Tips for a Successful Job Search

As the economy continues to slowly improve, the job market is showing positive signs for job-seekers. While the unemployment rate drops, many still find themselves unemployed and searching for new jobs, or passively looking for better opportunities.

Don’t discount event networking
Parties and events present numerous networking opportunities. Personal and business-related parties and charitable events are opportunities to socialize with existing contacts and make new connections in a relaxed atmosphere. Whether or not individual events are conducive to speaking about career goals and aspirations, they can open the doors to follow-up conversations. Similarly, they are a good time to reconnect. Reach out to a mentor or former colleague and make plans to catch-up for an informal lunch or coffee.

Be open to temporary or contract positions
According to the Randstad Workforce 360 Study, 67 percent of companies are currently using contingent workers in some capacity and most say that contingent workers comprise a steady or increasing percentage of their overall employee populations. The same study found that temporary and contract employees also have higher job satisfaction (86 percent) compared to permanent workers (73 percent). The most important thing you need to do is get your foot in the door. Once you are in, make yourself indispensable so they do not want to lose you.

Be strategic about your job search
When building a job search strategy, research the fastest-growing careers in your target industry. If the target industry is technology, it is helpful to know that IT spending is expected to exceed $2 trillion in 2013, according to research firm IDC. Mobile devices represent 57 percent of that growth, and accordingly, career opportunities in software development for mobile apps and enterprise application integration are expected to increase.

It’s still all about who you know
There are currently 12.1 million people who are unemployed and only 3.6 million vacant positions in the United States, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many applicants rely on job board websites where hundreds of people may apply to each post. If you have specific companies in mind, dig deep into your own personal network. You’d be surprised to see the number of companies you are actually linked-in to through your second and third degree connections.

Consider working with a recruiter
Finding employment is a job within itself. Many jobs out there may not be advertised on job boards or company websites. In turn, employers put out confidential searches and tap into their recruiter networks to fill these jobs. Another benefit of using a recruiter is gaining access to their connections to HR and hiring managers, as well as intimate knowledge of the company. Recruiters coach and prep you through the entire hiring process—which is an advantage when it comes to knowing the prospective company’s culture and other pertinent information not listed online.

Update LinkedIn and social network pages
LinkedIn is the online, searchable version of your resume. Most recruiters use LinkedIn to search for and reach out to potential candidates. The platform also provides employers with more information than a resume and allows them to view recommendations and possible shared connections. Before applying to any positions, clean up your other social media—many employers vet potential candidates with a social media profile review.

Double check all materials
Countless qualified candidates have been overlooked due to spelling or grammatical errors in cover letters and resumes. Another common mistake is sending out materials with the wrong company, hiring manager or position listed. Many hiring managers will automatically toss out any resume that has typos. These are avoidable mistakes. Have a peer review all materials before sending out to ensure any errors are caught.