There are two times of the year when hiring is incredibly busy, especially for entry-level positions: the beginning of the year and the summer.
January and February are always big months for hiring, regardless of what’s going down with the economy. Companies have new budgets, new positions, and a need for workers.
The summer is also huge for entry-level hiring because a ton of fresh-faced college grads are on the hunt—and companies know this!
So how do you stand out from a sea of applicants? How do you maneuver your way through busy hiring seasons without losing your mind? Below, I’ve laid out some of my favorite tips that can help you year round.
1. Stick to a Plan
Shooting off random résumés seldom looks good to a hiring manager, and trust me, they know when you’ve been applying to everything in sight.
Companies want focused and committed people, not people who look desperate for a job and will take anything.
Have a focused plan and stick to it. What field do you want to go into? What kind of position are you looking for? What do you see yourself doing on a daily basis?
The clearer you get, the better. It will help you become more efficient in the application process and prepare better for interviews.
2. Stay Organized
From a simple Excel spreadsheet to free online programs like ApplyMate, you can stay organized on the job hunt in many different ways. Make sure to have some sort of system so you know application deadlines, where you’ve applied, whom you talked to, whom you interviewed with, etc.
3. Try Conducting Informational Interviews
Candidates set up informational interviews to meet with a professional and pick their brains. Rather than asking for a job, you interview the professional about their industry, what their days are like, how they got started, and so forth. It’s probably the best way to get first-hand research on an industry or field you may be interested in.
If you’re shy about setting up meetings, don’t sweat it! Most people are flattered when they hear someone wants to talk to them about their expertise. For more information on these kinds of interviews, definitely pick up the book that started it all, What Color is Your Parachute?
4. Become Acquainted With LinkedIn
LinkedIn has come a long way since it first started. What was once considered a Facebook for older professionals has turned into an absolute goldmine for anyone wanting to excel in their career—regardless of what stage they are in.
LinkedIn has a ton of awesome features that can help you on your 2013 job hunt. My personal favorite is the News section, which you can fully customize to fit your needs. Use this feature to keep up with news, insights, and research happening in your desired industry or field. You can find out everything—from which cities are hiring for a particular field to what you should avoid altogether.
(PS: Use some of these insights during your interviews too. It shows you’re actually knowledgeable in a certain industry!)
WorkAwesome has a stellar guide on how to use the different LinkedIn features to help you find a job.
Whether you’re looking for a job for the new year, are graduating this spring, or simply feel like there’s a lot of competition, the aforementioned tips will help you stay organized, stand out, and get ahead in the hiring game.
How have you kept your sanity during a job search? Let us know in the comments.