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  9. 10 Things You Must Know Before You Begin A Job Search

10 Things You Must Know Before You Begin A Job Search

Get A Head Start Before Your Search Even Begins!

A woman researches what to know before applying to jobs


Are you just starting out in the job market? Or are you ready to leave your current job and move on to another? Either way, you'll fare better if you do some homework before embarking on your job hunt. If you want the best chances of obtaining a job with real opportunities, you'll want to pay attention to these tips and strategies.


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1. Hiring Managers Use Sophisticated Software

In the past, your resume would be reviewed by human eyes. One or more people would look it over to see if you have the relevant experience needed for the job.


Now, hiring managers often don't read the vast majority of resumes they receive. Instead, they use sophisticated software that filters out resumes that don't meet certain criteria. Then a real person reviews the shortlist of qualified resumes. You can make it through this automated filtering process by integrating keywords into your resume. Use the keywords from the job description and match them exactly in the language used on your resume. This strategy works because that software is looking for keyword matches. The higher the percentage of matches, the more likely your resume will end up in the hands of the hiring manager.


laptop with analytics


2. Social Media Can Trip You Up

Before they offer your a job, hiring managers will look you up on social media. If this sounds like Big Brother, that's because it kind of is. Hiring managers will find out everything you post online, every image you've uploaded, and who all your friends are, if they so desire. The reason they do this is because they want to make sure that they hire people who will fit in with the company culture. Unfortunately, bad employees reflect poorly on company brands.


So, what will they look for? Anything they can, possibly. Before you begin your job search, you should try to make your social media profiles as squeaky clean as possible. Delete all the political rants, all the questionable photos of you, and any videos that show you in a less-than-positive light. And, believe it or not, you should also check your friends' social media pictures that you're tagged in. You want to make sure they don't make you look unprofessional or less than an ideal employee.


Smartphone witch social media icons


3. Ask What You Want Out of Your Job

Lots of people make the mistake of going from job to job over a period of years. This is usually because they don't really know what they want out of a job or career. What happens is they look like a job hopper on their resume, they don't move up, don't make more money over the years, and end up disillusioned and working in yet another dead-end job.


It's understandable that you want to find a steady job that gives you a good paycheck. Want to build a career? Before you begin your job search, you have to figure out what you really want out of your employment. Consider the intangibles like prestige, respect, power, the ability to help others, the ability to affect positive change in the world, or something else. When you focus on the deeper reasons why you want a particular position, you'll be more apt to find something that aligns with your personal values and goals. In the long term, this will serve you much better than focusing on the salary alone.


Person in pressed shirt shrugging their shoulders


4. Ask What You're Looking for in a New Job

Looking for a new job because you're leaving an old job? You should really think about the reasons why you're looking to move on to another company. Doing this before you begin your job search will allow you to really home in on the kind of job that you need to be looking for.


Ask yourself: What is it about your current job that you dislike or that dissatisfies you? Is it the people that you work with, the money, or the commute? Is it something that the company sells that you don't believe in? Is there a poor company culture? When you find the answers to these questions, you will be able to create a kind of "wish list" for your next job. Doing this ahead of time will also prevent you from accidentally falling into a new position with many of the same issues that you disliked at your old gig.


Woman uses a laptop on a wooden bench


5. You Might Be Able to Find a Job Through Your Network

These days, networking has become the new way to get work. While there will always be a need to apply to job listings with your resume, you shouldn't ignore the fact that you might be able to find a job through your network.


Even if you don't think that you have a network, you probably do. Your network consists of close family and friends, existing work colleagues, and other people that you encounter, such as clients and other business acquaintances. Your network also includes social media connections, especially the ones that you have on LinkedIn. As long as you feel it won't jeopardize your current employment, it's fine to spread the word throughout your network that you're actively seeking a new position. When you do, be very specific about what kinds of work that you're looking for. This way, you'll receive the most relevant leads from your network.


Two people at a desk discuss business


6. Don't Use the "Quick Apply" Feature on Job Boards

Many online job boards have what they call a "quick apply" feature. This is a feature that allows you to upload your resume to the job site. Employers can then theoretically see your resume and come to you when they have a job listing. However, it's unlikely that an employer is going to sift through hundreds of thousands of online resumes searching for that one needle in a haystack that fits their requirements. One of the other advantages that online job boards advertise with the quick-apply feature is that you can simply click a button to apply for something and your resume will be forwarded to the job poster.


The reason that you don't want to do this is because your resume should be customized for each position that you apply to. Clicking a button to send in your resume won't allow you to personalize anything about it, and it certainly won't allow you to edit those keywords that will get you past the hiring manager software that employers use to filter for qualified candidates.


A person uses a keyboard


7. You Might Want to Obtain More Certification

Before beginning your job search, do some research. Locate those who have the position you want. Find out what kind of education or certification they have. This will allow you to compare their certifications with your own. If you see any glaring discrepancies, you might want to obtain more certification before you start searching for new places of employment. Otherwise, employers may search your resume for that certification, find none, and disregard your application.


If you obtain the certification before beginning your search, you'll have a better chance of being considered for the gig you truly want. Even better, you won't be burning opportunities by applying before you actually have the prerequisite certifications for the job.


A woman writes in her notebook


8. Research the Company Culture

Before you start looking for a job in a certain company, do some research to find out about the culture and the brand. There are lots of sites nowadays where employees can leave reviews of companies that they've worked at. These can be quite insightful because they provide a window into what it's actually like to work at a company, day by day.


Don't waste your time applying for job at a company if it doesn't meet your career needs. For example, do you want a company that hires from within, or one where family comes first? Pay attention to all the signs that a company is good or bad to work for.


Five people fist bump over a work desk


9. Figure Out the Lowest Salary You Would Accept

Ask yourself what the lowest salary is that you would take. Keep this number in mind because eventually you are going to need it when you're negotiating your salary with a new employer. When you already have this figure in mind, it will make your negotiations go more smoothly. Also, you'll be less likely to get caught up in the moment and accept a position that ultimately doesn't meet your salary needs.


A jar of coins next to increasingly taller stacks of coins


10. This May Take Some Time

The best jobs don't come along too often. There will be less turnover and fewer open positions in great companies. Realize that your job hunt might take a long time. This is one of the main reasons why you should never quit your existing job before finding another. You never want to be feeling desperate or in need of a paycheck while you're trying to conduct a job search. Be patient. When the right position opening comes along, you'll be ready as long as you keep these ten things in mind.


An analog clock next to three stacks of coins with sprouts growing from them


Disclaimers: Views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and may not represent the best choice for your unique situation.