Tag: job ads


Limiting the Jobs You Apply to Is Healthy For Your Job Search

When looking for a job, it can be tempting to apply for a lot of open positions. After all, shouldn’t you cast your net wide, especially if you’re in a desperate situation? The answer is no, not typically. So what should you do instead? I suggest a better use of your time is to curate and apply only to jobs that make the most sense.

I’ll speak about how to determine which ones make the most sense in a moment. But first, I want to talk about why curation is both an important and necessary step in your job search.

Why you should curate job postings

There are so many jobs listed in various online job boards. You could spend an unhealthy amount of time with the online application process. This is not always time well spent. Especially given how 80% of the workforce found their jobs through networking, not applying to jobs.

This is why I tell my clients they should spend only 20% of their job search answering job ads, and 80% networking. But most job seekers have this reversed.

As a result, you should limit your job applications to a manageable amount, so your time is freed up for more networking efforts.

Also, being selective in the jobs you apply to shows focus. I’ve previously written how applying for a lot of different jobs, especially different roles within the same company, can signal to employers a lack of focus. They often view this as a huge red flag.

How many jobs should you apply to?

Allow me to use some similar language from Justin Whitmel Earley’s book, The Common Rule: Habits of Purpose for an Age of Distraction. He talks about the importance of curating the media we watch as one way to foster healthy habits. While he’s referring to media consumption, I’m going to refer to job applications.

So then, how many jobs should you apply to? It’s up to you to decide what your limit will be. “The point,” Earley says, “is to determine some kind of limit that forces curation.”

You can’t apply to every job listed in your field, but you should apply to some, perhaps even many. However, you also must curate them, instead of allowing the online job boards that care nothing about your career to curate them for you.

Earley says, “The good life doesn’t come from the ability to choose anything and everything; the good life comes from the ability to choose good things by setting limits.” You can substitute the word “career” for the word “life” in this quote, and it would still ring true.

Unlimited choices lead to “decision fatigue.” But limits, however, provide freedom. In the case of a job search, this could be the freedom to meet new people and grow your network, or discover opportunities not yet advertised.

By limiting and curating certain job ads, you improve your ability to make good career decisions.

What kind of jobs should you apply to?

Earley says, “Curation implies a sense of the good. An art gallery has limited space on the wall, so its curator creates shows to make the best use of that space according to a vision for good art.”

I recommend you develop a vision for good opportunities. The jobs it makes most sense to apply to are the ones meeting at least some of the following criteria:

1. Jobs matching at least 65 to 75% of your “must-have” requirements for a job. This will help you stay realistic without settling.

2. Ones where your skills match at least 65 to 75% of the qualifications. Remember from my previous post, “How to Know If You Should Apply for a Job You’re Not Qualified For,” job ads are written like wish lists. It’s unlikely there’s a candidate who checks every single box.

Where you might lack a particular skill, you make up for it with the ability to learn quickly, or with other assets such as emotional intelligence.

3. Jobs listed on LinkedIn or a company’s web site, instead of those listed on a big job board where the market is saturated and the postings are questionable.

4. Those your networking contacts have referred you to. This is the most effective way to apply for jobs. Therefore, you should spend much of your time building relationships with your contacts.

Conclusion

You may currently be in a situation where you feel like you have to find anything, and fast. But keep this in mind: by not being selective enough to curate a good list of job opportunities, you might find yourself right back in the same situation a year from now. This can turn into an unhealthy cycle. Is this really what you want?

It’s time to take a healthier approach so you can be more successful in your job search, and ultimately, your career.

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Do You Really Need a Cover Letter?

Do you really need a cover letter to go along with your résumé? People ask me this question a lot. While a LinkedIn profile and a résumé are still necessary when applying for a job, it’s not always clear if a cover letter is necessary.

When to include a cover letter

Here’s a simple rule to keep in mind: always show you can follow instructions by providing what the job ad asks for. If a job ad says to send a cover letter along with your résumé, then do so. If it doesn’t, you don’t have to.

But if including a cover letter is optional, keep the following things in mind:

1) It’s likely hiring managers and recruiters won’t read your cover letter. Especially if you’re applying for a job that doesn’t require you to have strong writing skills. Recruiters don’t have the time to read through both cover letters and résumés, even after they’re stack has been narrowed down with résumé filtering software.

2) If you’re applying for a job that requires strong writing skills, it’s a good idea to include a cover letter. Hiring managers may use it as a writing sample to see how well you write. This is why you really need to write your cover letter yourself.

You may save yourself some time in the short run by getting someone else to write your cover letter for you. But it could hurt you in the long run. This could be seen as misrepresenting yourself. In fact, I know professional résumé writers who refuse to write cover letters for this reason.

10 tips for a good cover letter

If and when you need to include a cover letter with your résumé, you’ll want to follow these general tips:

  • Include your name and contact info in the same format as you have on your résumé.
  • Include the company’s name and contact info after the date.
  • Always try to get a name and title of an actual person to address your letter to. If you can’t find one, then use “Dear hiring manager” or “Dear Sir or Madam” as your greeting. Never use “To whom it may concern.”
  • Always end your greeting with a colon, not a comma, since a cover letter is a business letter and not a personal letter. Using a comma instead of a colon is the most common mistake I see on cover letters.
  • In the first paragraph, state your interest in the job and how you heard about it. This helps the company identify which job advertising methods are working best for them.
  • In the second paragraph, briefly state how your experience matches up with the job requirements. Site a specific example of something you’ve accomplished in a past job that exemplifies how you can contribute in this job similarly.
  • In the third and final paragraph, be assertive and ask for the interview. Do this by indicating you’re interest in the opportunity to further discuss your qualifications. Include the best and easiest way to reach you.
  • Avoid phrases like “I think,” “I feel,” or “I believe” when describing your skills and strengths. These phrases make you sound like you’re not confident. Simply state what you know you can bring to the table.
  • Keep it brief. This is not the time to repeat your résumé in paragraph form. Make your cover letter as concise and easy to read as possible. If your writing is wordy, try to say the same thing in fewer words.
  • Don’t send out the same cover letter to every job. You’ll need to change a few things to personalize it to the company or position. When doing this, be careful with copying and pasting. You don’t want to make a mistake, like not changing the company name in the middle of your last paragraph. Avoiding mistakes like this will require more focused and more frequent proofreading.

