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How to Get a Job: Your Most Common Questions Answered 2021

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Finding a job is a job in itself. It takes many hours of searching, writing, emailing, and interviewing to land a job that's right for you. Since this isn't an easy task, you probably have a lot of questions about the process. Fortunately, there's plenty of information to address all of your concerns. With a little bit of research, you can demystify the job-hunting process and land the perfect job.

Steps

Question 1 of 22:What are the best websites to use?

1There are many job board-type sites online, so it's easy to get overwhelmed. Some of the major and most reputable ones are Monster, Indeed, Glassdoor, Careerbuilder, and LinkedIn. Google also has a job board that works well. Make accounts on each of these sites and check them for postings in your field. You could also make an account and post your resume so employers can find you.

You should also look on individual company, organization, or government websites if you know the sector you'd like to work in.Expert SourceMelody Godfred, JDCareer CoachExpert Interview. 29 April 2020. Sometimes jobs are posted here that aren't listed on other sites.

There may be websites designed for your particular field as well. Check for professional organizations in your field and see if they have job boards you could use.

Question 2 of 22:Do I just have to keep looking at these websites every day?

1Nope! That would be very time-consuming and you won't have any time left for writing applications and resumes. Instead, set up alerts on these websites for the types of jobs you're looking for. You'll then get an email when a job in that field is posted. This way, you'll save yourself the trouble of checking the site every day for new postings.

You can usually choose how often you'll get alerts, ranging from daily to weekly. It's best to use the daily setting. If you apply a few days after a job is posted, the employer will probably already have a flood of candidates at that point.

Question 3 of 22:What other places can I look?

1Job fairs are a good place to look for jobs. Hand out your resume and network with people in your industry.Expert SourceMelody Godfred, JDCareer CoachExpert Interview. 29 April 2020. This can help you make a better impression than you would when applying through a website. Search online to see if there are any upcoming job fairs in your area. Dress well, bring plenty of copies of your resume, and get ready to present yourself well to potential employers.

If you're still in college, then your campus may host occasional job fairs. Stay up to date on campus events and attend all the job events you can.

Question 4 of 22:Can friends and family help too?

1Yes! Many people get jobs through their personal networks rather than applying through websites. If you're looking for work, tell everyone in your network.Expert SourceMelody Godfred, JDCareer CoachExpert Interview. 29 April 2020. Many of them probably work for companies that are hiring, and they might be able to refer you to the hiring manager. Don't hesitate to tap into your network for help.

Don't hesitate to contact people that you haven't spoken to in a while, like old bosses or teachers. If you need a job, then this isn't the time to be shy.

Companies often prioritize referrals from their own employees over random applicants, so you're at a major advantage if someone refers you.

Question 5 of 22:Should I cold-call businesses and ask if they're hiring?

1You could, but it's not very likely you'll be successful. This really isn't how companies hire anymore. It might get you a foot in the door on rare occasions, though, so you could give it a try. Just don't make this your primary search method.

This tactic works better with small local businesses than larger corporations. Small businesses might not have the money or resources to advertise jobs, so it doesn't hurt to ask some local businesses if they're hiring.

Question 6 of 22:What does a good resume look like?

1Resumes should be concise, clear, and outline all of your relevant experience. Make sure anyone reading it can skim it quickly and understand your qualifications. Put your work experience first, starting with the most recent. Use 2 or 3 bullet points to highlight your accomplishments at each job. Then add your education, inter or volunteer work, and skills.

Many companies use software to vet applications before anyone even looks at them, which means keywords are important. Include buzzwords from the job posting so the software knows your resume is relevant to the position.

Always let someone else read your resume before you send it in. They might catch errors or typos that you missed.

Question 7 of 22:How do I write a cover letter?

1Next to the resume, the cover letter is the most important part of an application. Use the opportunity to expand upon your resume and explain why your particular experience is perfect for this position. Try to start with something catchy like outlining your excitement and enthusiasm for the job. Then, in less than a page, highlight a few of your skills or qualifications and explain why you're the perfect candidate. A hiring manager should be able to read the letter in less than a minute, so be clear and concise.Trustworthy SourceHarvard Business ReviewOnline and print journal covering topics related to business management practicesGo to source

Use keywords in your cover letter as well. Companies usually run them through software as well.Expert SourceMelody Godfred, JDCareer CoachExpert Interview. 29 April 2020.

Always keep your tone professional and proofread carefully for errors.

Some jobs make a cover letter optional, but you should still submit one in this case. It shows that you give attention to detail.

