We’ve all been there: you send out 20 resumes and anxiously await a response. A week goes by—nothing. You check the ringer on your phone…it seems to be working. You check your spam/junk folder…there’s nothing out of the ordinary in there (well, nothing related to job openings at least). Applying for a job can be a tough job in itself.
Here are 5 tips to help you stay on track and get results:
1. Apply for the “Best Fit”
Keep your job search narrow and focused. Apply for jobs that are in alignment with your work experience, not jobs that "sound fun" or that you'd "maybe like to try." Don't apply for every job you see, apply for jobs for which you meet the qualifications.
Explain exactly why you are the perfect candidate for that specific job. When building your resume and cover letter, use industry- and job-specific keywords that are mentioned in the job opening that you are applying for. Take the time to tailor your cover letter and resume to that job—don't use the same generic resume or cover letter for every job you apply to. Employers want to know what makes you the best fit for them, and the best way to showcase that is to focus your resume around the skills they are seeking.
2. Track Your Applications
Keep a running list of the jobs that you applied for, including when you applied and when you plan to follow up with the employer. Include a link to the job posting or a few notes on the job and where you found the listing. Keeping accurate records will keep you sharp when an employer does call to talk about a position.
3. Follow Up in an Appropriate Timeframe
Always follow up 2 weeks after applying for a position. Sooner than that doesn’t allow enough time for your application to be reviewed. If the company is smaller, you may be able to follow up after 1 week. When applying through a referral, it is okay to follow up after 1 week. When in doubt, 2 weeks works.
4. Be Professional—and No Stalking!
When you follow up, send an email in a professional tone. Remember that you are a candidate—so never get casual. Do not "stalk" the employer. If you have already sent an email, do not follow up with numerous phone calls and emails within the same week if you have not heard back. They are busy reviewing hundreds of applicants and it may take time for them to get back to you.
5. Stay Positive and Committed
Remember that searching for a full-time job can be a full-time job. Be proactive and creative in your job search. If you are not finding new postings on the same old job boards, then start researching alternatives. If you are interested in a particular company, go to their company website and search their job postings. Many times companies do not advertise all of their job opportunities on job boards.
If you maintain a narrow, focused search you will end up avoiding a lot of the frustration that many job searchers feel when they apply for each and every job they see. Tap into your network on a regular basis and remind your contacts that you are looking.
Above all, STAY POSITIVE! This is a time you need your support systems, so make sure to leverage them. Spend time with family and friends who can help keep you on track and upbeat.
Good luck. And remember, when you need additional support or guidance, the Kaplan University Career Services Team can offer assistance. We are here to help! Visit us via the Career Network on KU Campus.