How to thaw out your candidate toolbox for a spring job search

The trees are budding and crocuses are popping up everywhere...have you started your spring job search? Let's get you off on the right foot with our expert tips.

The trees are budding and crocuses are popping up everywhere ... have you started your spring job search? There's no time like the present!

Experian posits that March-May could be productive job searching months as some companies are replacing employees who have moved on at the start of the new year.

The Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) echoes that sentiment with, "[T]he first and second quarters of the year—offer the widest range of opportunities for the job hunter."

Let's get you started on the right foot with our expert tips.

10 Spring Job Searching Strategies

1. Make a target company & position list

Knowing what you want is half the battle for ... any situation, really. As such, we recommend that you think about companies and roles you'd like to earn.

First, compile a comprehensive list of ideal companies, with quick links to job listings or careers pages.

Second, dig into job listings and find common titles. Make a list of them to use for keyword searches that go beyond your company list later on.

2. Fix up your resume

Even if you've recently updated your resume, it's always a good idea to run some quality assurance (QA) checks on it.

Here are some areas to spot-check:

  • Dates
  • Spelling
  • Inconsistencies (date format, capitalization, etc.)
  • Formatting
  • Grammar

Pro-tip: For more resume editing ideas, take a look at this article.

Beyond QA, make sure to research formats. Different industries have different presentation preferences. There are also varied approaches to presenting yourself, even without industry considerations.

3. Get updated letters of recommendation and refresh your reference list

While you may keep some of your best letters of recommendation (LORs) forever, it's a good idea to make sure at least a few of them are recent. Having a few different LORs that run up to the present time will showcase your consistent skill and reliability.

Beyond the LORs, it's a strong idea to be sure your reference list contacts:

  • Are aware that they are still your contacts.
  • Are still okay with being on your reference list.
  • Know that you are conducting an active job search and they may be contacted.

4. Create a cover letter outline, but remain flexible

While we wouldn't recommend sending the same cover letter to a bunch of companies (especially if certain companies work together and hire for similar positions), we do recommend making a quick reference sheet or outline that you can use as future inspiration.

Put any strengths and examples of expertise in a logical order, but plan to tailor the actual cover letter individually at application time.

For example, you might have a lengthy list of ten important skills, but only four are relevant to certain roles. In that case, simply delete the irrelevant ones and start working on your letter from there.

5. Make or update your portfolio site

This tip may not be relevant to all job seekers, but for those who are looking for roles like artist, writer, designer or UX professional, it's crucial. Proof of excellence online, whether that's "clips" (articles you've written), wireframes or designs provides proof of excellence. Employers want your best and it's likely that some of that "best" is your most recent work.

Even if you aren't in a role like the ones listed above, consider a website. You've likely won accolades that you could showcase and an online-branded presence could be a differentiator from other job searchers.

6. Update your LinkedIn profile

If you haven't been on the job hunt for a while, it's quite possible that your LinkedIn profile has been languishing. Before you start submitting applications to jobs, go through all the elements and make sure they are all current and serving you in your search. Here are some areas that definitely deserve your attention:

  • Headline - While many simply use their job title, others who have a specific goal role in mind focus on aligned SEO keywords that help their ideal audience find them.
  • Skills - Did you learn how to use a new content management system (CMS), customer relationship management (CRM) platform or type of software? Add it!
  • Recommendations - Word of mouth is one of the best ways to get a new job. Take the time to get updated praise whenever you can.
  • Certifications - Have you recently earned a new certification? Celebrate it on your profile!

7. Rehearse

There's a reason why performers rehearse for events and salespeople workshop their pitches – it increases confidence and helps them improve their overall performance. You should do the same to make sure you're ready for anything.

Remember though, don't be stiff. You aren't rehearsing lines. Instead of sounding robotic and over-rehearsed, work on hitting the main points that prove you'd be a good addition to any team.

Pro tip: You can read this article if you'd like to review commonly asked interview questions

8. Reach out to connections

While we don't recommend spamming your network, leveraging contacts that you have a good relationship with who happen to work at ideal companies is a good strategy to get your foot in the door.

Do a quick search of your connections' LinkedIn profiles to see if any of them work at companies you are interested in and ask if they might be willing to refer you. However, keep in mind that you are asking a lot and should be prepared to reciprocate or send some sort of genuine thank you after the fact.

Hiring insight: Would you like some proof of efficacy? According to LinkedIn "Employee Referrals are 4x more likely to be hired.

9. Make a schedule

Whether you're meal prepping, planning travel or doing anything else with a lot of details, a plan or schedule tends to make people more successful. Approach your job search tactically and draft up something that you can stick to. You can start by considering:

  • How many applications per day can I submit?
  • How many hours per week can I dedicate to this effort?
  • How will I track my progress?

And then, be sure to think about follow-up options. Build in timing for sending thank you notes as well as keep track of when you will hear back about open roles and more to be best-positioned for success.

10. Get an objective review

Unfortunately, when people are close to you, they might give you unwarranted positive feedback in an effort to buoy your spirits. Choose a colleague, mentor or impartial friend to review your application materials and provide objective constructive criticism.

Pro-tip: Did you know that a Beacon Hill recruiter can help you plan out your unique goals, prepare you for successful interviews and accelerate your professional goals? It's true - they're your designated partner in the next steps of your career growth. Find out more here.

Beacon Hill is trusted by more than 13,000 companies. We have 1,300 recruiting experts who matched 590 candidates to open jobs per day in 2022 alone. Are you ready to find your fit? Browse open roles today to get started.

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