Tips for Success in Your Job Search

From starting your search to landing your dream job

Tips for Success in Your Job Search

Part of the newest job force generation to enter the market? You are entering an entry level job climate that is quite different from those of earlier generations. This survey from Adecco shows that 32% of those in Generation Z are concerned with finding a job after graduating. Let’s ease those concerns with these tips for success in your job search.


Where Do You Search

Job Boards - One of the most comprehensive sites out there now is Indeed. This site has a massive amount of jobs posted every day and pulls from several other sites. Once you search for a job (ie. entry level Finance) the site will ask you if you want to set up a job alert. This is a great way to make sure you are staying up to date with what is being posted. Other great sites that are similar include CareerBuilder, Monster, and GlassDoor.

Networking - Many jobs are landed through your network. According to PayScale, the number of jobs that were filled through networking is estimated somewhere between 70 - 85%! With those stats, this is an absolute must in your job search. This is the group of people you know who may be able to recommend you for a position. To tap into this method, let people know you are looking and what you are looking for. This would include your friends, family, professors, and former co-workers.

Social Media and LinkedIn- The largest social media platform for hiring is LinkedIn. It includes a job search function which is similar to the job board site and an app. Be sure to use the search function to look for people posting jobs in their notifications as well.

Your Brand

In today’s job market you need to make sure your profile is consistent online. The best place to start is to create a profile on LinkedIn. Tell recruiters and hiring managers who you are and why you would be a great addition to their company. Make sure you complete all sections and include any clubs, organizations, internships, or work experience you have. Even if it doesn’t correlate directly to what you want to do, it shows employers you have experience in being responsible and juggling commitments.

In addition to LinkedIn, you should review your existing social media profiles to ensure they are sending the message you desire. Right or wrong, many companies will look at your online presence to see if you are they type of candidate they want in their organization.


Think of your resume as your evidence that you are the best candidate for the position you are applying for. Start with a modern format that includes your contact information and skills in a clear and clean manner. This article from The Muse has 41 free templates that are good options to start with.

Some schools have fantastic career centers that will review your resume for you and provide suggestions. This is an awesome benefit and you should definitely take advantage of it. I also recommend asking any managers or recruiters you know to review it, since they know what stands out.

Job Applications

Once you get your resume in order and find some interesting positions to apply for, you will need to fill out the online application. Traditional applications include adding in work and education history, as well as proficient skills. Make sure you fill out all sections and are accurate and truthful.

A newer trend companies are using is to abandon the traditional application for a resume upload and a few paragraph form questions. The company TopTal is a great example. Click on one of their applications to see an example of the questions they are asking, like - “tell me about your greatest achievement”.


Depending on the type of role you apply for, the company may ask for references. Identify three to four people who would provide you a positive recommendation. Reach out to them to confirm they would be ok with you using them as a reference. This way you know they are going to give positive feedback and will respond if the company reaches out.

You don’t need to include these references in your resume, nor should you add “references available upon request”. If the company is interested in your references, they will ask for it in the application or interview phase.

List of strengths and weaknesses

To help you with your confidence in the job search process, make a list of all your strengths and weaknesses. In the interview process, find ways to bring up your strengths in your answers while steering attention away from weaknesses. You may be asked specifically about your biggest weakness, so prepare a potential answer to this. Check out these examples from The Balance to help you avoid being stumped if this question comes up.


The best way to ensure success in an interview is to prepare potential answers to common interview questions. While there may be a few more job specific questions, these 50 questions from GlassDoor represent the majority of what you would be asked. You won’t have the answers memorized word for word, but you should have a general idea of how you would answer them. Prepare examples of difficult situations you have overcome and achievements you have worked towards. The STAR method for answering interview questions is perhaps the best approach. It includes providing the interviewer with the Situation, Tasks, Action, and Results. This gives them the whole picture, including the outcome to show how you handle situations.

Follow up

After you apply to a position, I recommend reaching out to someone in the company to see if you can connect with them about their experience at the company. Ideally this would be the hiring manager or someone in the department you have applied. This shows interest in the company and could help you land an interview.

If you land an interview, a thank you letter or email is customary. An email is totally acceptable and the quickest way to show you appreciate the time they took to interview you. It’s also a great way to reiterate your interest and remind them of you as a candidate. Up to two weeks after your interview and initial thank you letter, it is acceptable to send a follow up email if you haven't heard anything. Even if you don’t receive an offer for the initial role, this could prompt the recruiter to submit your resume for another opening.

Job Offer & Negotiation

It can be tempting to accept on the spot when you receive a job offer, but that can leave thousands of dollars on the table! According to USA Today, “Most hiring managers said they had room in negotiations to bump up their salary offers by 5% to 10%.”

Something as simple as “I am very excited about the offer and joining xx company, but do you have any room to go a little higher on the offered salary?” Most of the time that is enough to get them to bump it up to avoid losing their top candidate.

Success tips while on the job

Once you start your new position, make extra effort to give a good impression. Ask questions and take initiative. It can be tempting to wait until direction is given, but taking the step to make things happen and offer suggestions is more valuable to the organization.

Searching and starting a new job, whether it is your first or tenth is both exciting and nerve wracking. Try not to stress out, the right job is out there for you! Consistently search for jobs in your desired interests, connect with people that can recommend you, and prepare. You will be starting your next job before you know it.


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