Whether you're switching careers or pursuing your first career, finding a new job can be both challenging and rewarding. Set aside time to gather your materials and prepare for your interview to better position yourself as the best candidate for the role. Find roles that match your skill set and identify your selling points to win a job that's right for you. In this article, we share steps on how to get a job and tips to help you obtain your ideal position.
How to get a job
To find a career that's best for you, dedicate time to researching different job titles and gathering the necessary application materials for each one. Follow these steps to help you find a new job that's well-suited to your goals and career needs:
- Carefully research job openings
- Find possible opportunities through networking
- Organise your job search material
- Build a strong resume
- Craft a professional cover letter
Remain professional during the interview
1. Carefully research job openings
When searching for roles that could be a perfect fit for you, it's important to be selective. Look online for open positions by searching for job titles that appeal to you the most, especially if you're switching careers or have recently graduated and are unsure about what role you want. Search for careers that involve using your current skill set or jobs that contain responsibilities you'd like to have.
You should also consider the type of company you'd like to work for. Make a note of the values, mission statement and culture you'd prefer a company to have. Knowing what responsibilities you'd like the role to entail and the characteristics you look for in a company make it easier to narrow down which opportunities to apply for. This increases the likelihood of finding a company and a long-term job you're passionate about.
2. Find possible opportunities through networking
Use your networking skills to notify others of your job search. Get in contact with any possible connections you may have gained professionally. These can be your past co-workers or managers, previous professors or other people within your industry. They may know who is hiring and can recommend you to their professional contacts. Consider attending networking opportunities like job fairs or industry conferences.
As you network, have your elevator pitch ready when introducing yourself to potential hiring managers. Your elevator pitch is a short, 30-second summary that helps sell yourself. During your elevator pitch, you can briefly describe your work history and skills. You should clearly demonstrate how these qualifications can benefit their company.
3. Organise your job search material
Set aside a few hours each week to spend sifting through job descriptions. As you review various job postings, carefully read the job descriptions and organise your materials accordingly. Find jobs with the skills and responsibilities you're searching for, then add them to the list of roles you'd like to apply for.
Once you've gathered together the job opportunities you plan to apply for, prepare the application materials requested in the job description. This can include completing the job application they provide you, creating and submitting your resume, writing your cover letter, submitting references or completing any other material they request. Try to apply for a few positions each day.
4. Build a strong resume
After sorting through job listings, note any keywords mentioned. Keywords are skills, qualifications or responsibilities listed throughout the posting. These tell you what your potential manager is searching for and what skills or qualifications the desired candidate needs to be successful in the role. Including these keywords helps your resume stand out and captures the hiring manager's attention. It also helps them better understand how you could be a great fit for the role.
To start, build a basic resume that lists your career objective, education, qualifications, skills and work experience. Highlight the keywords in each job description and add them to different sections throughout your resume. For example, if a common keyword is 'customer service', use this naturally throughout your resume. When listing your job experience, mention how you used your customer service skills to successfully complete your job and enhance the company's performance. List this keyword in your skills and career objective sections also, if possible.
Related: Resume Format Guide (with Examples)
5. Craft a professional cover letter
A professional cover letter allows you to explain the information on your resume in greater detail. It should be one page long and convey what makes you the best fit for the role. List the date and your contact information at the top. This includes your name, location, phone number and email address. Greet the hiring manager with a professional salutation that includes their first and last name. If you can't find their name, you can write 'Dear Hiring Manager'.
Your opening paragraph should catch the hiring manager's attention as you introduce yourself and explain why you're applying for this role. Use your research on the company to describe what you enjoy most about the company and how this role aligns effectively with your career goals. The middle paragraphs can explain your previous skills, qualifications and experience. Connect them with the responsibilities of the current role to sell yourself as the best candidate for this job.
Use examples to highlight and detail the information listed in your resume. In the closing paragraph, thank the hiring manager for their time and considering you for the role. You may also use this section to sum up your skills and qualifications and express your enthusiasm for continuing with the next stages of the hiring process. Use a professional closing phrase such as 'Yours sincerely' before your signature, and include keywords naturally throughout the cover letter, similar to your resume.
6. Remain professional during the interview
When you're asked to interview, preparing for it ahead of time helps you remain confident and professional. Research common interview questions online. You may even be able to find questions tailored toward your specific role. Have a few ideas of the answers you want to provide to interviewers. Make sure your answers still sound natural, rather than memorised or rehearsed.
Have examples of your previous projects or responsibilities prepared and be ready to explain how they benefited your previous company. Review the job description and your resume ahead of time and try to use the job description's keywords when answering these questions. Arrive on time to the interview, dressed in business attire. This shows you're punctual, professional and take the job seriously.
Listen to the interviewer carefully and nod along to what they say to show you're paying attention. Be sure to smile, stay engaged in the conversation and ask questions about the role and company. This tells your interviewer how much you're interested in the role and how enthusiastic you are to learn more about the company.
Tips to help you get a job
Preparing your materials ahead of time and remaining professional throughout the entire hiring process can increase your chances of getting the job. Follow these tips to help you find and win the best role for you:
Proofread your materials
Before sending your resume, cover letter or any other application materials, be sure to reread them. As you're reviewing them, try to pinpoint any areas that may not be relevant to the role you're applying for. Make sure each sentence is concise, meaningful and provides value to the hiring manager.
You should also double-check your resume and cover letter for any spelling, grammatical or formatting errors. It may help to have colleagues or friends look at your materials, as they can provide a different perspective and may suggest edits to improve the overall quality.
Send a thank you note after the interview
Once the interview is complete, send a professional thank you note to everyone you interviewed with. This is a great way to follow up with the hiring manager and express your appreciation for being considered for the position. Thank you notes also help you stand out from other candidates and make it easier for interviewers to remember you.
Send your thank you note a few days following the interview. It should consist of two to four sentences. You can thank them for their time, highlight something you learned during the interview, express your enthusiasm to join the team or mention something you forgot to say in the interview.
Ask a friend or colleague to help you practise your interview skills
Practising your interview skills can make you feel more confident when meeting with the hiring manager. Ask a friend to deliver practice questions and evaluate you afterwards. Request constructive feedback regarding your gestures, movements and responses to the questions. If you're unable to practise with someone else, use a mirror when answering questions. This gives you a better understanding of how well you portray yourself during the interview.