Boly:Welch 101: 10 Tips for a Successful Job Search Strategy

Although no one will tell you this, you can make your job search strategic – break it down into discrete steps to maximize your chances at every stage. The way most people look for jobs is outdated and unproductive. However, your search can – and should! – be so much more than that.

  1. Be aware that the job search process has fundamentally changed.

Job boards and ‘easy apply’ applications have flooded recruiting pipelines. To cope, companies turn to very black-and-white applicant tracking systems (ATS) and overwhelmed hiring managers, which function by screening, screening, and yes, more screening. Understand that you need to be more than “qualified” – you need to be the most qualified candidate for the role.

  1. Know what you want.

How will you know what job is the right fit if you don’t understand the key components – where you get your energy and what your proven strengths are? What salary range you need and the office culture you’ll thrive in? It’s okay to keep an open mind, but to be honest, the less open you are, the less frustrating the job search will be.

  1. Have actionable goals.

Looking for a job is not waiting to be picked for a team at recess. You might not be able to control how many interviews you get, but you can absolutely control the number of informational interviews you try to set up, the number of companies you research, or the number of networking events you attend. Quality activity will lead to results. Keep your pipeline full!

  1. Articulate what you want to your network.

Fifty percent of referrals come from asking, but no one can read your mind. If you want to tap your network, being “open” asks too much of them. Why should they have insights about your fit for a role when you haven’t done the work?

Imagine you’re hungry and ask someone for a restaurant recommendation. Is it easier for them if you ask “Where should I eat?” or “Where should I get the best fried chicken in NE Portland?” Don’t ask too much of your network and you’ll get so much more.

  1. Optimize your resume and cover letter.

Your resume and cover letter are crucial to making a good first impression. Check and double check that your i’s are dotted and your t’s are crossed!

  1. Don’t rely solely on submitting resumes online.

Use informational interviews, networking, recruiters, or any other avenues to connect to humans. You have a one in 12 chance getting a job off a referral and a one in 200 chance of success off a resume.

  1. In interviews, be overly specific. Provide examples.

Never assume that the hiring manager knows what you mean. Give context (e.g. How big was your company? How many people on your team?), examples (e.g. How would you approach an employee relations issues in clear steps? How do you think about design?), and results (e.g. How long? How much money? What was the point?). Be overly specific. You’ll come across as more interesting and competent.

  1. Attitude is everything.

Your skills will get you an interview, but your attitude (positive, flexible, confident) will get you the job. People hire people they want to work with, so make sure you’re presenting yourself as a future coworker and not just a walking skillset.

  1. After an offer, negotiate.

No one will be negotiating for you, so make sure you’re evaluating the offer and asking for what you need. Think about total the reward (salary + all benefits – PTO, flextime, wellness benefits like gym memberships or transit stipends, professional development, etc.) vs. only money.

  1. Continue to negotiate for the career you want.

You should continue to negotiate for what is important to your career. Consider asking for promotions, interesting projects, to avoid “office housework,” to travel more or less, or to be afforded leadership opportunities. What do you need to negotiate for your own career success?

If you found these tips helpful, check out the rest of our Boly:Welch 101 series. And good luck!

Contributed by: Abby Pfeiffer, Recruiting Consultant, HR