset to find the right job for you.
    Instead of focusing on a job title in your job search, focus on the required skills (this is really important). Job titles are evolving and changing. While you might be searching for a particular title, there may be other, more suitable positions available with a slightly different title. By identifying your skills – those performed in the job, the tools you have experience using, and personal attributes that support your ability to perform your work – and matching them to the skills employers are seeking, you can expand and better target your job search.
  1. Use online resources and company websites to identify opportunities.
    Search for jobs on job search sites and company career pages. When using job sites, start with a specific job title that you are interested in, then use the “suggested jobs” or “similar jobs” feature to identify additional opportunities. LinkedIn is also a great place to look for open positions.
  1. Narrow down to a few high-quality job opportunities to apply to.
    Applying to jobs is more about the quality than the quantity of opportunities. Research each company before applying to ensure it is a company you are interested in working for. When reviewing jobs, some questions to keep in mind are, “Where is the job located?”, “What are the company values?”, and “Do employees like working there?” Use sites like Glassdoor to learn what current and past employees have said about their workplace experience, along with your professional networks to see if you might know or be connected to someone who can offer added perspective.
  1. Download and save attractive job listings for future reference.
    Copy and paste or print the job listing and description for each position you want to apply to so you can reference it at a later time. Many employers may remove a job listing before a position is filled if they believe they have the right candidates in their applicant pool. By saving the job description, you have the qualifications to look back on when preparing for a potential interview.
  1. Customize your resume for each job application.
    It’s important to tailor your resume to fit the job you are applying for. While your resume will contain many of the same elements from job to job – skills, experience, education, etc. – customization based on the job description can often give you a competitive edge.
  1. Ensure your cover letter doesn’t restate your resume.
    Your cover letter is a supplement to your resume, not a copy of it.  In your cover letter, you should share a bit more about who you are, what you have to offer and why you are the right fit for the position and employer. You should also include a call to action such as, “I will contact your office in the next few days to identify a time we can discuss next steps.” Not sure if you even need a cover letter? When in doubt, draft and send it with your resume. It can give a hiring manager more detail into who you are and further separate you from the competition.
  1. Study hard for your interview.
    Preparing for your interview is threefold:  1) know about the company, the work they do, and the job you are interviewing for, 2) practice answering common and tough interview questions with family or friends, and 3) if you know the individuals you will be interviewing with, look them up online to learn about their background.
  1. Always ask your interviewer questions.
    Be prepared for your interviewer to ask you if you have any questions for him or her. It is important that you have some questions ready. If you don’t ask questions, you can run the risk of unintentionally appearing disengaged or uninterested. Some questions may include: “Please tell me about the growth opportunities at this company?”, or “What is your favorite thing – and biggest challenge – about working here?”
  1. Send a thank you note after your interview.
    Always follow up with the people who you interviewed with to share appreciation for the time they took to meet with you. How you send the note is up to you – email or snail mail – but be sure to include your thanks and reiterate your interest in the position, sharing how you think you are the ideal candidate for the job. Be timely in sending your thank you note.
  1. When offered the job, don’t accept on the spot.
    Congratulations – you got the job! Most employers will call you to make the official job offer. On the call, you should thank the employer for the offer and confirm when you will need to accept by. Some may request your acceptance later that day, others may give you a bit more time. Take the time they give you to carefully review the offer, and if necessary, go back to them to negotiate. Use a tool like Glassdoor’s Know Your Worth tool to ensure you are receiving fair market pay based on where you live, your job title, relevant work experience, and other factors.