Finding a new job requires a lot more than just doing some online searches and sending out résumés.
To be successful in landing a new job, you have to target and customize your searches, be organized throughout the search process and be realistic about your opportunities, finds a new study from DeVry University's Career Advisory Board.
Based on surveys of nearly 600 U.S. professionals of varying ages and in different roles and industries, researchers uncovered several common strategies that helped successful job seekers find new work:
- Be selective: While many people believe flooding the job market with applications and résumés is the best approach to finding work, the research shows that job seekers who found positions within six months of starting their searches were much more selective. More than half of these job seekers applied to five or fewer positions, with two-thirds applying to 10 or fewer.This approach paid off for many, as nearly one-third were interviewed for more than half the positions to which they applied.
- Tailor résumés: Don't send out the exact same résumé to every employer. Nearly 70 percent of job seekers reached out to the job-postings contact person to learn more about the open position, with 67 percent submitting résumés that included keywords and skills listed in the job description.
- Be organized: Most successful job seekers were thorough in researching, identifying and contacting prospective companies, with nearly three-quarters keeping detailed files on each opportunity. Additionally, 64 percent of those who were effective in finding new work kept weekly job search to-do-lists.
- Search everywhere, not just online: While the Internet provides a wealth of job postings, most people looking for new jobs found potential opportunities through methods other than social media. The research revealed that successful job seekers use a variety of search techniques, such as talking with friends, family and business contacts about different employers, and attending in-person networking events, conferences and industry gatherings.
- Be specific when preparing for interviews: After securing a job interview, it's critical to spend time preparing specifically for each meeting. The study found that when getting ready for an interview, the majority of successful job seekers updated their résumés to include keywords and skills listed in that specific job description, reviewed the company's website and brainstormed concrete examples how their skills matched the job description.
"This latest research proves that when job seekers go the extra mile to demonstrate why they are right for a particular position — by customizing their résumés and being prepared to be specific about their potential contributions in an interview — they meet this need and often succeed in getting offers," Madeleine Slutsky, chair of the Career Advisory Board and vice president of Career and Student Services at DeVry University, said in a statement.