Key lessons that worked for me on how to conduct a job search.

Wall of keys at a hardware store
Photo by Chunlea Ju

This a guest post by Yehoshua Paul.

Over the past year, I have managed to become very familiar with job hunting (this was in Israel).

Most of the people I know who are looking for work rarely do everything they could to find work. Many of them are doing things wrong and some stuff which in retrospect should have been done differently.

Primarily it is the difference between being passive to active while not being overly aggressive.

Don’t be lazy, work is out there. Get up and find it.

I am not a guru, and the lists below are far from comprehensive, but I think they will help you find the work you need so badly. These tips worked for me.

Which of these bad job search habits has hurt you most?

While job hunting, you should…

1) Talk to people

Friends, family, employment agencies, outsourcing companies, professionals in your field… if no one knows you are looking, then no one will think of helping you.

Use LinkedIn and professional networks. Get in touch with all the people who can help you with your search.

2) Prepare a portfolio

In some fields, having a portfolio is a basic requirement. In others, a work portfolio can be used to greatly impress potential employers.

3) Polish your resume

If you don’t know how to do it yourself, approach someone who does know resumes. It is better to spend money on a professional resume than to have it overlooked by a potential employer.

keys job search success 1

4) Sign up to jobsites

Top job boards will deliver potential jobs directly to your inbox. They can tell you where to look for work, and help focus your search.

Many sites also offer you valuable tips that can help increase your odds of success.

5) Visit job fairs

Job fairs are good places to meet potential employers, make a personal connection, and gather contact information that can’t be found in job ads. You’re looking for work, they’re looking to hire.

Job search cartoon

While job hunting, you shouldn't…

6) …Rely on others to do the work for you

Whether it's an outsourcing agency, friends, family, or the person you met the other day who swears he knows someone who is hiring, you are not their sole concern. Continue searching. Call them occasionally to stay in touch, help them help you find a job, but don’t rely exclusively on your contacts.

7) …Overly rely on any one person

There is no reason for you to work with only one employment agency, seek help only from a single friend, etc.

The more people who can help you, the greater your chances are of finding work faster.

keys job search success 2

8) …Rely on people with competing agendas

Keep control of your job hunt. If two employment agencies are bidding for the same job at a company and both send in your resume, the company will avoid the headache of dealing with them and move on to the next candidate.

9) …Send your resume to the wrong people

Why would a law firm be interested in hiring a programmer?

You want to target companies, and early in your search.

10) …Overly focus your search

If you narrow your search so much that you ignore all the other attractive options out there, your job search will be harder than it needs to be.

11) …Ignore following up

What's better: call tomorrow, or wait a month/year/never? It matters.

12) …Stalk recruiters

Don't follow up 5 times a day, people are busy. If they say they’ll get back to you, give them a chance.

keys job search success 3

13) …Gloss over job requirements

It's a best practice to only apply for jobs you qualify for, but first make sure you actually do qualify.

14) …Apply halfheartedly

Have you ever sent a blank email with your resume attached? Or sent an email cover letter while forgetting to attach your resume?

While job hunting, you should have…

15) Started looking the moment there were rumors of massive layoffs

16) Made sure another job was lined up before quitting your existing job which you hated

17) Asked your boss whether your contract was going to be extended before it expired

18) Made sure your work was above and beyond the accepted standard

Bonus #19) Keep on looking while waiting for an answer. There is no rule that says you have to apply to only one job at a time. Who knows, you may find something better.

What others are saying

Question of the article

Which of these job search tips stands out to you, and why? Something you never thought of? Something you completely disagree with? Tell us in the comments.

About the Author

Yehoshua Paul is a freelance Technical Writer. Since July 2009 he has worked at 5 high-tech companies – individually and as part of a team, employed and freelance, full time and part time, and always busy.

This article was part of the 4th Annual JobMob Guest Blogging Contest, which was made possible thanks in large part to Gold Sponsor, Jason Alba of JibberJobber.

Subscribe to JobMob via RSS or email and follow me on Twitter for more key real-world job search tips.

Jacob Share

Job Search Expert, Professional Blogger, Creative Thinker, Community Builder with a sense of humor. I like to help people.

This Post Has 17 Comments

  1. Pingback: 18 Tips That Helped Me Find Work This Year | JobMob « ANDYWERGEDAL

  2. mahmud r joel

    i made mistake no. 15, had the chance to redeem myself a week ago, lost fone, somebody else deleted important missed call msgs, didn’t follow up gawd!! now waiting to join the second batch for training- i hate waiting wish things could happen differently

  3. Yehoshua Paul

    There is no rule that says you have to apply to only one job at a time. While waiting for an answer keep on looking. Who knows you may find something better.
    Should have been on the list.

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  5. Curt Hammitt

    Referring to #10: Overly focus your job search. My clients come with a variety of work experience from different roles, functions and businesses or state agencies. I’ve seen the opposite to be true, not having enough focus and working with them to narrow their focus. I truly believe job search is an art form and not a science.

    1. Jacob Share

      100% agree with you, Curt. When it comes to focus, too much focus might be an issue for only a fraction of job seekers but the vast majority are on the other side of the spectrum and don’t focus tightly enough, whether on specific roles they would be great at, or companies they’re likely to succeed with.

      I wonder if Yehoshua feels this way because he wrote this while working as a freelancer…?

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