Job Search

5 Things You Can Do Right Now to Improve Your Job Prospects

Follow these simple tips to get the most out of your job search

As most of us know, job hunting can be a very stressful—not to mention time-consuming—process. While searching for a new job can seem like a never-ending footpath through a forest of CVs and interviews, there are some simple ways you can improve your prospects and help speed along the job search.

We’ve outlined tips and tricks you can take on board right now. These suggestions won’t take days or weeks; hopefully you can get through a few on this list—and improve your job prospects—within a few hours.

1. Clean Up Your Resume

The first thing you need to concentrate on is your CV, as this is what employers see first. Most employers go through ten or more resumes a day, and research shows it takes someone only seconds to decide if a CV passes muster. Make sure yours stands out for the right reasons.

Take a look at your resume, and see whether or not it’s easy to digest. Have you used bullet points? Have you used headers? Is the information easy to navigate on the page? All of this matters, so be sure it looks tidy and professional.

If you’d like your resume to stand out even more, consider getting the help of a pro. Mediabistro’s Career Services offer everything from a quick resume edit to several sessions of career counseling to tackle your CV, networking skills, career transition, and more.

2. Check Your Digital Footprint

Clean up your digital footprint before you start applying for jobs because a lot of employers will research you online if you’ve passed the first CV hurdle. Set your social media profiles to private, and select reasonably sensible profile photographs (no drunken selfies, please). Facebook and Twitter actually have an option that lets you download every update you’ve ever posted into a single document, which is something you can then scan through and check for anything you might want to delete.

It also goes without saying that you should Google your name and see what pops up. You’ll want to deal with anything questionable right away.

If you haven’t done so already, hone your LinkedIn profile to make it a tool for landing you a job. Mediabistro’s quick course, Skills in 60: Create a Killer LinkedIn Profile, will help put you charge of your personal brand and turn your profile into a powerful job-searching network.

3. Clear Your Calendar

Be willing to clear your calendar for potential job interviews. If you’re working full-time while looking for another job, then make sure your current employer either knows you’re looking (and can be flexible on taking interview time off work) or have a few vacation days saved up, so you can use them if any out-of-town interviews crop up.

If you currently work in shifts, try to request a variety of hours to work throughout the week to free up some mornings and afternoons. You could easily miss your chance of nabbing a new job if you can’t make it to the actual interview.

4. Get Reading

Brush up on your industry and all the currents news and announcements that might be making the rounds (be it content marketing’s latest challenges or how a particular agency is handling an audience that is increasingly ad-blocking happy). You’ll come across as informed and diligent, not to mention this knowledge makes for relevant small talk during an interview. It’ll also give you an edge over your competition.

Great sources include blogs, news websites or trade magazines. Feedly is one powerful tool you can use that allows you to organize, read and share content from your favorite sites all in one place.

5. Be Thorough

A lot of people think job hunting simply consists of emailing out a few resumes and hoping for the best. To optimize your job hunt, register your CV and details on relevant  job sites—and set up daily email reminders for new job listings that are posted. This will ensure you don’t miss any golden opportunities.

Let friends know you’re on the lookout, too. Sometimes it really is about who you know.

Finally, create a list of the top 20 companies you’d prefer to work for, and email them—even if they don’t appear to be hiring. Sometimes a speculative application can be just as successful as one that comes from a job ad.

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