Don’t start the job hunt without reading these 5 tips first

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Would you believe more than half of the people who are currently employed are considering a new job? It feels like we’re always striving for something bigger and better to fulfill our professional and personal goals. But, before you dive into the tedious world of job hunting, be sure to take the necessary steps to ensure you’re as prepared as can be for what your future might hold.

This doesn’t just mean updating your résumé; think a lot harder and deeper about how you’re portraying yourself to potential employers. Here are a few key steps you can take before you embark on the job hunt adventure.

Broaden your job search

While looking for a new job, take the time to really focus on how you want to progress with your professional career. Search for keywords that are broader than you’re used to searching. Sometimes jobs are listed under a variety of topics that you might not be thinking about. For example, if you work in marketing, try searching social media terms, and brand marketing terms to expand your search to reach more companies with even more open positions.

If you’re looking for writing jobs, try searching for magazines and other publications in the area and scouring their websites for open positions that might not show up on job search websites (Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Indeed, etc). You might end up finding something that fits exactly what you’ve been looking for.

Curate a cover letter (every time)

Some applications don’t require a cover letter, but most do. Although it feels easier to just skip the cover letter, never skip it. This is your chance to show the employer who you are and what you’re capable of in your professional field. A cover letter is the best way to talk yourself up, cater to the employer, and show off all of your valid experience.

Take the time to look up various cover letter templates to help you find a format that works for you and your career. It’s also important to read through the position you’re applying for and pick out keywords that are used repeatedly to describe the candidate the company is looking for. Input those specific keywords into your cover letter and back them up with your relevant experience.

This is the perfect way to stand out among the rest of the cover letters employers will be reading. Not only will this make you look good, but it will help boost your confidence for any tough interview questions that come your way in the future.

Follow up with an employee

Don’t you hate being ghosted by companies? Have you ever gone a month or more without hearing back about a job? Trust me, it’s normal. Think about how many people have applied for the job and how much time it is going to take HR to sift through all of the candidates. After about a week or so, I’ve found it beneficial to search for an email address of someone who works in the department you’re looking to be a part of or someone on the HR team.

Make your email short and sweet. Simply state your name, the position you are interested in, and your desire to learn how the hiring process is going so far.

Here is an example to follow:

Dear (Employee Name),

My name is (Name) and I recently applied for the (Job Title) position. I’m very interested in this role and would love to hear how the hiring process is coming along. Let me know!

I look forward to hearing from you,

(Name)

Perfect your résumé

This one is self-explanatory but still so important to the job hunt. Without a clean, updated, and crisp résumé, hiring managers won’t be inclined to reach out to you. The first step is to match your résumé to you and your profession. Make it artistic and colorful if you’re in the arts, make it innovative and dynamic if you’re interested in the business field, and so on. Always keep your résumé updated and always save your résumé as a PDF.

That way employers can quickly check out your résumé without the hassle of downloads, slow internet, etc. Don’t forget to input any keywords that are relevant to the position you’re applying for. Did you know more than half of candidates are eliminated from the online job search by applicant tracking systems? This is due to a lack of relevancy between your résumé and the job description.

Canva is a great tool to use to reformat your résumé. The website provides you with a variety of templates to choose from, allowing you to utilize all the space on the page, and provides fonts, colors, and pictures to fit properly onto your résumé. Take your time while creating it, have friends and coworkers look it over for basic editing and readability purposes.

Secure recommendation letters

Before you start providing various forms of information to a possible future employer, make sure you’ve solidified a couple of recommendation letters. Reach out to previous supervisors and mentors and update them on your career endeavors and what types of jobs you’re applying for. Don’t forget to grab a current email and phone number for each person, so the employer can contact them if need be.

Not all applications ask for recommendation letters, but I’ve found them helpful throughout the interview process. If you’re on a second or third interview, it might be beneficial to pass your letters along to whoever you’ve been conversing with to sort of give yourself a little boost in the hiring process. Any material that highlights your professional work in a positive light can only help you along in the job hunt.

Implement some of these tips right away and get started on finding your dream job. If you’re creative and looking to dive into the marketing/advertising world, check out some job listings here.

This article first appeared on Create + Cultivate.