Professional Resume Writer, Career Writer and Career Coach
There’s no college course on how to job search effectively. If schools offered “Job Searching: 101,” we wouldn’t have to write this article. Unfortunately, there’s nothing straightforward about a job hunt, and researching the best job searching methods is basically limited to sourcing peer advice and internet articles. Don’t worry; we’ve got your back. Here are definitive answers to the most common questions you’ve been dying to ask.
Top 9 Job Searching Questions
When Is the Best Time To Apply for Jobs?
Generally speaking, the beginning of the year (January and February) is the best job searching period because it’s the time when companies receive their annual budgets to fill needed roles. January is a great time of year to freshen up your resume, update your LinkedIn profile, and scour job boards.
February is the peak hiring month. Job seekers have the best shot at getting the job they desire by waiting to apply until February, rather than piling in with everyone else in January. In February, the total number of active jobs tends to increase while the number of applicants declines.
Typical recruiting cycles also mark May, early June, and September as prime hiring season times. In addition to new job searches, Spring is also a good time for networking, outreach, and skill development.
How Long Does It Take To Find a Job?
The time it takes to find a job can vary based on experience, demand, and timing. Some people with in-demand skills may land a job in days, while others may wait months for an interview invitation.
Unemployment data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that unemployment normally lasts 19.3 weeks on average or about five months. If you know you want a new job by summer, it’s best to prepare for your job search in January or February…just in case.
Why Is Nobody Responding to My Resume?
Ah, yes, the million-dollar question. While the specific reasons for rejection vary by applicant and situation, chances are you’re going wrong in one of these four areas:
- Not using the right keywords and phrases for the types of jobs you’re pursuing.
- Not making your value proposition clear to the reviewer in your resume statements, cover letters, and online profiles.
- Applying for positions that require credentials you don’t have. If you are at least 70% qualified for a particular opportunity, go for it. But if you’re applying for a position as, say, a bilingual training coordinator, and you only speak one language? You’re heading for the “no” pile.
- Relying solely on online applications. Today’s competitive job market requires strategic, networking-based moves. The best job search methods don’t rely on passive search strategies like applying through a blind human resources inbox.
How Long Should I Wait Before Following Up After an Interview?
It’s best to send a thank you email to your interviewer within 24 hours of your last chat. However, you’ll need to do a little digging during the interview to understand proper follow-up protocols moving forward. Before your interview ends, ask for the timeline for the next steps. Write down their answer along with a note to follow up at that time. If the date passes without an update, send a brief note to remind the interviewer about your qualifications and interest in the job.
After that first follow-up, you can check in every week up to two more times as needed. If you still haven’t heard back, you should move on.
How Long Should My Resume and Cover Letter Be?
Yes, it is absolutely OK to have a resume longer than one page. The one-page resume limit is a myth that continues to linger, but it’s time to put it to rest. The vast majority of resumes that land interviews are two pages long, according to a ResumeGo study. More than page length, it’s important to focus your resume on the most valuable information. If your career history is long enough to warrant a two-page doc, then so be it. Just make sure you cut the fluff. Each word on your resume should emit value. If it doesn’t serve a purpose, delete it.
However, your cover letter should be no more than one page in length. Hiring managers appreciate a concise, tailored, and unique cover letter—something that’s easily accomplished in one page or less. Explain who you are, why you’re the best candidate for the job, and why you’re targeting their company during your search.
I’m in a Career Rut. How Do I Find a Job I Love?
Launching a new job search without a specific goal in mind won’t produce any results. You’ll have the best chances of landing a job you love if you take the time to identify what it is you want first. Understanding what you really want from your career is hard. But pinpointing your deal breakers and non-negotiables will help you narrow in on the jobs that could make you happiest.
Before diving into a job search, here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- How do you want to spend your time?
- What aligns with your strengths? What are your strengths?
- When people ask you for help, what kind of tasks do people commonly ask you to do?
- What don’t you want from your next job? What do you want from your next job?
Then search for jobs that match these criteria. Search online, and ask your friends and family. If the jobs don’t match your needs, move on to the next opportunity.
How Can I Start Networking Quickly?
Even the most extroverted job seekers are uneasy about networking. For many, it’s impossible to network without feeling gross. Luckily, your immediate circle (the friends and family you’re already comfortable with) can be your most valuable job search resource. Before venturing out into the network of the unknown on LinkedIn, start with your people: the ones you know have your back. Reach out to them with a message that outlines your plans for a career change (or total pivot).
Be specific in your message. Let them know what you’re targeting next, your career goals, and what you need from them. For example, do they have any contacts you can connect with? Do they work in an industry you’d like to know more about? Ask them for help.
Then, when you’re ready to venture out beyond your circle, try these networking strategies:
- Check in with your references. Send them an email or quick message to touch base and ask how they are in a genuine and meaningful way.
- Write a LinkedIn recommendation. Leave a detailed, complimentary recommendation on the profiles of your current or former coworkers. This will help increase your LinkedIn presence and up your chances of getting a solid recommendation in return.
- Reach out to colleagues and new hires within your organization. It’s the quickest way to expand your network and build relationships with people you’ll interact with often.
How Can I Find Out What the “Essential Requirements” Are in a Job Description?
Some of the best job searching strategies say to identify the keywords in job descriptions, but it is not an easy thing to do. Language in a job posting can feel stuffy, confusing, and jargon-heavy. Job ads list so many “essential” and “preferred” requirements that it’s not always obvious what the job entails. To gain a little clarity, use a job title from the listing to search sites like Salary.com or Payscale.com to learn what people do in similar jobs with the same title or a related title. This will help you decide if the posting is a fit for your experience and interests.
What Questions Should I Ask About a Job?
Smart job seekers will compile a list of questions to ask about the career field or job during the interview. Asking questions not only gives you vital insight into the company you may join, but also shows the hiring team that you are curious, prepared, and intentional. Here are some of the best job searching questions to have in your arsenal:
- What is a day-in-the-life of this role?
- Which management styles best suit you?
- The biggest challenge in this role?
- How does my background create an interest for this position?
- Should I get the job, what would be expected of me in the first 30, 60, or 90 days?
- How will I be measured for success in this role?
- What is the organization doing to develop leaders internally?
- I know the industry is going [x way], how does [company] plan on staying ahead of the curve?
Now that you’ve had your questions answered, it’s time to put your new strategies to use. Here are some jobs from the most anticipated careers in 2022.