Finding a new job, whether in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area or otherwise, is rarely easy. Don’t lose hope – there are steps you can take to prepare yourself for the challenge and find success.
1. Check the qualifications
While you’re not guaranteed to get a position because the job description is a “perfect fit” with your background, your resume and cover letter should make it blatantly obvious to the recruiter that you have the qualifications they’re seeking. Study the job posting and update your application materials to match the words and phrases the employer uses to best display your relevant experience.
This is especially important in the digital age when resumes are often first scanned by algorithms. For example, if you’re applying for a job titled “Communications Specialist,” make sure you use those words exactly on your resume or in your cover letter.
Don’t apply to a job unless you meet the majority of the listed qualifications. Despite what other tips may say, it’s better to spend your time finding a new job better suited to your experience than to send out pointless applications. Chances are there are quite a few more applicants applying to the same roles who do meet most of the requirements – and the hiring manager will unfortunately pass over your application.
2. Manage your time
Despite the fact many hiring managers may not read cover letters, they are a vital way to show them you are willing to go the extra mile to get hired. A helpful tip to find a new job is to create your own cover letter template for each type of position. For example, when applying to four different data analyst roles, you can use the same description for your experience as a data analyst every time. This way, you can show you’re a serious candidate without spending hours of time writing a completely new letter for each application.
Another way to save time is to check the date of the job posting. If you see a posting from six months ago, it has likely already been filled. A good tip is to find new job postings that are less than one week old. This way, you’ll surely be one of the first to apply.
Finally, sort your saved job listings into similar categories and save all your application materials. It will take less time to apply to ten administrative assistant roles in a row than it will to apply to ten completely different positions.
3. Stand out among your peers
Your personality and manners will help you stand out while finding a new job. Prove you are someone the employer wants to work with – send polite, specific thank you notes after every interview. When breaking a tie between two candidates, hiring managers are likely to consider this as a factor.
There are hundreds, even thousands of people competing for the same jobs as you. Stand out by networking – reach out directly to people working at your desired company. Schedule an informational interview with would-be peers to learn more about the company, showcase yourself as someone they would want to work with, and make a good impression on those who can either recommend you or offer you an interview.
Another tip for finding a new job is to reach out within your own circle. A referred candidate is far more likely to be hired than an unfamiliar candidate – in fact, we give referral bonuses because we know how powerful referrals are. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends if their companies are looking to fill a role relevant to your expertise.
4. Stay positive
It’s understandable to feel disheartened during the job search process. One way to work around that is to find purpose in the waiting. Use this time between jobs to sharpen your skills, reflect on your goals and network.
Finding a new job is definitely hard work, and even with the best tips, you may face a lot of rejection before successfully landing an offer. Don’t let these realities dampen your spirit. Keys to a successful job search are a positive attitude, confidence and determination. Remember, many of your interviewers could be your future coworkers; they’re looking for someone who is both qualified and enjoyable to work with. Showcase your experience and professionalism, but still do your best to come across as endearing and likable.
5. Prepare for your interview
In order to find a new job, it’s crucial to make a good impression during interviews. Win over any hiring manager by doing your best to go into an interview with high energy.
Don’t be discouraged if a hiring manager doesn’t follow up with you. It could be a sign you didn’t get the job, but you can still reach out with a respectful follow-up letting them know you’re still interested. It’s a good idea to include something positive that stood out to you during your interview.
For more tips on acing your interviews while finding a new job, check out our list of interview do’s.
6. Consider temporary work
Temporary work helps fill in what would otherwise be gaps in your resume. It also allows you to build experience for full-time work or open a door into a company you otherwise would not have an opportunity to work for. Temporary work can lead to a full-time position in quite a few cases.
If you’re struggling to find a new job in Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia or Maryland, contact Whitman Associates. We provide guidance, insight and personalized service when it comes to meeting candidate needs. Find out how our experienced team can streamline your approach to obtaining a permanent or temporary role in your industry. Contact us today!