Searching for a job is hard work, and there’s all kinds of great-sounding but conflicting advice for those trying to determine that next step in their career.  When you’re overwhelmed by the magnitude of opinions, we recommend going back to the basics.  So here are six of the most basic job-searching tips, courtesy of Jenny Foss of themuse.com.  These tips are so basic that most people seem to forget all about them!

1. Make yourself an obvious fit.

When applying for jobs online, many times your resume is first screened by an applicant tracking system (ATS).  If you make it past this first cut, your resume will probably find its way into the hands of a lower-level HR person or recruiter who may not be familiar with all the nuances of the job to which you’re applying.  So what can you do to better your chances of making it past both the computer and human portions of applicant screening?

The answer is simple: Visibly connect their “Here’s what we’re looking for” with a “Here’s what I can deliver” by studying the job description and tailoring your resume and cover letter to fit.  Mirror phrases used in the job description.  Make sure you’re listing the most relevant skills and experiences you have.

Tip: Did you know our Tracklet™ will retain multiple versions of your resume and cover letter?  We make it easy for you to tailor your resume to a specific job application without losing your original version.  Even better, the Tracklet™ will also keep track of which employers you’ve applied to as well as which versions of your resume you’ve used with them, so you’ll always know which document was sent to whom and on what date.  Helpful, right?

2. Don’t stop after applying online.

If you’ve found “the job” – the one you really, really want – don’t just sit back after applying online.  If at all possible, try to find and then endear yourself to people working in your company of interest.  Schedule informational interviews with would-be peers, approach internal recruiters with questions.  Getting yourself on the radar with a few people at the company might just help you score an interview.  Interviewers typically start the interviewing process with people who have been referred or recommended by internal sources before they start poring through the stack of resumes they’ve received solely in response to a job posting.

3. Your resume (and LinkedIn profile) should be fluid.

If your resume or professional profiles don’t obviously position you as a direct match for the role you want, don’t be afraid to modify wording, add some bullet points, switch around some key terms, and pretty them up for that job you want.  Just remember for LinkedIn: if you’re connected to people at your current job and don’t want them to know you’re looking, you might want to adjust your privacy settings so they’re not notified every time you make a change to your profile.

Tip: Use your Tracklet™!  Keep track of multiple versions of your resume and cover letters and don’t forget about making yourself an “obvious fit”!

4. Be professional and polished, but not boring.

Being articulate and professional during your job search is vitally important, but that doesn’t mean you have to be boring.  Don’t rely on clichés throughout your resume, or memorizing the “correct” answers to common interview questions.  While you want to maintain your professional polish, don’t be afraid to also be endearing.  It’s a fine line, but candidates who can come across as memorable and likable have a much higher chance of scoring that job than someone who is dry and obviously reciting from memory.

5. You’re just about invisible if you don’t have a LinkedIn profile.

Since the vast majority of recruiters use LinkedIn as their primary search tool, you really need a profile.  You should also be using it to your advantage.  LinkedIn can help you with networking, finding people that work at companies of interest to you, and helping recruiters find you.

Tip: Did you know you can create an account at Bankers Crossing by using your LinkedIn profile?  All you have to do is log in and we’ll pull over all the relevant information right into your Bankers Crossing profile!  That way, while you’re available to recruiters on LinkedIn, you’re also free to easily search, apply, and keep track of jobs on Bankers Crossing.

6. Use the magic words.

It is always recommended to craft a thoughtful, non-robotic thank you note for each person you interviewed with.  The sooner after your interview, the better.  This could be what tips you beyond another equally well-matched applicant.  Check out this great piece on How to Write a Flawless Post-Interview Thank You Note.

Tip: The Tracklet™ can also help you with this – keep track of where you are in the application process, notes on who you’ve spoken with at which company, and utilize it to send e-mails to your interviewers.

If you keep these basics in mind, you’ll be well on your way to getting the interview for that ideal job!

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