Searching for a job is a time-consuming exercise. Many candidates try to simplify it by submitting their resume to every open job out there without reading carefully the job description and adjusting their resume accordingly. As you can guess, the job search is not a ''numbers game'' and this approach is very unlikely to result in interviews and job offers.

So what is the right approach if you want to land a well-paying job that also has great career growth potential?


Decide on next career move


You may want to change the field or advance your skills in a different area. Let's say, you are a marketing executive but would love to specialize in SEO. Or you are a customer support specialist but your real area of interest is account management. It is all possible but you need to convince the recruiters that despite your experience is in a different area, you are capable of learning and advancing in a new field. Such career moves are usually easier within the same company as you already know the head of departments and the internal recruiters and can speak with them to understand if they are open to less experienced internal hires. Most companies encourage internal career growth and if your performance so far is outstanding, you are very likely to land the job you want.

In all cases, read carefully the job description and address the requirements in your CV and letter of motivation. Outline why your skills are a perfect match and how you plan to acquire any missing skills. void general phrases like '' I am a quick learner'', '' I am ready to work hard / study hard'', etc. Be specific - '' The SEO training that is optional for all new joiners is everything I need to enhance my skills.'' 


Research Possible Employers


By researching potential employers, you save yourself from having to invest time in applying to companies that are not a good fit. General research can also help you to sharpen your focus. Why would you want to join this or that company? What matters to you - the reputation of the company, it's size, corporate culture, the average pay rate, potential for career growth or something else? Once you decide on the criteria that is most important for you, search Glassdoor, forums and Quora to find information about the companies on your list. Always have in mind that the information available online is unlikely to be comprehensive and it is best to speak with current and former employees. Sometimes even the team or department matters. Quite often, it is the manager or the team leader who is making this or that team or department a great place to work. 


Size matters


Shall you join a startup or a corporate? It is common for freshers to look first at the job offers of big brands as this first job may secure fast career growth in the future. Although this is a true statement in most cases, there are disadvantages too. Most corporates hire more graduates than needed and retain less than half of each batch after the first year. Unattractive salaries, routine tasks and slow career growth are also likely. 

Joining a startup is often seen as a risky move as most startups don't pass the 3-year mark. The startup mortality rate is high and may reach 97% percent in some industries but there are advantages too. Usually, the early employees receive equity, have more freedom if compared to their peers who join corporates and learn fast. In the startup world, everyone wheres many hats and routine tasks are rare. Career growth may be super fast too as some startups grow exponentially and hire at scale. Each funding round or revenue milestone may result in lucrative bonuses so the startup route is not to be neglected.

Ending up as an early employee of the future Facebook or Google is appealing but how to distinguish the startups that are worth your time from those that are likely to fail? 

There is no rule but checking if the company is funded and revenue generating, who the founders are, if the product is significantly advanced and innovative and the market size is a ''must do''. Employee turnover rate can also tell a lot.


Polish Your LinkedIn Profile


LinkedIn is a great way to make contact and network when you are looking for a job. Make sure your LinkedIn headline is snappy. This will draw people to your profile. If you are taking the step of contacting recruiters, they will be more likely to reply to you if your LinkedIn profile is well-written and appealing. While the profile is not a resume, it will be many people's first encounter with you. Any discrepancies between your Linkedin profile and your resume are  ''red flag'' for the recruiters and are to be avoided. Copy-pasting sections of the profile of a colleague or someone you know is never a good idea but it is worth to visit the profiles of your future managers and colleagues. Are there any skills they have in common? Or maybe achievements and common career path prior to joining their current employer? Usually, there is a pattern as the recruiters and managers are looking for certain profiles. If you understand the pattern and address it, your chances of receiving an interview invite and subsequently a job offer are much higher.


Use the Right Job Sites


These days, there is a proliferation of job sites. Some will be helpful while others may be a waste of your time. While you should cast an extensive net, you also need to know where to focus. Find the right job boards that work for you and filter out those that have redundant listings or jobs that are not applicable to your search. You should also set your filters to email you when relevant jobs are listed.


Job board vs HR Software


Most candidates are not aware of the difference between a job board and HR Software solution. While most job boards simply list jobs and allow to upload your resume, the HR Software solutions use algorithms to match your profile to the jobs right for you based on your skills and salary expectations. You may be even allowed to massage recruiters and have a conversation with them prior to applying.  Insightful information about the skills demanded by employers, how to acquire them, special offers and discounts also add value to the job seekers. 


List Your Resume


When you list your resume to relevant job sites, some companies may find you before you have to take the time to find them. HR Software providers use algorithms to serve candidate's profiles to recruiters looking for specific skill sets. Another advantage is access to jobs that are kept private and not listed on job boards. Most recruiters prefer to ''head hunt'' qualified candidates and the only chance to learn about the job opening and receive a call from a recruiter is to have your profile listed with HR Software companies. 

Usually, on top of listing your resume, you will be asked to provide information about your top skills, desired pay rate, willingness to relocate and preferred career path. It's needed to match your profile only to jobs that match your expectations. Unsolicited calls from recruiters and interviews for jobs paying much less than your expectations are highly unlikely. 

Applying a thoughtful strategy to your job search can increase the efficiency and significantly shorten the time between the initial application and the job offer. Although most recruiters no longer use cliches like ''Where do you see yourself in 5 years?'' or '' What is your dream job?'' be prepared for provocative questions meant to take you out of your comfort zone. In most cases, there is no right or wrong answer, it is the reasoning and confidence that matter.