1. Make yourself match fit
Most people know that one CV and one cover letter will not do it all now. Tailoring your CV has never been more critical. Many organisations now use applicant tracking systems which means that when you submit your CV, tailored software picks out keywords that relate to the job advert. Review your CV and make sure that your CV highlights all the essential points listed in the job spec. Yes, this does mean tailoring your CV and cover letter for every job. It may mean changing the format of your CV to give you a better chance of success.
Study the job description and any available information you have on the position. Are you mirroring the words and phrases in the job description? Are you showcasing your strengths in the areas that seem to be of paramount importance to this role? Line it up.
2. Don't Limit Yourself to Online Applications During Your Job Search
Do you want that job search to last and last? Well, then continue to rely solely on submitting online applications. Do you want to accelerate this bad boy? Don't stop once you apply online for that position. Start finding and then endearing yourself to people of interest at that company—schedule informational interviews with would-be peers. Approach an internal recruiter and ask a few questions. Get on the radar of the people who might influence you to get an interview.
We all go straight online to job boards nowadays, but do not limit your chances by using this method alone. Jobs posted online receive very high application numbers, meaning your CV can get lost. Many organisations use agencies instead, so find ones that specialise in your field and register with them. Good agencies will want to interview you before putting you forward for a role. That's because they work hard to build relationships with their clients. So it is in both their and your best interests if they only put you forward for positions that you stand a chance of getting. Remember, when you meet the agency, it is another job interview, and you need to make a good impression there. So listen to any advice they give you and act on it. They are experts.
By lining up with people inside the companies at which you want to work, you will instantly set yourself apart. This is because decision-makers interview people who come recommended or through a personal referral before they start sorting through the blob of resumes that arrive by way of the ATS.
3. Remember That Your Resume (and LinkedIn Profile) Is Not a Tattoo
Make sure that your profile is up to date. It's no good having a great CV if your LinkedIn profile hasn't been updated in ten years. Update it regularly. Additionally, the details must be in accord. Many people think it's OK to be liberal with the truth on their CV, not thinking that employers will check their LinkedIn profile. Many a candidate has been sifted out for this.
Your resume is not a tattoo, nor is your LinkedIn profile. Instead, treat them as living, breathing documents throughout your job search (and career).
If you're a covert job seeker, remember to turn off your activity broadcasts (within privacy and settings) when you edit your LinkedIn profile. If your current boss or colleagues are connected to you on LinkedIn, they may get suspicious about all the frequent changes.
4. Accept That You Will Never Bore Anyone Into Hiring You
Don't get me wrong—you absolutely must come across as polished, articulate, and professional throughout your job search. However, many people translate this into Must. Be. Boring. All this correctness is going to make you look staged and non-genuine. Instead, permit yourself to be both polished and endearing. Memorable, likeable candidates are almost always the ones who go the distance.
5. If You're Not on LinkedIn, You Very Nearly Don't Exist
Considering that more than 90% of recruiters use LinkedIn as their primary search tool, this is not an understatement. If you're a professional, you need to be on LinkedIn, but you also need to be using it to your full advantage. Don't believe me? Think about it this way: If tomorrow morning, a recruiter logs onto LinkedIn looking for someone in your geography with expertise in what you do, you're not there? Guess who they're going to find and contact? Yes, that person's name is "not you."
Most recruiters are using LinkedIn these days. It's easy enough to switch 'career interests' on in your dashboard, which lets employers know you are looking and allows you to connect with recruiters—a straightforward way to start your job search.
The LinkedIn feature that allows you to hide updates can be handy, but if you are job-hunting, you want people to know you are available (but perhaps not your current employer). People are generally eager to help other people, so if you are looking for a job, even if you don't want everyone to know, contact people that may be helpful across your network. Most people will help if they can.
If you figure out how to harness the power of no other social media tool for job search, figure out LinkedIn. It's (by far) the best resource we have available today for career and job search networking, finding people working at companies of interest, and positioning yourself to be found by a recruiter who has a relevant job opening.
6. Your Thank You Matters
I once placed a candidate into an engineering role with a packaging equipment company. He was competing head-to-head with another engineer who had similar talents and wanted the job badly. My candidate sent a thoughtful, non-robotic thank you note to each person he'd interviewed within two hours of leaving their offices. Unfortunately, the other candidate sent nothing.
Guess why my candidate got the job offer? Yep, the thoughtful, non-robotic thank you notes. They sealed the deal for him, especially considering the other front-runner sent nothing.
Consider crafting original, genuine thank you notes (one for each interviewer) when you get back to a computer following the interview. The speed with which you send the notes, and the quality, will make an impact.
And finally, remember that the interviewer cares much more about what you can do for them than what you want out of the deal. Indeed, they will care a lot about what you want once you establish your worth. But during the interview, you must demonstrate why you make business sense to hire, period.
7. Make friends with the agencies
The employer pays the agency's fee, and they have relationships with employers. They also probably have a substantial range of candidates on their books too, so you need to make sure that you keep yourself front of mind. Don't ring them every day, but do ring them frequently, especially if you see a job you'd like advertised for an organisation you know they work with.
8. Go a step further
If you want to work for a particular organisation, seek out people who already work there and ask them for an informal chat. Explain why you want to meet them. Remember that not everyone will have influence, but you will get an insight into what it's like to work in your chosen organisation.
9. Use job alerts
You can do this on LinkedIn and job boards. For example, once you've searched for a job on LinkedIn, you'll see a 'Job Alert' button, click on it, and get alerts for similar positions. There is an equivalent function on job boards.