Approaching the job search with a sound strategy and proper preparation can mean the difference between frustration and success.
Maintain A Positive Mind-Set
When searching for a job, you can significantly increase your chances for success by focusing on what you can control. That begins with how you mentally frame the experience. So remember these six steps to develop a positive job search mind-set:
Be realistic: A job search takes time and effort, usually six or more weeks, on average, from application to offer.
Connect with support: Rutgers, friends, family, colleagues, and your professional network can help keep you motivated.
Stay balanced: Dedicate space and time to search, but still live your life and rejuvenate with healthy, enjoyable activities.
Know your strengths: What are your strongest skills and experiences, and what do you need to improve?
Develop a strategy: Center it on where/how you look, develop your résumé/cover letter, prep for interviews, and network.
Keep an open mind: Consider a variety of job options and tactics, such as looking for a position in a related field.
Take A Tailored Approach
An effective job search is more about quality than quantity, and identifying specific resources can help you explore quality opportunities.
Get specific: Instead of accessing only the “big” job boards, (Indeed, Monster, LinkedIn, etc.), find job boards and search engines that are specific to your field. It saves time, ensures the postings are relevant, and can be as simple as a web search.
Do your homework: Study industry trends (necessary skills, how companies recruit, sectors that are growing), relevant organizations (their products, services, and recent news), and keywords in job postings.
Narrow it down: Identify 10 to 15 organizations where you would like to work, then:
- set job alerts
- follow them on social media
- connect with their recruiters
- network with current and former employees
- tailor your résumé, cover letter, and interview preparation
- determine if they are a good fit
Play the field: Most fields and industries have professional associations, credentialing organizations, and
continuing education. Benefits often include:
- dedicated job boards specific to the field
- networking opportunities
- professional development opportunities and credentials
- current trends, research, and publications
- educational opportunities like certificates or degrees to help you stay active and avoid résumé gaps
What’s In Your Toolkit?
Your toolkit is essential to marketing your skills, education, and experience to others as you network and apply for jobs. Pack these tools and you’ll be good to go:
Résumé, cover letter, and interview materials tailored to your field and developed in a way that speaks to meeting the company’s needs
Elevator pitch that can be used both in person (career fairs, interviews, events) and in written form (LinkedIn, website, résumé, professional summary)
Promotional tools such as LinkedIn and business cards, which create a consistent, well-rounded professional identity
A social media presence that’s accurate, consistent, and polished
Research that provides you with “inside information,” including the culture, keywords, expectations, terminology, and preferred methods of networking in your field