10 Tips for Speeding up Your Job Search

Working Man walking up stairs holding a folder

Do you need a new job, like, yesterday? Whatever your reasons for needing (or wanting) a new employer as quickly as possible, if you’re looking to kick your job search into overdrive there are a number of things you can do to speed things along. While you may not have control over the timing on the employer’s side, by taking these steps you can significantly reduce the amount of time you spend on the job market and start enjoying life at your new work home.

Be prepared

Making sure your job application materials are complete and in great shape (you’ve had several people look over each item, and you know your documents are error-free and well-crafted) is one of the most important ways to accelerate your job search because it reduces the time you have to spend on crafting or improving your materials each time you apply for a new job.

Templates are your friend

Based on the different types of positions you’re applying for, have multiple templates for your cover letter ready to go so you can customize the document in a matter of minutes, as opposed to writing a new cover letter for each job you apply to.

And, don’t just create templates for your cover letter. At the beginning of your job search, you can also create models for all of your other job-related materials like thank you notes, requests for references, networking emails, follow-ups, acceptance or rejection emails, and the like. This is an especially helpful timesaver if you are applying to many new jobs and expecting to be on the job market for more than a few weeks.

Reach out to your network

Let everyone in your professional (and personal) network know you’re actively looking for a new job and communicate what your specific goals are. Be as specific as you can when reaching out to your network about what you’re looking for, which will cut down on any unnecessary back and forth as they try to figure out how or if they can point you in the right direction. When you can (or when it’s appropriate), also attach or send them your resume or LinkedIn profile.

Update your LinkedIn profile

Because many job applications give you the option (some even require it!) to auto-populate your resume from LinkedIn, making sure that your profile is complete, up to date, and accurate ahead of time can make the application process go much more quickly.

Keywords

Take a little time to make a list of industry-relevant keywords that you see on most of the positions for which you’d apply to. Keep this list handy when you’re putting your job application materials together, and make sure that both your resume and your cover letter (but especially your resume) includes these keywords and aligns with the language employers are using in the job postings. This will make it easier for your resume to get through online “Applicant Tracking Systems” that so many employers use to weed out that first round of applications, as well as help it to stand out against other candidates when it finally does reach human eyes.

Sign up for custom job alerts

Custom job alerts are a great way to save yourself some time in your job search since you’ll get relevant jobs tailored specifically to your needs, wants, and search criteria in your email. Sign up for BioSpace job alerts here

Designate job search time in your calendar

Set aside a set amount of time each day where you work only on your job search, treating almost as if it’s another work-related task or project that you’re on deadline for. Block this time off in your calendar, and set yourself to unavailable for meetings and calls during this time. Looking at it as a mandatory professional activity or task that you have to complete will keep you motivated and moving forward (and prevent you from procrastinating).

Do the same with networking

Just as you should do with your job search, designate a fixed number of hours each week or month specifically for professional networking with the expressed goal in mind for finding a new employer.

Have a strategy

Ate the very beginning of your job search, have a clear plan from the get-go about the types of jobs, titles, companies or locations you’re looking for, and tune out all other noise you’ll likely run into during your job search. Maintain focus, and only take steps that will get you closer to your goal. It can be very difficult to try to figure out what you want out of your career or what your professional goals are while you’re simultaneously on the job market. Do any career-related soul searching before you start applying to avoid being delayed by any internal struggle or feet-dragging.

Get your references ready

Have a few letters of reference ready to go at the beginning of your job search. Or, at the very least, notify your references that they may be contacted and that you’re looking for a swift response. Explain to them your sense of urgency to confirm their own availability. For example, if one of your references is about to go on a 3-month-long sabbatical and will have limited availability or connectivity while you’re on the job search, you may want to take them off of your shortlist for professional references and find someone else who can respond quickly.  

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