If you’ve recently been laid off or fired, you’re likely on the hunt for your next gig. Luckily, with the right steps and a little patience, you’ll be able to land the right job. Four leading career experts agreed to give us the recipe to their secret sauce for snagging a job. Read on for more of their tips.
1. Always stay employed
Just because you were let go from a job doesn’t mean you have to stop working. Dan Schawbel, workplace expert and New York Times best-selling author of Promote Yourself and Me 2.0, says you will be more attractive to hiring managers if you are currently working, even if it’s a volunteer job. Stay active so that you can demonstrate your skills are still sharp and that you’ll be ready to hit the ground running:
Always be working and never be an active candidate. Companies would rather hire passive candidates, get referrals from employees, hire boomerang employees, hire customers, or hire internally than hire an active candidate. You need to do freelance work or a passion project in order to create the perception that you’re more valuable to employers or you will be passed over.
2. Take inventory of your skill set
Dedicate some time to exploring how your skills and experience fit with what each employer is seeking. Career expert Juanita Hines recommends taking stock of the skills that make you stand out from other job applicants:
Do a self-evaluation where you identify what you truly have to offer to an employer and the things that will set you apart from other individuals. If you don’t know your value or where you can best fit, you’ll try to make jobs fit that are not suited for you.
3. Create a LinkedIn Profile
If you don’t have a significant online presence, it’s time to create one. Start by signing up for LinkedIn and creating a detailed profile. Most hiring managers will do an online search when evaluating candidates.
“Network and have a stellar LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is the new Rolodex!” said career expert and strategist Mary Jeanne Vincent.
4. Don’t get lazy
Looking for a new job can be tiring and very frustrating at times, but it’s important to stay committed. Don’t give up. Take time each day to network, send out employment applications, and work toward your goal of snagging your next position. Millennial workplace expert Lindsey Pollak emphasizes the importance of consistency:
“Take consistent action every day. Job hunting is a marathon, not a sprint, and your hard work will pay off,” Pollak said.
5. Be strategic about your job search
You may have bills due and a mortgage to pay, but you should still have a thoughtful job-hunting strategy. Hines says you shouldn’t let desperation drive you to approach your search haphazardly:
Don’t just apply for any and every position that says ‘click to apply.’ Determine what you’re looking for and identify roles where you can be successful and offer value. Often, when you ask job seekers what they’re looking for they say ‘anything.’ There is no such job as anything!
In addition, Schawbel says it’s important to remember to customize your cover letter and résumé for the position you are applying for. It takes a little extra time to do this, but it will be necessary so that you can target the right employers.
6. Tap your network
Simply sitting back and constantly hitting ‘send’ won’t propel your job search. You can’t stop at applying to jobs listed on job boards. Your professional and personal network should also be utilized. Vincent says those in your circle may be able to direct you to jobs that have not been advertised yet:
Before hitting the send button on an electronic application, candidates need to find someone inside the organization to grease the wheels for them. Just this little bit of extra effort will dramatically impact results.
7. Don’t accept just any offer that comes along
Pay attention to the benefits package each employer is offering. If you jump at an offer too quickly, you may be saying yes to a substandard benefits package and end up paying more money in the long run in order to meet gaps in coverage. Pollak recommends taking time to analyze the package being offered:
One mistake is not taking a look at benefits offered by prospective employers. Benefits are part of your overall compensation, as well as a key part of your work-life balance, such as parental leave. If you’re thinking about starting a family in the next year or two after a new job, keep in mind the benefits that you’d need as a parent. In the past, this benefit might have been considered a “woman’s issue.” Today, it’s an issue for both men and women, according to recent research. Half of millennial men in The Hartford’s 2015 Millennial Parenthood Survey said they are taking time off after a baby and sharing child care responsibilities.