I’m going to be honest with you: I’m a bit tired of hearing the saying, “Applying for a job is a full-time job.” Yes, there is some truth to it. Finding a new job is not always easy nor is it always fun. But there are many things that job seekers can do to more efficiently conduct and manage their job searches.
If you find yourself spending hours on the “search” end of searching for a job (or if you’re too lazy, too busy, or too indifferent to dedicate time to a full-on job search), then give these strategies a try.
1. Upload your keyword-rich resume to resume databases
Recruiters use resume databases in a similar way to LinkedIn. They search for qualified candidates based on keyword and location, then contact or log those who might be a match. Because of this, it’s important that you include job and industry keywords in your resume. If you live in a small town, then you should consider using a nearby city for your location, as this will make it more likely for recruiters to find you.
A word of caution: Depending on your current work situation, it’s advisable to upload your resume with the name “Anonymous” and your current work company as “Company Confidential” or “Anonymous.” Recruiters will understand this means that you’re currently employed and that you are not okay with your employer finding out.
2. Let others know you’re looking
It’s good for friends, family, business acquaintances, and others to know that you’re open to the right opportunity should it come along. You can talk about this at networking events, at dinner parties, on social media (so long as you aren’t currently employed), and just about anywhere else—you never know who is going to know someone who knows someone who knows someone.
It should go without saying that you need to be careful with how you do this if you are currently employed. Don’t tell coworkers that you’re open to a new gig and pass on the social media updates. When you do tell people, be clear that it needs to stay quiet.
3. Use Google Reader (or another feed aggregator)
Google Reader is an incredibly fast and easy way to organize your go-to job searches and company career sites. Add the RSS feeds of the job boards you frequent most, then organize the feeds based on job title, location, priority (favorite companies vs. okay companies), and so on. Check your feed daily or weekly to see what’s new, and do it without visiting every single site individually. The Daily Muse has an excellent breakdown of how to set up your feeds.
4. Sign up for job alerts
Job alerts are emails sent to you with job openings that match your search criteria (location, keyword, job title, company, etc). They’re typically sent on a daily or weekly basis and are a great way to find out about new openings without ever visiting a job site.
5. Apply with Indeed or LinkedIn
There’s no faster way to apply—particularly if you’re on your mobile device—than this. Many job boards now offer an option to apply with your existing Indeed or LinkedIn profile. All you have to do is select the appropriate button and your application is submitted in as little as a single click.
Note that this option isn’t always ideal — for instance, when applying to job openings that require a cover letter. You’ll also have to be certain that your LinkedIn and Indeed profiles are up-to-date and properly address all the expertise and experience required for the positions to which you’re applying.
6. Take advantage of moments when you’re motivated
Searching for a job can be an arduous task at times. So take advantage of those moments when you’re truly motivated and do some grunt work yourself. It will help you stay abreast of what’s out there, what you want, and what it will take to get there.
7. Set goals
You’re job seeking for a reason, and that reason likely has to do with some sort of goal. Perhaps you want to work closer to home, make a more-livable wage, climb the corporate ladder, feel more valued, or something else entirely. Whatever the reason, goals are much harder to achieve without deadlines. So hold yourself accountable. Give yourself deadlines and even incentivize yourself if need be (“If I apply to X jobs this week then I will allow myself to do Y”).
By implementing these strategies you’ll have more time to work on the important stuff—like your current job, your personal life, and nailing in-person interviews.
Are you a passive job seeker? What strategies have worked best for you?