Question 8 of 22:Should I use the same cover letter for each application?

1No! Cover letters should be unique to each posting.Expert SourceMelody Godfred, JDCareer CoachExpert Interview. 29 April 2020. Sending out a generic cover letter makes your application look impersonal and reflects a lack of care. Always at least re-write the introduction of your cover letters every time you apply to a new position. Write the specific company and position you're applying for so the employers knows you've written a personal letter for this application.Trustworthy SourceHarvard Business ReviewOnline and print journal covering topics related to business management practicesGo to source

If you copy and paste sections of old cover letters, check and make sure you don't use the name of other companies. This is very bad and shows the employer that you're recycling old letters.

Question 9 of 22:Should I follow up after sending my application?

1You could if you'd like. Wait 2 weeks after submitting the application and if you haven't heard anything, then it's okay to send a friendly inquiry about your status. Write a short, polite email asking if you've moved on to the next stage. Include a clear subject line so the hiring manager knows what the email is about.

Make sure you have the correct contact information for the email. Either look up the hiring manager or check past communications to see if the company provided a contact address.

Don't take it personally if you never get a response to this email. Companies receive a flood of applicants and can't always respond to each one.

Question 10 of 22:What can I expect from a job interview?

1All job interviews are different, but there are some common elements. The interviewer will try to get to know you and decide if you can do the job you're applying for. Be ready to answer questions about your past experience and explain why you're the perfect candidate. Also make sure you research the company so you can explain how you fit in with their goals.

If you have any gaps or inconsistencies on your resume, be ready to explain them. For example, you may have switched jobs multiple times within a short period. An employer could think that means you'll jump from this job as well, so have a reason for those switches.

Remember to always look professional during the interview. Wear good clothes and groom yourself to impress the interviewer.

Question 11 of 22:Should I ask questions during the interview?

1If the interviewer asks if you have any questions, then you should definitely ask some. This shows that you care about the position and have done your research. Have a few questions prepared, and be ready to come up with new ones based on what the interviewer says.

Some questions you could ask include: What is an average day like at this company? Do you enjoy your job? What challenges might I face? What are the growth opportunities at this company?

Question 12 of 22:How long should I wait before following up?

1You should always follow up with the interviewer within 24 hours after the interview. Send a quick email thanking them for their time and reiterating your interest in the position. This is courteous and shows the interviewer that you're serious about the job.

Send follow-ups to all the people who interviewed you. If you don't have contact information for everyone, then note in your email that you'd like to thank each person you met. Mention them by name.

If, however, you decide you no longer want the job, then follow up to withdraw your candidacy.

Question 13 of 22:Should I try to negotiate my salary and benefits?

1Yes, if you receive a job offer, then you can try to negotiate a better salary or benefits. Keep your requests reasonable and stay polite through the negotiation. Be clear about what you want and what will convince you to take the job. If they come up on their offer, then be willing to accept it, even if it's a bit less than you asked for.Trustworthy SourceHarvard Business ReviewOnline and print journal covering topics related to business management practicesGo to source

Remember that the salary is only one part of the negotiation. A company might have no wiggle room on the salary, but can offer better vacation benefits, for example. Be open-minded to keep the talks going.

Keep in mind that not all job offers are negotiable. The interviewers may have their hands tied by upper management and can't offer more even if they wanted to.

Don't lie during a negotiation. For example, if the interviewer asks you if you'll definitely accept a job if the company raises its offer, then don't say yes only to reject the offer later. This shows bad manners, and word could spread within the industry that you have this habit.

Question 14 of 22:What are some red flags to look out for during interviews?

1Keep an eye out for warning signs that a job isn't what you expected. You might also notice signs that the company you're interviewing for is a bad environment. Some common red flags are: the job seems very different from the posting, the company expects you to work very long hours, the interviewer asks inappropriate personal questions, details about the job and company are inconsistent, or employees seem unhappy being there.

Don't be afraid to turn down a job offer if you see any red flags during the interview process.

Remember that this isn't a comprehensive list of red flags. If you ever feel uncomfortable or suspect something isn't right, then go with your gut and don't take the job.

If you need work desperately, then you can still take the job and continue looking for something better.

Question 15 of 22:Can I get a job right away?

1Unfortunately, getting a job almost always involves some waiting. Even a company that moves quickly will take 1-2 weeks at least to officially hire you. The best way to get hired faster is have all of your job materials ready to go. Keep an updated resume and cover letter template on your computer so you don't have to spend a few hours putting these together when you apply for new jobs. This saves valuable time and lets you beat the competition.

