7 Unusual Job Search Hacks

Job searches can be incredibly stressful. Whether we’re burning through savings or pining for something different, our haste to end the search successfully can lead us to make some novice errors, like sending applications where we definitely don’t fit or coming across as mechanical in our interactions. To help correct for these errors, we’ve collected seven unusual job-search hacks to improve your chances of success.

job search hacks

1.  Think About Salary Before the Search

Don’t wait until you’ve been offered a job to think about salary; look into salaries in your target career in advance of your search. Balance average salaries in your field with your personal circumstances and cost of living to determine a preferred salary—and the minimum salary you’ll accept. This way, you’ll know what an appropriate offer looks like and won’t waste time applying for jobs that don’t meet your needs.

2.  80/20 Fit

In the rush to land work, we may panic and submit applications to every job posting we find, regardless of the required qualifications. But this approach is as effective as throwing resumes into the wind. Instead, only apply to jobs where your skills and work history indicate your future success.

But this leads to a dilemma: you won’t find a job where you meet all the qualifications all the time. To quell your inner perfectionist, use the 80/20 rule. Do you meet 80% of the required qualifications? Is the remaining 20% something you can learn? Then go for it!

3.  Tailor Your Resume

The one-and-done resume doesn’t cut it anymore. Applicant tracking systems filter resumes that don’t contain keywords, and human recruiters have piles of resumes to sift through, thanks to the ease of online submissions. To stand out, you need to tailor your resume to every job. Include keywords found in the job posting and reorganize your experience to headline the most relevant stuff. Oh, and always be wary of those common resume mistakes.

4.  Apply to Work with People

Don’t apply to work at companies; apply to work with people. Too often, job searchers view companies as unfeeling, monolithic entities. You want a job, the company wants work done, and that’s the extent of the relationship.

Instead, think about how your skill set can assist people, and write your resume and cover letter with this mindset. Then, if possible, follow up in person for a quick hello and reiteration of your interest. People remember people, not names, and even this short interaction can be the foundation for personable relationship.

If an in-person follow up isn’t possible, a follow-up phone call can be just as personable.

5.  Become a Storyteller

Humans respond to stories better than facts and figures, so use them in your application. Statistics are great in a resume where they can be skimmed, but including short, personable anecdotes in your cover letter and interview will make you more memorable.

When contemplating how to tell your stories, consider the company’s culture. If the company is all business, relay your stories in a more formal manner. If the company is laid back, feel free to extol the virtues of your hoodie collection, so long as it ties into a skill or trait that benefits them.

6.  Work with Social Media, Not Against It

Danny can’t land a job thanks to a political opinion he posted in 2008, and Lauren has never received a callback because she makes duck face in all her profile pictures. Stories like these can lead people to think of social media as the job search’s natural enemy, but it’s actually a useful tool for networking.

Don’t get us wrong: You need to scrub your feeds of anything unprofessional (let’s face it: 14-year-old you lacked certain social graces). But you shouldn’t be overzealous in your scrubbing. As we mentioned, recruiters respond better to people, so let your personality shine.

Don’t forget to use these networks in your search, too. Let your followers on Twitter know you’re looking for work, and update your LinkedIn status appropriately. Social media allows you to locate and network with recruiters in ways that can be friendly, professional, and profitable all at once.

7.  Mock interview

Have friends act as interviewers and ask you common interview questions, including the dreaded “tell me about yourself.” While you can request direct feedback, they’re more likely to give you positive support than an honest critique. That’s okay. The point here is practice. You want to figure out what stories to tell, iron out those pesky interview mistakes, and get the details perfect.

These seven unusual hacks are designed to get you in the right mental state for your job search. They help you gather resources, network with recruiters, and present you as a person looking to join a group of peers, rather than just a series of numbers and skills on a resume. By correcting for the errors we make when panicking or in a rush, these job search hacks will ultimately save you time and increase your chances of concluding the search successfully.

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