What should you focus on when looking for a new job?

Applying to jobs sometimes can be a bet. In a typical job market, the hit rate for getting an interview is maybe 10%. When you apply, plan on sending out 200 resumes, not 20, and focus on what you can control: being the absolute best job candidate possible. 

Getting a job is like playing basketball, it’s not just shooting, it’s also dribbling, it’s passing, and it’s rebounding. How do you get better at those things? You practice them, and you get feedback.

It’s the same with job searching. Building a resume is a skill, and you need feedback to get better. Get your resume in front of four or five people who you respect and who can tell you how to make it even better.

Interviewing is another skill. You need to practice interviewing. You have to prepare your pitch and research the company ruthlessly before you even go into the conversation.

Finally, you should be networking. Don’t view networking as, “I just want to use this person to get a job.” Have informational interviews and build connections way before you even need a job. Get coffee with people who do the thing you might want to do, or work at a company you might want to work for.

Never Let Your Resume Speak for You 

The wrong way to look for jobs involves visiting a company’s career page, looking for available openings, blasting out your resume and then waiting for a response that almost never comes.

The problem with this method is two-fold:

By the time a job is posted is on a career page it’s going to be flooded with submissions from your competitors. The best jobs never show up on job boards. They are either recruited for independently or don’t exist until the employer meets the right candidate.

A better approach?

Be proactive and reach out directly to the companies you have an interest in. This does several things. First of all, if you can find a decision-maker in the area of business that interests you, you can avoid HR. Lookalso for a leader or manager in the company that has a title you may want one day. The best way to meet this person is through a referral. Your professors have big networks, and as business school we love making connections between students and businesses. The reason why we teach is to help you meet your career goals. That said, if you can’t get an introduction to someone, the next best thing is an email structured in the right way.

Take the time of cv writing to learn about yourself!

A job search is basically like looking at yourself in the mirror, and saying, “Okay, what is it that I want next? What can I do? What do I want to do? What’s going to make me happy?”

Take advantage of the time you have right now. Be introspective. You never have to face your own humanity as much as when you’re putting yourself out there and trying to get people to tell you “yes.” You’re going to evolve and change through this process, and that’s a good thing.

Don’t be afraid of starting to network, start from your friends, family, and professors. Soon after, your circle will widen to the people you meet at your first job and will continue to expand exponentially. Eventually, networking will feel more natural, and even easy, to you.

Take your time and good luck!