Being a job seeker can be exhausting, stressful, and require a lot of your time. As they say, the job search IS a full-time job.

It’s necessary to be dedicated to finding new ways to apply, network, and complete your interviews. The more innovative you are the more you stand out, and standing out is exactly what you need to do to attract hiring managers.

During the job search, we spend a lot of time on our computers, sipping our coffee, and occasionally drooling all over our keyboard out of boredom or fatigue.

So, how can we combat this and make our job search a little easier?

By asking ourselves the important questions.

When we ask ourselves these important questions it helps us create new job strategies, take a new approach, and most importantly – succeed.

1. What are my job search goals and where do I want to be one year from now? What are my priorities?

Grab a piece of paper and start brainstorming your current and future goals.

What is your ideal position? 🔹 When do you need to start applying? 🔹What is most important?

When you answer these questions you can start to create a strategy. You will figure out what needs to come first, where you need to be applying, and what kind of research you need to complete.

The job search consists of a lot of planning, research, and dedication. That means it’s not enough to create a generic resume and apply to as many jobs as possible (unless you don’t care about getting a job you actually enjoy). You have to figure out the essentials and take time tailoring your job search approach accordingly.

2. Do I have the skills for the position I want? How can I gain the necessary skills?

Job requirements… they are truly a pain.

The truth is, job search requirements aren’t the end-all-be-all. They are more of an ideal candidate for the hiring manager. Meaning you can still get an interview even if you don’t meet every last one of the requirements.

BUT, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to acquire new skills for your job search. I mean if the job requirements are for the ideal candidate then why not try to be exactly what they are looking for?

If possible find out all the skills your ideal position is looking for and figure out how you can acquire them. You could take a course, earn a certification, or scan your job history for transitional skills.

3. Does my online presence paint me in a good light and is it going to help me get a job?

How do you do social media?

Are you professional? Political? Or do you act like a troll?

Nearly 70% of hiring managers check social media before hiring a candidate – and many candidates tend to be hired or contacted through social media and offered new opportunities.

So, long story short, your online presence matters.

Use these steps to make sure you are clean as a whistle:

🔹 Make sure you are posting professional content. Stay away from lewd posts, political comments, rude statements, and/or just being an overall unprofessional individual on social media if your profile is public.

🔹 If using LinkedIn (which I recommend you do) make sure your profile is completely finished and optimized. Have a nice headshot, a descriptive summary, and an eye-catching headline. Here are some tips to keep in mind.

🔹 Network and provide proof of your expertise. Trying posting content that paints you as an authority in your industry or commenting on other people’s posts.

4. Does my current resume translate my experience, background, education, and accomplishments in a way that makes me stand out from my competition?

What does your resume consist of? Is it descriptive? Are you making the hiring manager guess?

You should never leave the hiring manager trying to decipher if you meet all the requirements. They only spend about 6 seconds scanning a resume before they decide if it’s worth reading. So you cant let your skills and/or accomplishments be hard to find and hidden. They should be front and center.

I always recommend a professional summary, skills section, notable highlights section, experience section, and education section in that order. The education and experience sections can be flipped for new graduates.

Make sure your resume makes you look your best. Don’t be afraid to be confident and descriptive.

5. Do I fully understand the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and how to optimize my resume for them?

Many large corporations are utilizing applicant tracking systems nowadays. In fact, over 80% of large companies are using this system and smaller companies are quickly catching up.

The ATS is a software that makes organizing candidates applying for positions easy.

The ATS takes your resume and turns it into a standard format or profile covering all of the most important information. It then compares the standard format to the job description to see which resume is most similar and the best match for the job.

This simplistic version of the resume makes it easier for the recruiter to sort through the best candidates and saves A LOT of time. So, it’s important to research and figure out if your resume meets the requirements (especially if you can’t seem to get any callbacks).

Here are some tips for the ATS:

🔹 Match Key Phrases/Words in the Job Description.

🔹 Avoid Pictures, Tables, Graphs, etc..

🔹 Use Fonts that are Easy to Read.

🔹 Use Standard Titles like, “Work Experience” and NOT “Awesome Jobs I Held.”

🔹 Avoid Using Columns to Separate Sections.

🔹 Refrain from Using Colors that are Hard to Read.

Applicant Tracking Systems are not going away; they are becoming more popular than ever. We have to be prepared!

6. How much time do I have to network and apply for jobs daily/weekly?

Determine your schedule and make time for applying and networking.

Try hopping on LinkedIn during your morning coffee or lunch break – even just 30 minutes of networking a day, believe it or not, can really make a difference.

Wake up an hour earlier and spend that hour apply for at least 2 to 3 jobs.

As hard as it can seem we have to reevaluate our priorities during the job search. We HAVE to make time for networking and applying.

Asking ourselves the important questions helps us create valuable strategies and look at the approach we are currently taking. If we are struggling in our job search it’s about time we start asking ourselves all the questions above and thinking about reinventing the way we search.