Resources

While you should always write your cover letter yourself, you can have it critiqued by paNASH. This is one of several services included in the “Career Passion” coaching track.

In addition to tips for writing cover letters, you can get numerous tips on résumé writing from the following resources:

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What Are the Best Alternatives to Online Job Boards?

With all of those who’ve lost their jobs from the COVID-19 crisis, online job boards are expected to be flooded with job seekers once quarantine bans begin to lift and jobs start to re-open.

Even before the virus, these boards have been filled with a sea of job seekers. This means there’s always a lot of competition on these boards. Which is exactly why they should be a last resort for serious candidates.

A job search can take up a lot of time. In fact, you should expect to spend at least 20 hours a week on your job search. Yeah, it’s a job in and of itself!

Therefore, you definitely want to use your time wisely. You don’t want to waste it sifting through a ton of irrelevant jobs. Because let’s face it, search filters aren’t always good at weeding out the jobs you don’t want.

You also don’t want to waste your time getting lost in the herd. Popular online job boards are often a virtual cattle call.

So where should you look for jobs?

Typically the answer is through networking. But this is a challenge while quarantined. So right now you may have to spend more time searching for jobs online.

Where should you look online besides the go-to sites everyone else flocks to? How should you do so without wasting too much of your precious time?

Here are a few suggestions to help you use your time wisely and find more jobs related to what you’re seeking.

5 best alternatives to popular online job boards

1. Industry-specific online job boards

While everyone else typically starts with the most popular online job sites, it’s better to search for online job boards relevant to the specific industry in which you’re seeking employment. While not all industries have their own job boards, most do.

This is extremely helpful in saving you the time from having to weed out the irrelevant jobs that slip through search filters.

2. Professional association sites

Professional associations related to your industry or job function can accomplish the same thing. Many relevant companies will list their openings on these sites because they know they’ll attract people with the right experience.

I found two of my own jobs through professional associations when I was working in college career services. They were one of the first places I searched both times I was looking to relocate.

Keep in mind however, you usually have to be a member of the association in order to see the job listings or to receive notifications about openings. It’s likely your current company is already paying for those membership fees.

If not, you may have to join on your own and pay the fee out of your own pocket. This could be a good investment though. Especially since professional associations also provide a built-in network right at your finger tips. You can build relationships with other members who may know of something coming open.

3. Company websites

Individual company websites are the best place to start! This is because it doesn’t cost the company anything to post a job on their own site. Therefore, they’ll likely post openings here before they do anywhere else.

The added benefit of going to a company site first is you can learn more about the company’s mission and core values. This will help you know a little more about what it’s like to work there. Of course, you want to ask more about company culture in your interview, but this is a good place to start.

4. LinkedIn’s advanced search

Most people who use the job ads feature on LinkedIn aren’t aware of just how specific they can get with their search. I’ve had to show several clients how to use the advanced search feature because it’s not very intuitive or user-friendly.

Plus, LinkedIn often changes its platform functionality pretty frequently. So, once you figure out how to find something on LinkedIn, you usually have to learn it all over again due to such changes.

As of the time of this writing, you want to follow these steps:

  1. Put your cursor in the search bar at the top of the LinkedIn home page without typing anything.
  2. Click on the “jobs” button from the menu which appears under the search bar.
  3. Go over all the way to the far right of the jobs menu and click “All filters.”

From the “all filters” screen, you can narrow down your search to not just the basic criteria you would expect, but also more specific criteria, such as:

  • Jobs only posted in the past week or even the past 24 hours.
  • Opportunities with only less than 10 applicants.
  • Remote jobs.
  • Jobs offering certain benefits like student loan assistance or paid maternity and paternity leave.
  • Opportunities with fair-chance employers.
  • And more!

These filters let you start broad and narrow down, or begin with a specific focus and expand from there.

5. LinkedIn groups

Joining LinkedIn groups related to your industry or job function is a good way to see the latest information circulating about those industries. This includes which companies are hiring.

Granted, LinkedIn used to do a much better job of separating the job postings within groups from the other group discussions. But you can still find hiring announcements within the group’s feed. You just need to scroll through it more frequently, preferably once a day.

You can also set your notifications to receive updates from your various groups.

LinkedIn lets you join up to 50 groups. And there is some strategy involved in choosing which groups to join, and how to make the most of them. This is something I teach my clients how to do.

Conclusion

If you’ve suddenly found yourself in a job search and you’re already frustrated with online job boards, you have other options. You don’t have to feel like a number or part of the herd, wondering if your resume is lost in some black cyberspace hole.

paNASH can help! Career coaching services include ways to be more strategic with your job search, how to use LinkedIn to its full capacity, how to negotiate a better salary, and more!

Get started by filling out the paNASH intake form to schedule a complimentary coaching call. Filling out the form does not obligate you in any way. I look forward to hearing from you and helping you!

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