Did you know that 25% of Gen Z students start their job search as soon as they become sophomores? While half of them start in their junior or senior year. Only one in ten waits until after graduation. That’s how crazy the job market is, and we can’t enter it without a plan. Build a professional identity by implementing effective job search strategies that stand out and get noticed by recruiters.
Times remain challenging in the job-hunting process. 2023 saw continued tech industry layoffs, hiring freezes, and an ongoing recession. Over 280,000 tech workers globally were laid off in 2023 from high-flying companies, of which 184,101 were from the UAE alone.
While in 2024, global economic uncertainty continues, but some recovery signs have emerged. The UAE has already seen a 9 percent growth in 2024, with newer jobs emerging in the IT, banking, construction, finance, and real estate sectors.
Apart from global challenges, the anxiety of the job-hunting process on its own can be exhausting. This can be stressful because sometimes applicants take jobs they are not passionate about. Hence, when candidates face rejections due to their half-hearted job applications, they get demotivated.
So, what can you do to ensure a smooth job search process, maintain your performance, and protect yourself from the recent layoffs?
You prepare relevant job search strategies before you enter the job search process!
How to Plan Your Job Search Strategy?
The hiring process looks quite different today compared to even a few years ago. Recruiters and hiring managers are inundated with applications, so getting noticed requires a strategic approach. With the right techniques, you can catch a recruiter's eye, ace the interview process, and showcase how your skills make you the ideal candidate.
1. Customize The Application Materials
Simply submitting the same generic resume and cover letter to every job opening is extremely unlikely to capture a hiring manager's interest. Instead, tailor these materials to align closely with each role's qualifications. Taking the time to customize application materials significantly improves your chances of moving forward.
[fs-toc-omit] For Your Resume
Closely review the job description and identify the required and preferred skills. Then, highlight the experience from your work history that directly shows these abilities.
Use the main keywords from the job posting throughout your resume and cover letter to make an amazing resume. This helps them pass automated screening and catch a recruiter's eye. Also, emphasize your accomplishments that would add value to the open position. This can be done using facts/data to quantify achievements.
[fs-toc-omit] For Your Cover Letter
A unique cover letter is a must for every application. You can’t rely on slightly tweaking the same general letter.
Address the letter directly to the hiring manager and mention all your experiences and skills that align with the role's goals. Conclude by how you are excited to bring your relevant strengths to the table.
The key is keeping the letter concise and focused on showcasing how you would contribute to the specific team/company.
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2. Build a Better Online Presence
The hiring process leans more digital than ever before. Embrace tools and resources across the job search to search for more opportunities.
Begin by having a professional LinkedIn profile that highlights your experience and skills, it serves as your online CV. However, simply making a profile isn’t enough though. Regularly update it as recruiters often review profiles of prospective candidates. Use the ‘open to work’ feature on LinkedIn to increase your chances of getting contacted by recruiters.
3. Don’t Just Learn New Skills, Spotlight Them Online
What skills from your past experiences apply to the new role you want? Customize how you describe your background to every job you apply for and emphasize technical abilities and soft skills around communication, creativity, analysis, and more. A sense of self-awareness increases your chances of booking and acing that interview and boosting your confidence.
[fs-toc-omit] Showcase Your Skills through Portfolios
Hiring managers want to see what you can do, not just your claims. Online portfolios allow you to create galleries showcasing writing samples, coding projects, design work, and analytics presentations, which make a visual impression. Showing your abilities in action is far more persuasive than just claiming skills on a resume.
4. Leverage Artificial Intelligence
It’s 2024; use AI to your advantage and uncover more tailored recommendations. How?
Some job sites, like Indeed and ZipRecruiter, offer chatbots to help refine your search based on conversational responses about your background and preferences. These bots ask qualifying questions and suggest relevant openings that closely match your targets.
[fs-toc-omit] Resume Tools
Simplify the process of building your resume and use AI-powered resume-building tools to make ATS-friendly resumes that get you seen. You can also review these resumes via AI-powered tools to analyze and provide feedback on aspects to improve. The technology checks for problematic keywords, formatting issues, and quantifiable metrics and suggests ways to refine the content to be more appealing to hiring managers.
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5. Diversify Your Search Channels
While job boards provide the largest pool of openings, excellent opportunities get posted across various platforms. It’s time you expand beyond the major boards to uncover ideal roles.
Look up individual company career pages for openings not advertised elsewhere, especially if you have specific employers in mind. You can also follow social media channels for companies you’re interested in working for to hear about new openings as soon as they’re posted.
Certain sectors have dedicated hiring platforms for specific roles and openings, while professional associations and trade publications commonly list opportunities relevant to their member base. Casting a wider net across more channels exposes you to far more potential fits that may not be posted on the giant mainstream job boards.
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6. Utilize Filters on Job Boards
Major job boards list thousands of job openings across all industries. Here’s how to make the most of these job boards:
[fs-toc-omit] Set Location Preferences
Filter by your preferred work location, remote, hybrid, or in specific cities/regions you’d commute to. This narrows the options to openings that are reasonably accessible for you.
[fs-toc-omit] Select Company Size
Based on culture fit, decide whether you prefer working at a small startup or large enterprise—filter by company size categories to focus on your preference.
[fs-toc-omit] Use Advanced Search Functions
Identify must-have categories like salary range, job type (full-time, contract, etc.), department, and years of experience and filter accordingly. Search using relevant keywords for your skillset and saved searches to be alerted of new matching listings.
Leveraging filters makes an overwhelming giant pool of postings more manageable. You can hone in on openings well aligned with your situation and priorities using multiple parameters.
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7. Keep Job Alerts and Notifications On
Even after setting filters, new openings that could be a great match continually get posted. Sign up for alerts to stay updated on the latest roles tailored to your search criteria.
[fs-toc-omit] Review and Organize Listings
Save search parameters and preferences to get emailed when new listings meet your specifics. Flag roles you want to revisit or continue following up on so they don’t get lost in the mix.
[fs-toc-omit] Create Reminders
Set calendar reminders to check platforms for newly posted openings matching your target areas every week or month. Similarly, add reminders to follow up with contacts regarding opportunities you previously discussed. Ongoing alerts and reminders help promising openings stay top of mind amidst the high volume of positions available at any given time.
8. Avoid the Easy Apply Trap
Job boards make it extremely easy to rapidly submit hundreds of applications with just the click of a button. However, this approach is rarely effective on its own.
[fs-toc-omit] Target Relevant Listings
Thoroughly read each listing before applying to ensure your background aligns closely with the qualifications. Only apply to roles where you meet at least 75% of the requirements. Look beyond the job title and focus on the skills needed to succeed. Evaluate if it’s a strong fit before moving forward.
[fs-toc-omit] Follow Up Personally
Following up with recruiters or hiring managers shows initiative and serious interest in roles. After applying, wait 1-2 weeks, then check the status. If you are interviewed, always send thank you notes within 24 hours. Then follow up again in 2 weeks if you haven't heard back.
Being politely persistent without being pushy can surely get you in.
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[fs-toc-omit] Final Word
The hiring landscape grows more competitive each year, so relying on traditional application methods often falls short. Adapting your approach using the latest best practices for 2024 sets you up for greater success.
There is no lie that the thought of starting a job search process is scary, but not if you break it into smaller tasks and assign a deadline to each task. With a balanced, strategic job search process, you can overcome obstacles and position yourself to land the perfect role.