Tips for a High-Octane Job Search: Part 2

In the previous post, Tips for a High Octane Job Search: Part 1, we discussed how to spend less time to greater effect on your cover letter and resume.  Now we’ll take a look at the job application process.

Apply Where You’re Wanted

It never fails to astonish me how little some organizations with a job opening want to hear from job seekers.  They’re looking for a new employee!  Don’t they want as large a pool of qualified candidates as possible to choose from?  And yet many organizations have cumbersome, slow job application processes that seem to be designed to assure as few completed applications as possible.  To which I respond: fine.  I won’t waste my time.

Unless you really want the job that’s offered, I suggest you avoid any job application process that’s computerized.  You may not have much choice in the matter, but all other things being equal, go for the application process that you can complete as quickly as possible.  The more applications you complete, the more choices you’ll have between job opportunities, and the more likely you’ll be to find a position you want, quickly.

Make a Job Application Process

By the time I was hired here, I had a process in place that allowed me to apply to a position that I was qualified for in about 20 minutes for emailed applications, and 40 minutes for computer and fax applications.  I had a schedule and script for follow-up calls, and I had files for applications at each stage of the hiring process.  By having this system in place, I could take a call from a potential employer and be able to bring up a copy of all correspondence and phone interview notes in moments.  I also had a paper trail for how I spent my time and proof for my unemployment claims.

I recommend, from my own experience, that you create a system for organizing your job application paperwork.  My system was to first create a 3×5 index card with the name of the company I was applying to, my contact there, and the contact’s contact information.  Each time I made contact with the representative, I made a note as to the date and time, and a brief summary of the discussion, followed by a follow-up date.  When I applied to the job position, I stapled a copy of the job description to the index card, followed by a copy of the cover letter and resume I sent.  If I had a interview, I would staple the notes of the interview to the index card.

Coupling the pseudo-filing system with a calendar to keep track of follow-up dates, I could maintain several dozen job applications in the hiring process.  By having a system, I could apply to as many appropriate job openings as I could find, and be assured that none of them would slip through the cracks.  This is how to maintain high job application production.

Call People Who May Hire You

Seriously, the phone is your friend.  I understand, you’re hesitant to to call someone out of the clear blue.  It feels like telemarketing.  Nevertheless, people in the business world are far more likely to accept a solicitation over the phone than in the private world.  Put together a little script that introduces yourself and asks them a brief question: “Are you looking for a job title, or do you know anyone who is?”  Have a file of your resume ready and a thank you email pre-written and ready to send.  I’ve used this method to find more than a couple openings at small firms where the owner was thinking about hiring someone, but hadn’t gotten around to doing it quite yet.  Trust me, being the first applicant gives you a tremendous advantage.

Also, don’t be afraid to follow up on a job application by phone.  Sometimes people need a nudge to get them to look at your resume.

Conclusion

Of all the job search tips I have, these are the ones I’ve never seen suggested by anyone else, and yet they were the most useful for me.  Good luck in your job search!  If you come across any other good tips, let us know in the comments.

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