In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, we ask the question: How much of a job search is luck?
You hear references to lucky job searches all the time. “Being in the right place at the right time,” “Knowing the right people.” Some elements of a job search can’t be controlled and do have to be attributed to luck (good or bad).
But job applicants can manage many parts of the job search process. Here are nine tips to help ensure some luck is on your side.
1. Arrive on time to an interview. This means 15 minutes early. Plan your schedule accordingly. Take factors like traffic, bus routes and weather into consideration. But things happen. If you know you’re going to be late, contact the employer as soon as possible to explain your situation. And if you become ill, reschedule the interview for another day.
2. Have a solid online presence. Over 80% of employers research job applicants online before contacting them for an interview. It’s important to have a professional online presence, which means completing a LinkedIn profile. But it’s also important to have a positive online presence on social media outlets like Facebook. Does your Facebook profile paint the picture of someone an employer would hire?
3. Make sure your resume matches the specific job you’re applying for. Employers can spot a generic resume a mile away. It’s the one they receive in their inbox that could have easily been sent to hundreds of other employers in other industries. Targeting your resume to specific jobs might simply involve changing the objective. Other targeting strategies include editing your skills section to include keyword qualifications listed in the job posting. Even if a cover letter isn’t required, send one if given the chance. It’s one more outlet for telling this particular employer why you’re the right candidate for this particular job.
4. Dress appropriately for interviews. Even if you send a stellar resume that lands you an interview, your chances at being hired are zero if you don’t dress professionally for the interview.
5. Network. You won’t be lucky in your job search if you only apply to jobs online. Face-to-face meetings are essential. Schedule informational meetings with people in your targeted industry and companies. Find contacts through LinkedIn. Networking can be intimidating. Talk to a career counselor about developing an approach.
6. Do your company research. In addition to answering questions at an interview, you’ll be asked to show what you know about the job and the company. Research the organization through the company’s website or social media presence. If a company has a Twitter handle or LinkedIn profile, start following it.
7. Send a thank you note after an interview. This is one of the most overlooked step in the job search process. Too many people do not receive job offers because they think a thank you note is an unnecessary step.
8. Be realistic. Don’t narrow your job search (industry, geographically, etc.) too much. Allow time for the process – it can take several months to complete a successful job search. When you are offered a job, review the pros and cons carefully to make a solid decision.
9. Don’t panic. It’s hard not to because job searching is stressful. But when you panic you’re more likely to make errors on cover letters and resumes, appear anxious during interviews or overlook opportunities in your rush to find a job.