Picking the best job search strategies is the first big challenge for every job seeker. With the right combination of tactics, you can make sure your job application is at the top of the pile for many of the jobs you apply to.
Early on in the application process, you don’t have to be a 100% match for the job if you use the right approach (networking). However, if you’re submitting an application online with a company where you’re not familiar with anyone, then you have much less room for error. If you go down the path of a 100% match, it won’t be any easier to prove yourself in the interview, but it should give you a better chance of getting there in the first place.
Once any of these avenues lead you to an interview, you need to prepare for the most important part of any job search strategy: proving you’re a great fit for the company. What the interviewer is looking for in the ideal candidate is someone who fulfills these requirements (listed in order of importance). In a previous episode of Career Q&A, J.T. O’Donnell brought up three parts of well-crafted job search strategies:
If you aren’t a fit based on your personality, you’re not going to get hired. If you’re teachable, then you can grow into the role or a future position within that company. If you’re positive, then you can fight through the toughest problems. If you can lead people, you’ll always be in demand. Being organized can help for administrative roles, while being creative is great for big-picture thinking.
Unlike a selfish, closed-minded person, you can find a way to show how any personality trait can be a fit given the right opportunity. Brainstorm the traits you have and link them to the responsibilities they match before you go to the interview so they flow more freely when you’re there. (You get bonus points for knowing them whenever you’re speaking to someone who could help you in your job search.)
In an interview (and maybe beforehand if they do their homework), companies will ask you a lot of behavioral questions. If you have the natural skills and abilities to do the work they need done, you will be able to answer these questions well. Show that you’re bright, inquisitive and open-minded in your responses and you’ll be a large step closer to getting the job.
If you can tell a story about the most challenging problem you solved or toughest customer you dealt with, you have a good start. (If you can mention a different tale for each type of problem you have dealt with, then you’ll be even better off.)
Do you have enough experience to do the job well? If you’ve been in one role at one company for a while and they’re looking for someone with the same job title, you should be a good candidate. That isn’t the only way you can prove you have enough experience though. Show the similarities in responsibilities between your last job and the one they’re trying to fill to hammer home your candidacy.
(If you can show that you’ve made it in an environment like theirs, you have another card you can play. For instance, if you’ve worked on a team of five people where each person has one area of expertise and a general knowledge of everything else, and this company has the same setup, then regardless of exactly what you did, they know you can function properly in that setting.)
Employers put more emphasis on the first two categories on this list for a good reason: if you don’t have the most experience, you can use your personality and aptitude to keep yourself in the best position to succeed. There’s no perfect substitute for a lack of experience, but mixing the right attitude and intelligence level can get you pretty close. If you have demonstrated all three of these qualifications, then you’re a great candidate for the job.
Enjoy this article? You’ve got time for another! Check out these related articles:
- The Secret ‘Sauce’ To Any Job Search
- 3 Reasons Networking Is A Job Search Priority
- Interview Cheat Sheet: 8 Tips For A Flawless Interview
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