The 4 Ws of the modern job hunt

The 4 Ws of the modern job hunt

Job applications seem straight forward: submit a resume, cover letter, and maybe a portfolio. Then it’s just a matter of waiting until someone calls back. These are still required in the age of the job site, but there are many new issues involved. When searching for a job, finding a way through the filters can be difficult. Understanding the who, what, when, and where can give you the edge you need to make it in front of the hiring manager.

  1. Know where the people looking for applicants are

    Each employer uses different application methods. Some of the most popular are LinkedIn, Zip Recruiter, and Indeed. Each of them has a different approach to getting candidates in front of employers.

    LinkedIn is a great job hunting tool because it is also a social network. Through LinkedIn you have the ability to leverage your professional contacts and speak directly with potential employers and recruiters.

    Zip Recruiter may find you more job listings than you can handle. Zip Recruiter serves as an aggregator, bringing applications from multiple sources. This can lead to some low quality postings. It can also bring you a lot of opportunities you were not expecting.

    Indeed’s strength is in its quality. Finding the kinds of jobs you are looking for is easily done with its fully featured search options. With superior advanced filters and sorting options, you can really narrow in on the right position for you.

  2. Consider when is the right time to apply

    Timing can really affect your visibility. Sending your resume at the wrong time may put your application in the middle of the queue, or worse at the bottom. Some job listings are stale, and have been up for months. They may still be looking, but they are obviously in no rush to find new hires. Some companies will keep job listings up to accumulate resumes. They may not have an actual opening, and instead constantly recruit to keep resumes on file for when they need them.

    The best case is to establish which company has the greatest and most urgent need at the time, though this is often difficult to figure out. It is best to apply to top job postings that have been recently posted. The poster is more likely to be watching something that they just put up, then the job listings that are more than a month old.

    The quick apply options on LinkedIn, Zip Recruiter, and Indeed all allow you to apply quickly to a new job posting. An application that goes in right after it is posted is more likely to be seen.

  3. Understand who is reviewing your job application

    If you are fortunate enough to speak with a real person, ask what their relationship is to the prospective employer. If they are a recruiter, ask them who they work for. Are they a full time employee of the company? Or are they with a recruiting firm? Knowing who you are speaking with can help you market yourself if you are called for an interview.

    Recruiters can be your friend, but keep in mind that sometimes these people are only paid if the prospective employer decides to hire you. A recruiter is incentivized to find candidates; and they are not as picky as the hiring manager.

    Recruiters can also be an employee of the company, or even a whole recruiting department in a company. Unlike recruiters at a firm, these recruiters may be more patient. Sometimes hiring managers may have a personal relationship with their in-house recruiters. In-house recruiters are a little more discerning. However they can also be motivated by the carrot or the stick.

    If you are finally contacted for a phone or in-person interview, remember that the manager will have, hopefully, seen your resume. Avoid sounding like a walking talking version of your resume. The conversations on the phone or in person may ask about your knowledge, but they are testing your character. This is where you stop being an application, and start being a person. Make a good impression, don’t just supply a list of qualifications.

    It is impossible to fully understand how someone will fit into an organization until they hire them. However the interview is the best place to make that case. This is where you can make or break your application. The hiring manager is the most important person in the process and is the person who has the greatest impact on the decision to extend you an offer.

  4. Know what should go into your job application

    Your resume is still the heart of what you are submitting. However, your resume may take the form of your profile on a job site. Getting someone to actually look at your resume can be difficult, so it is important to make sure the recruiter or hiring manager doesn’t tune out while reading.

    Create a resume that can be easily tailored for multiple  job applications. Designing it in chunks can make make this process easier to manage. This way the actual content of your resume can be used on your LinkedIn, Zip Recruiter profile, or appropriate job application field. Save your answers from other job applications to reuse later.

    Sometimes resumes are just processed into plain text, making most of your efforts in style and formatting pointless. However, keep in mind that basic formatting is important for readability. No one likes walls of text. Break it up into chunks. Properly indented bullets and consistent headings will indicate a “detail oriented” applicant.

    Use the right format, upload your resume as a PDF. Submitting your resume in PDF file format guarantees that everyone will see the same document that you designed. Word documents often change from computer to computer. Paragraph formatting and spacing can change. Microsoft office fonts or formatting can change when uploaded to Google Docs, because they sometimes do not use the same fonts.


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