5 Ways to Start Your Targeted Job Search Today

The job search process is a full-time job! I am sure you heard this before or experienced it yourself. When you use the same resume to apply for 50 jobs, you are in reactive job search mode. The reactive job search makes the employer choose your career. A proactive job search targets the roles and companies you want. You tailor your resume to each job description using keywords and an ATS-friendly resume formatting.

You think about what you want next and target the companies, job titles, and tasks you want to do. The strategic search maximizes your time and reduces stress. According to FlexJobs, a targeted job search can help you get better results from your efforts. Follow these 5 tips and start your targeted job search today.

1 – Choose your next job and industry

You must know where you want to go next. Think about the tasks you enjoy doing and create a list of your skills. Ask yourself: do I have the skills for the job? Can I take on additional projects in my current role? Can I transfer into a new department? Can I volunteer to learn a new skill?

Check out job boards and make a list of your transferable skills. You may need to take a class to learn skills that would help you land your new job. After some reflection, you may not need a complete career change. You may be happy doing a similar role and tasks in another industry. Your current issue could be your work environment, your team, or your manager. Take time to understand your needs and wants. Learn about the new industry or department, and reach out to people for informational interviews. It is a great way to network and position yourself for the new role.

2 – Create job alerts based on company and title

Is your dream to work for Apple? Create a job alert even if they do not have a new job for you today. Create a list of companies that you admire or that make products that you enjoy. Research the company, figure out their benefits and salary for the role. You can create generic job alerts or target them to the job you want. If you resonate with the company’s mission, enjoy their service or product, write about it in the cover letter.

If you cannot think of a company list, create job alerts for job titles. Read job descriptions, create word clouds, and a list of keywords to include in your resume. Spell out acronyms at least once in your resume (Registered Nurse (RN)). Add your city and state to your resume, especially for remote or flexible roles. Companies may not do business in your state and cannot hire you as an employee or contractor.

3 – Tailor your resume bullet points to the job description

Most companies use a database software called Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to store and select resumes. The recruiter adds keywords to the ATS and selects resumes that have the skills and experience needed. If you have keywords in your resume that match the job description, you increase your selection chances. Recruiters check the resume information for 6-10 seconds before deciding on the screening call.

Recruiters seek people with experience related to the job description. If you have the experience for the job, and it is in another industry, learn how to use your transferable skills. Write bullet points in line with the job description and describe your impact using numbers. Use similar keywords in your bullet points and technical skills based on the job description. You do not need to create multiple resumes, but you may change a few sentences to match the job description.

If you lack experience or transferable skills, find ways to volunteer, take classes, and network. Write a cover letter explaining your career change with each job application. Do not add work experience to the resume to get an interview. Recruiters and hiring managers know when candidates lack experience based on answers and body language.

4 – Explain your ‘why’ in the cover letter

The cover letter is not a repetition of your resume. Write about why you want the job and company, and discuss how you solved a problem and the outcome. If you are changing jobs, they must understand your reason. Why are you pursuing this new career? You can also discuss your transferable skills for the new role. For example, you earned IT certifications for an IT Support role: I have answered a multi-line phone system and screened 50+ calls daily while working in a fast-paced environment. I will communicate effectively with customers and reply to calls, chat messages, and emails on time.

You can create a cover letter template and change your sentences based on the company and job description. Do not send a generic cover letter that does not tell your story. Unless the job description states no cover letter, you should write one.

5 – Network and create content

Before you ask for something, ensure you are willing to help people and provide value. Connect with people on LinkedIn, and create a customized request or message. End your message with a question: Hi Z, I am shifting into your industry and noticed that you work for X. I would like to connect and learn more about your journey. What do you like the most about working for X?

Let friends and family know about your job search and what you are seeking. They may know people willing to talk to you. Discussing your career goal helps you brainstorm your achievements and reply to interview questions. You can get insights from other professionals and position yourself as the right candidate. Your connection may refer you to a job.

Another way to showcase your expertise is content creation. If you are learning a new skill, create content about your journey. Do not be afraid to post on LinkedIn even if you are seeking a similar role. You can comment on posts and continue your networking efforts. For a private job search, send a direct message when you reach out to people.

As some may say, you will get there faster if you know where you are going. The Job search is a manageable task when you take strategic actions. Use these tips to start your targeted job search journey today. Reach out to career experts for advice and strategies to increase your success. The job search process has ups and downs, and you will face rejection, but stand up and move on. Believe in yourself and get the job you deserve. You got this!

by Ana Goehner
Career Support Specialist
Digital Butterfly Communications, LLC

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