Looking for an internship or job can be a difficult task. With all of the online tools available to you as a job seeker—job boards, niche industry websites, social media networks, online resume sites—where should you begin your search?
It can be overwhelming to start from scratch, but that’s where a target comes in handy. A target is defined as: “a person, object, or place selected as the aim of an attack.” While you’re obviously not attacking anyone in your job search, you should be aiming your job search efforts toward something specific during your job hunt.
Here are a few ways to target your search:
Search for companies instead of jobs. Although it can be easy to fall into the trap of simply searching for any job in your field, you should instead focus on specific companies for which you’d like to work. You’ll be able to determine if their cultures and values meet your expectations at the beginning of the application process.
Follow your targeted companies on social media. Learn more about a potential employer by reading the organization’s blog, Twitter feed, Facebook page updates and other online (and offline) content. Look for key individuals who already work at the company with whom you can connect via social media channels. Leave thoughtful comments or ask great questions on their Web content to help current employees get to know you before you apply. Building these relationships first can help give you a great advantage when applying for an open job.
Create a job search plan. How much time do you plan to spend each day on job searching? What about on social networks, creating a portfolio, or blogging? Decide how you’ll spend your hours in the day to land your job or internship. Consider each task and set the amount of time you’ll spend on it so your efforts are as focused as possible. It can be easy to get sucked into the “Internet black hole” when searching for job openings; having a plan minimizes these distractions. And don’t forget the value of offline job hunting—attend networking functions and career fairs, stop into offices and ask for information in person, and ask your friends and acquaintances to keep an ear out for you. Although a job search can easily be a full-time job, you also need to factor in time for your hobbies, exercising, or for any other activity you enjoy.
Keep your network informed about your job search efforts and goals. Someone you already know may know someone at one of your dream companies. But you’ll never know until you interact with those people already in your network. Talk with these individuals about your search, update them on organizations for which you’ve applied, and make time for people in your network that you can help in some way. Networking is often the tactic that leads to a new job opportunity.
How else can job seekers target their job search to land a new job? Do you have a specific example of something you did that worked?