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by Isabel Sperry | February 21, 2017


Looking for a new job can be daunting, and you may be unsure how to begin the process. So here are some concrete strategies you can take to become a more impressive candidate and improve your chances at landing a job.

1. Develop a running list of job applications

One of the easiest things you can do to streamline your job search is create a spreadsheet that lists all your applications, due dates, and points of contact. Organizing this information in one place can keep you from missing a deadline or becoming lost in a sea of applications. After developing the list, you should set a realistic goal for how many applications you plan to complete per week, to hold yourself accountable.

2. Choose the jobs you apply for wisely

Do yourself a favor by applying to a variety of jobs. On the most basic level, the more applications you submit, the more job interviews you might receive. However, this rule only holds true if you conduct research in advance to make sure you’re applying for positions whose qualifications you meet, and that would be a strong fit for you. If you are lucky enough to receive an interview from a firm and discover during the course of the interview that a key aspect of the job doesn’t appeal to you, then you are wasting both your and the employer’s time. Once you find a company and position that you think would be a strong fit, research competitor companies and apply to similar positions there, to increase your chances of getting hired for that kind of job.

3. Leverage your contacts

No matter how many job applications you submit, you might not hear back from an employer if you don’t have a contact there. This fact can be difficult to swallow, but the reality is a personal connection greatly increases your chance at advancing in an application process. Reach out to a friend in the industry, connect with an alum from your college on LinkedIn, or follow up with someone you met at a networking event. You never know who might help you connect with a recruiter at a company that interests you. Make it a goal to reach out to at least three people every week who might be able to help you with your career.

4. Get a professional to review your résumé

Your résumé is often the first impression an employer gets of you, so you should make sure it is as strong as possible. It can be difficult to be discerning with your own résumé after looking at it countless times, so a fresh perspective can help. Before applying for jobs, get a professional such as a career coach or a recruiter to review your résumé and provide you with feedback. Not only is this a guaranteed way to improve your résumé, but it can also help differentiate you from other candidates who don’t take this extra step of revision when writing their own résumés.

5. Practice your interview

You may think that simply reviewing potential questions and answers in your head is all you need to do to prepare for a job interview. Yet an interview is by nature two-sided, so it can be extremely helpful to practice with a family member or friend in advance. Before you begin, provide the person with a list of questions you think you might receive in the real interview. You should also ask the person to develop new questions for you, so you can practice thinking on your feet. Who knows, you might receive one of those questions in the real interview, which you might not have prepared for otherwise. Not only can a practice interview provide you with helpful feedback, but it can also give you confidence in your ability to succeed and increase your chances at landing the job.