Don't spend 8 hours a day crawling through job boards and emailing resumes to recruiters.
Do you spend most of your time doing the same things as other job seekers?
Reading job listing after job listing, looking for roles that appeal to you and that you qualify for, and then applying to those companies with a few clicks of your mouse?
The vast, vast majority of such applications may get to their destination (or not), but you wouldn't know it because you rarely get a response and soon enough, you're in a grind filled with constant frustration until ultimately, you start seeing all the signs of full-blown job search depression.
I've been there too, and it's not fun.
Fortunately, it doesn't need to be that way.
This is part 1 in my series on 4 things every job seeker should do daily for a faster, less stressful job search.
Free bonus: Download a PDF version of "61 Hidden Job Market Secrets Without Using Social Media" to use as a handy checklist and reference. Download it now.
🔍 Research, Research, Research
The truth is, while better that doing no research at all, you're much better off targeting companies earlier, and the earlier the better.
Researching companies before you apply to them will help you avoid workplaces you'll hate and ultimately, jobs that force you back on the job search again, more frustrated that in the past.
However, even early company research isn't ideal. You may find a company deliciously appealing, but your resume in their inbox doesn't necessarily make you deliciously appealing to them.
You can do better!
This is the order of research that I recommend: people, then companies, then jobs.
What's more powerful: a resume sent via email that a recruiter actually sees, or a resume sent to a recruiter by someone they know and trust who also vouches for you?
It's a no-brainer.
For the latter scenario to be likely, start your job search research by looking for people in your network who would happily refer you for jobs, especially with their own employers.
Yes, you can check your LinkedIn contacts but don't limit yourself to that: consider other social media contacts, email contacts, real world acquaintances.
For now, just pick one who knows what you can do and would be happy to have you as a colleague.
Once you've found a potential referrer, decide if their employer is a company you'd want to work for.
Visit the employer's website, check their social media, google for news about them, and follow some of these other company research tips.
Of course, you'll want to ask your contact about working there if it hasn't come up in conversations already. However, move on to the next step before touching base with them.
Once you've found an appealing employer AND have a contact in place who can refer and recommend you, now's the time to look for any relevant open jobs there.
If there are any, ask your contact about the open job. They may know if it's already been filled, they may know of other relevant positions that haven't yet been announced, and it's just a good way to gauge if you were right in thinking they'd be willing to vouch for you.
If the job is open and your contact offers to apply for you, start the recruitment process by tailoring your resume based on your company research and sending it to your contact.
Then follow this strategy again by going back to step 1) to look for another potential referrer.
Keep in mind
It may be tempting to batch your research, beginning the process by first listing all the potential referrers in your network, then all the potential employers that appeal to you, etc.
Ignore that temptation!
Doing your research the way I outlined above will get your resumes in front of recruiters asap, and you'll have a much stronger feeling of making progress, possibly even leading to job offers without needing to ever do an exhaustive search of your network.
This article is based on a talk I gave at the TJF21 virtual job fair in October 2021:
Question of the article
In which order do you usually job search? Tell us in the comments how you voted in the poll and why.