Regardless of your job search situation, there are a few must-do actions you need to take before applying for any position. The first two must-do actions involve your resume, and the last to have to do with your networking skills. To increase your chances of landing the position you want, perform the following actions.
1. Overhaul Your Resume
Unless you've updated your resume within the last month or two, it probably needs some revisions. This should be the first must-do action on your list. Maybe your resume is a bit dusty because you haven't changed jobs in a few years, or maybe you just graduated from college and need to include your graduation date, the activities you participated in during your senior year or an internship you just completed. Maybe some of your accomplishments or jobs don't relate to the industry in which you want to work. If these scenarios apply to your resume, it's time for an overhaul. After updating your document, look at it with a critical eye. If you were a hiring manager, would you want to hire someone with your credentials?
2. Adapt Your Resume to the Job
The second must-do action is to adapt your resume to each position. Each job you apply for is going to be different in some way. Look for keywords in the job description, and use them in your resume and cover letter. There may be particular skills the employer is seeking. If you have those, make them stand out on your document. Only include the skills and abilities you actually have. Be as honest as possible on your document, since not doing so can hurt your credibility in the industry.
3. Review Your Social Media Profiles
If you use social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook to reach out to employers, make sure your information is up-to-date and professional. Giving employers access to your social media profiles gives you the chance to tell your story in a way that isn't reflected in your application materials. LinkedIn is especially helpful when you're searching for a job, as you can join industry-related groups and meet other professionals. You can also share industry stories and other helpful information with your online network, which may impress hiring managers who are looking through your profile.
4. Network With Employees of the Company
A resume and cover letter can be impersonal if there isn't a face or a name to go with them. For this must-do action, instead of submitting your materials and then reaching out to professionals in the company, do the opposite. Take the time to learn the names and backgrounds of key personnel, and reach out to them. Let them know you're interested in applying for the open position, and show your enthusiasm for the company and the job.
These four must-do actions are vital for your job search success. They don't take very long to complete and make it possible for you to stand out from other applicants.
Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net