I approach the job search as a lengthy process of apply, reflect, refine, repeat.
I won’t get into the resume writing aspect, since there are countless resources out there, so I’ll just say this: identify jobs you’d like to have, aggregate the required skills and qualifications, then write your resume that highlights and frames everything that fits those requirements.
I usually apply to hundreds of jobs. Some I may want. Some I may not want. When I get an interview, I try to learn everything I can about the position and the company, and I sell myself to the best of my ability. I always ask a lot of questions: what are the challenges of the job? What is the ideal candidate? What do you like about my skills and experiences? What don’t you like? Etc. I then fill in the gaps in my resume and cover letter.
In the beginning of a new job search, i usually don’t get many interview requests. My resume may need work, and I’m usually not great at selling myself.
But due to the sheer volume of applications, I do get interviews which in turn allow me to collect data on companies and positions so I can refine my resume and my approach to the interview process,and become acquainted with the questions and how to pitch myself, etc.
I always try to get a final interview, even if I’m not sold on the job. Recruiters and hiring managers probably dislike people like me who go the distance only to decline the offer. But it’s invaluable experience, and you’re interviewing companies as much as they are interviewing you. Remember that.
After a few weeks of getting warmed up, I apply to my choice companies/ positions.
By this time I am polished, confident, and know the interview process inside and out, and am familiar with the positions and responsibilities that I’m aiming for.
This method is highly effective, but lengthy, and time consuming.
The exposure to all the recruiters, going through the interview process, asking tons of questions and collecting information about how the business works, how the departments work, the responsibilities of the role, the processes, the culture, advancement, etc is invaluable experience that you can leverage when interviewing for the companies/ positions you’d really like.
As an example, I applied to about 10 companies a day for about 8 weeks before I landed my ideal job. Starting out I received maybe 1-3 interview requests the first week or two, and rarely getting past the first and second interview.
After refining the resume and polishing my interview skills, I was receiving 5-6 interviews a week, had to turn down many offers and final interviews requiring travel that I knew I wouldn’t take.
This really gave me confidence. It allowed me to negotiate salary. And I knew if I walked away there were other offers waiting.
Starting out, the job search can be daunting. But just dive in. Apply, reflect, refine, repeat. You’ll know your worth, and learn to sell yourself.
Best of luck!