According to recruiters, it’s a job seeker’s market – but that doesn’t mean it’s easy for every job seeker to find a new role.
Looking for a new job is a time consuming, emotional process that often causes candidates to second guess their sense of etiquette.
If you’re on the hunt for your dream job, you can use this article to learn 6 key ways to reduce the stress of job searching and increase the chances of receiving an offer.
1. Customize Your Resume
The old advice that a resume should never exceed one page still holds true today. Hiring managers are busy sifting through dozens or even hundreds of applicants’ resumes, and most don’t have time to spare for multiple pages detailing your past experience and achievements.
When condensing your resume down to one page, you should start by prioritizing the roles that are most recent and most relevant.
You can safely remove jobs that you had a long time ago, such as college internships or part-time roles that are no longer applicable to your career path.
Next, spend some time paring down the text that accompanies each job. Ideally, you will craft three bullet points that concisely communicate how your past roles prepared you to excel in the job you’re applying for.
For jobs that are less relevant, feel free to save space by using one or two bullet points instead, and be sure to emphasize experience that is compelling and persuasive for your current job search.
Overall, you want your resume to tell a story about why your past experiences make you perfectly suited for the role you’re applying for.
2. Schedule Interviews Promptly
Most of us are inundated with messages all day, every day. Between texts, Facebook messages, Twitter and Instagram DMs, and multiple email accounts, it’s easy to fall behind on correspondence.
When you’re applying to jobs, however, it’s essential to prioritize all correspondence with hiring managers and recruiters. When you receive a message from a hiring manager or scheduler, be sure to respond as soon as possible, ideally before the end of the work day.
In addition to showing interest, quick responses ensure that you won’t hold up the process on their end.
A reasonable hiring manager will understand that your current job may not allow you to check your personal email until the end of the day or a midday break, but try to be as responsive as possible.
3. Provide Stories and Anecdotes
Once you land a job interview, prepare by gathering a few go-to anecdotes that you can use to expand on the items detailed on your resume.
An average candidate might be able to list his or her strengths, such as being detail-oriented, organized, or enthusiastic about building client relationships.
An outstanding candidate, however, will use an anecdote to demonstrate his or her strengths. For example, a candidate who loves building strong client relationships might share her experience inheriting a difficult, unhappy client who eventually warmed to her, resulting in a major sale.
The interview is a chance to expand on your resume by providing insight into your personality and approach to solving problems. Memorable anecdotes are by far the best way to achieve these goals.
4. Send a Thank You Note
Even if your friends and relatives no longer expect to receive thank you notes, hiring managers are quick to notice which candidates send thank you notes and which do not.
After an interview, you should always follow up with a note thanking the interviewer (or interviewers). Although hiring managers might once have expected a handwritten note, today a simple email is fine.
In it, express gratitude for the interviewer’s time and for sharing insight into the role. If you truly enjoyed the interview and hope to work there, you can personalize the note by listing one or two specific details from the interview that confirmed your enthusiasm about the role.
Try to send the email as soon as you can, no later than the evening after your interview.
5. Decline Politely if the Job Is Not a Fit
In some cases, you might interview for a job only to realize that it isn’t a match for your interests, experiences, skills, or current goals.
If this happens to you, it’s completely all right to remove yourself from the interview process. When you send your thank you note, you can let the hiring manager know that you do not want to be considered for the role.
Most candidates in this position say something like, “After careful consideration, I’ve realized that this role isn’t a strong match for me. Best of luck finding the right candidate for this role!”
Hiring managers appreciate transparency and will be glad to focus their attention on other candidates.
6. Negotiate Based on Market Research
If you decide to accept a job offer, you should always research the average salary, benefits, and perks for similar roles in the area. You can use sites like Glassdoor and poll trusted friends or mentors for insight.
It’s not rude or ungrateful to negotiate an offer; in fact, most businesses fully expect candidates to ask for a pay bump or additional vacation days.
As long as your negotiation is within a reasonable range and comparable to what similar companies offer, most companies will be receptive to hearing you out.
Searching for a job is never easy, even in a job seeker’s market.
By using these tips, you can improve your job search while reducing the stress associated with it.
Along the way, you might even build some lasting professional relationships in your field, even if you decide not to accept an offer.
About the Author
Michelle Delgado is a content marketer and developer at Clutch, a B2B ratings and reviews firm based in Washington DC. She reports on the current state and future of recruitment.