Emily McCrary-Ruiz-Esparza is the content strategist at InHerSight where she writes about data and women’s rights.
There’s more to landing a great job than a nicely formatted resume and a poised interview. Sometimes the job hunt is a grind, sometimes the opportunities come to you, but many of us are approaching the question of how to get a job in ways that don’t serve us, that don’t actually land us a job we want at a company that supports us.
InHerSight’s Complete Guide to Getting a Job will walk you through the eight steps most jobs searches comprise:
Let’s get started on your job search.
1. Identify your values
Your job search should begin with what you want and need.
The best job for you is one that makes the most of your talent and skill. The best company for you is one whose values align with your own. What you want out of your career may change with time, so whether this is your first job search or fifth, check in with yourself on what matters now.
Ask yourself these questions as you plan your job search, perhaps even writing out your answers. They will be a helpful guide.
Questions to ask as you begin your job search
Once you’ve identified what you want in a new job, it’s time to lay out what you have to offer a company.
2. Take inventory of what you have to offer a potential employer
No matter where you are in your career, take inventory of what you have to offer a potential employer. This will inform your resume and your job search.
Are you operationally minded and excel at creating efficient systems? Do you have excellent customer service skills? Are you a mentor to younger employees? Do you have an extensive network of contacts the company might be interested in tapping?
Companies look for candidates with both soft skills and concrete skills to add to their workforce. Take a moment to make a list of what you bring to the table.
If you’re considering a career change, take detailed inventory of your transferable skills, like critical thinking, communication (both verbal and written), technical skills (like programming, software, modeling, or processes), team management, and creativity.
3. Build a killer resume
There’s no rule to how long your resume should be as long as what you’ve included is relevant. Sheer number of pages will not get you noticed unless you are able to fill those pages with relevant information. For example, if you’re eight years into your career as a product manager, college internships or study abroad programs are no longer relevant.
Recruiters and hiring managers review hundreds of resumes, so readability is key. Show your resume to a trusted friend who will be honest with you. Give them 15 seconds to review and then ask, What did you notice first? What kind of job would you imagine I’m applying for?
Aside from professional experience and education, what should your resume include?
Resume tips: If you’re looking for a new job
Resume tips: If you’ve never had a job before
4. Check in on your social media presence
Before you hit the job market, take a careful look at your social media presence. Roughly 70 percent of employers say they’ve looked up potential employees on social media. There’s no need to purge all social channels or set everything to private. In fact, social media can be used to help you get a great job, and 57 percent of hiring managers say they’re less likely to hire someone they can’t find on social media.
Clear out anything you consider questionable or borderline. If you’ve ever complained about an employer or coworkers, delete those posts. Pull down photos of that wild trip to Cabo on your last spring break. Use your best judgement on posts with salty language.
Tips for using social media to get a job
5. Use your network
Whether you’re a recent grad, an experienced veteran in your field, or seeking a career change, you have a network you can tap in your job search. So start talking.
How to tap into your network to get a job
6. Submit tailored and thoughtful applications
Finding a great job is not a volume game. If you approach the job hunt as a statistical problem that will lead to a job if only you submit enough applications, you will be disappointed.
Take the time to tailor your applications to the position you’re applying for. This includes both your resume and cover letter.
Your resume is all about you. Where you’ve been, what you’ve accomplished. Use it to list professional experience, education, volunteer experience, awards and accolades, qualifications and certifications, and specific accomplishments.
Your cover letter is not about you. Your cover letter is about the company you’re applying to. Employers love flattery. Use your cover letter to illustrate what you love about the company, why their mission or products or organization excite you. Identify common values, areas where you feel you could add value, or a client or project of theirs you feel passionate about.
7. Interview the company
The interview is your opportunity to interview the company. When you land an interview (congrats!), go back to your list of values and craft questions that get at those values.
Remember that leading questions get packaged answers. If the type of people you work with is important to you, ask, How would you describe the type of people who work here? rather than Do you think good people work here?
Here are a few more questions you might ask an interviewer:
Questions to ask in a screening call
In larger organizations, you may have a phone screening call with a recruiter or a member of human resources. This person will likely know more about company culture and high-level information about the position.
Questions to ask a hiring manager
The hiring manager for a position will know more about the team and the day-to-day operations of the role.
After the interview, send a thank-you email to the recruiter and manager. Thank them for their time and let them know you’re still interested in the position (or not). You might even list a few things you learned in the interview that excite you about the position or the company.
8. Be patient
Finding a job may take time, and that’s okay. It’s better to patiently pursue the right job for you than to make a hasty leap. The right job at a company that supports your skills and growth is worth the wait.
Bonus tip: If the search is taking longer than you had hoped, consider taking on freelance projects or consulting work for companies you’re interested in. This could help move the needle on your relationship.
How to Accept a Job Offer: