Fall is almost here. The weather’s getting colder, the days are getting shorter, and the leaves on the trees are changing color. Pumpkin-flavored drinks are back and everyone is looking forward to a break in the humidity. Another thing that comes with fall? Hiring season. Much like back to school, hiring season requires proper preparation and organization. Follow these tips to focus your fall job search and start off on the right foot!
1. Identify your top three skills. Many companies list desired skills on their job posting. Take a look at your resume and think long and hard about what skills you possess. Identify your three most marketable skills so that you can sell them on your resume. If writing is your specialty, highlight your internships where writing was a main task. If you have training in computer science, make sure your resume reflects that. These skills are what make you desirable, and you should know your top three. Use your other skills as a way to fine-tune your resume.
2. Update your resume. Now is the time to take off those leadership roles you held in high school, and that summer job you worked for five straight summers if it doesn’t apply to your current field. While those experiences helped you get internships in college, you really want to focus on your professional experience now. If you don’t have any professional experience, highlight the things you did in college to hone your skills. Led a writing seminar? Put in on the resume. Taught math to high school students? Add that to your resume as well. What you want to avoid is padding your resume with experience like “lifeguard at local pool.” Employers don’t care if it’s not relevant — they won’t be swimming near you anytime soon.
3. Expand your network. Now is the time to volunteer with nonprofits, offer up your skills to local organizations, and join specialized groups and communities in your industry. Join new groups on LinkedIn, tune into Twitter chats, and “like” companies on Facebook who you’d be interested in working for. Use social media and personal connections to expand your network. The more you connect during your job search, the more likely your contacts will be to remember your name when an opening comes up.
4. Rank your top jobs and companies. Visit niche and regional job boards to find the best opportunities for you. Rank the jobs that you qualify for, and focus your energy on the top three to five. Fine-tune your resume and write a unique cover letter for each job. Follow up via email a week or so after applying. Keep track of all your applications and make sure to take all the necessary steps.
Additionally, use major job boards to find companies you might want to work for. Once you’ve found several in your area, rank them in terms of most ideal to least ideal. Follow their social media accounts and monitor their company website for openings. You can even contact the hiring manager with your resume and ask them to keep you in mind in case of an opening.
5. Don’t give up! Job hunting can be discouraging, but the most important factor in your job search is your attitude. Keep positive by reminding yourself of all your achievements and stay busy. Get organized and stick to a schedule to help avoid lazy days in bed and missing important deadlines. Keep track of all your applications and make sure to monitor social media channels daily. Spend some time out in the fresh, crisp fall air and take the time to visit with family and friends. Remember, the right job for you is out there!
And so, with the changing leaves and the return of pumpkin spice lattes, comes the opening of hiring season. Use these tips to stay on top of your game and really narrow your job search. You’ll be interviewing in no time!
Amit De is the CEO and Co-founder of CareerLeaf, a platform that helps job seekers showcase their skills and talents, search for jobs, and track and organize communications all from one place. Connect with Amit and CareerLeaf on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.