1. Customize your résumé and cover letter.
It might seem faster to blast off generic materials to dozens of employers, but this will cost you time in the long run. Tailor your résumé and cover letter to each open position to clearly demonstrate how your experience fills the employers’ requirements. For example, if you’re applying for a public relations role, give your PR experience a prime spot on your résumé.
2. Diversify your search.
If you’ve been responding to newspaper ads with no response, also post your résumé online, search some job Web sites, talk to your friends and attend an industry trade show. The more ways you search, the more likely you are to connect with the right employers.
3. Don’t go solo.
Your friends, family and former co-workers each have a network of their own and a friend-of-a-friend might hold the perfect lead. Don’t be shy: Reach out to your network and let your contacts know you’re on the job market.
4. Find a company where you fit in.
Browse potential employers’ Web sites and ask your friends about what it’s like to work at their companies. Employers are looking for candidates who would be a good fit and thrive within the company culture.
5. Don’t get discouraged.
Experts estimate the average job search to last anywhere between three and 10 months and that means a lot of rejection. Keep at it: Your dream job is out there.
6. Always be prepared.
You can never be too prepared for your first meeting with a potential employer. Before your interview, always browse the company’s Web site. Find out as much as you can about the company’s products, leadership, mission and culture, and prepare answers to common interview questions.
7. Be on time.
Whether it’s an informational interview, an open house or a formal interview, always arrive about 10 minutes early. Allow plenty of time for traffic and poor weather.
8. Dress and act the part.
In a business setting, always dress in professional clothing in the best quality you can afford. Take the industry and employer into consideration, but a business suit is almost always appropriate for interviews.
9. Listen more than you talk.
Even if you’re nervous at an interview, try not to ramble. By keeping your mouth shut, you can learn valuable information about the company and avoid saying something that you’ll wish you hadn’t.
10. Ask good questions.
At the end of an interview, the employer will inevitably ask if you have any questions. Have a list of questions prepared that showcase your company research and interest in the position.