If you do need a job fast, then try not to be too picky. You can always keep looking for work after you get the job.

Tapping into your network is another way that you might get a job faster. However, there are no guarantees that your friends or family know anyone who's hiring.

Question 16 of 22:How can I get a job if I don't have a lot of experience?

1There are a few tricks you can try to make getting a job easier. This is a common issue for younger people just starting their careers, or people entering new career fields. Fortunately, there are a few tricks you can use to make the most of limited experience and look better for potential employers.

First, you might have more experience than you realize. Think about any volunteer, internship, apprentice, or practical work you've done. Make the most of this experience on your resume and cover letter, even if it's not a lot.

Then think about the skills you have, even if you don't have official experience. You might be very good at designing apps or giving speeches. These are valuable skills that an employer would like, even if you haven't worked in those fields.

Be sure to explain why these skills and experiences pertain to the jobs you're applying for.

Question 17 of 22:What if I'm just a teenager?

1No problem! In most US states, you can start legally working at 16, and getting a job when you're still young is great experience. You just have to look in sectors that often hire teenagers. When you find openings, follow all the typical rules like putting together a good resume and cover letter, and looking professional for your interview.

Common places that teenagers work are restaurants, movie theaters, retail stores, pharmacies, amusement parks, and local attractions. Check all of these locations in your hometown to find openings.

There may also be seasonal jobs available, especially if you live in an area that gets a lot of tourism.

In many states, workers under 16 need state working papers and can only work limited hours.

Question 18 of 22:I'm sending tons of applications out - why can't I get a job?

1Job hunting is frustrating, especially if you aren't having any success. Many things can set you back in your job hunt. First, review your resume and cover letters to make sure they're well-written and clear. Ask someone to look at them for you and suggest improvements. Also make sure you're highlighting the particular skills that fit the positions you're applying for so hiring managers can tell that you're qualified. After doing that, there are a few more tricks to having more success.

Consider if you're applying for jobs that you aren't qualified for. For example, if a job requires a master's degree and you didn't finish college, you'll have a hard time getting that job. You might have to look for jobs that you're more qualified for or build your education level to be more competitive.

Check your online presence and make sure you aren't posting anything inappropriate. Employers look at your online accounts, so make sure they're all professional.

Work on your interview and personal skills if you're getting interviews without offers. Try to improve the way you answer questions and present yourself to nail the interview.

Question 19 of 22:Should I focus my search on job postings in my field during the COVID-19 crisis?

1No. While you can continue looking in your area of expertise, it's best to broaden your search into other sectors. With so many people out of work, employers might be more understanding of people applying to jobs outside their field, so cast your net wider than usual.

Be ready to explain how your past experience prepares you for this job. If you were a teacher, for example, you have good people skills and could handle a sales position.

Remember that this isn't necessarily your new career. Rather, it's a short-term solution. There's no shame in working a job outside your field or below your experience level to pay your bills until the situation improves.

Question 20 of 22:What sectors are hiring during the pandemic?

1In general, sectors that provide essential or in-demand services. Some hiring sectors are emergency services like police and fire departments, healthcare companies, delivery services, construction companies, and remote or telecommunication firms.

Companies like Amazon and UPS are hiring because there is a higher demand for home delivery. You could also get some temporary work delivering food for a restaurant or Uber Eats.

Any remote firms may also be hiring. They haven't taken as large of a hit from the crisis since their operating costs are usually lower.

Question 21 of 22:Are local businesses hiring during the pandemic?

1They might be. Some local businesses in essential industries, like restaurants or supermarkets, might have openings because of the increased demand for their services. Try calling some local businesses and checking if they have any openings.

Restaurants are hiring many more delivery drivers to handle the demand, so these would be a good place to start.

While cold-calling isn't always the most effective strategy, it might work better in this situation. Smaller local businesses might not have time to put job ads online, so contacting them directly could work.

Question 22 of 22:Should I accept temporary or freelance work during the pandemic?

1If you can find it, then definitely. Remember that this is a temporary crisis, so branching out is a good idea. If you find a job that only lasts 3 months, then take it to cover your bills in the meantime. Then you can continue looking for permanent work.

If you have any additional skills like design or writing, then you could earn some freelance income. Try posting about your services on social media to get the word out.

Temp agencies are a good source for short-term work. Try registering with one of these agencies to find some temporary work.