Quite often, landing a job is about being selective rather than applying randomly for vacancies.

While faced with a competitive job market, finding the right career option in a good company may seem to be nearly impossible at times. But if done smartly and strategically, your job search can be very fruitful. You’ll first need to learn the market secrets that all successful professionals know and swear by.

Simply applying for a job here and there might not be enough. You need to adopt a thorough and systematic process. Here are the top five secrets of a strategic job search from

Discover what you want in a career

It is sometimes challenging for job seekers to decide and know what they want out of their careers. Sometimes the stress of finding the job right after graduation or the pressing financial needs can divert you from your career goals and aspirations. But, it is imperative to decide on what you exactly want by asking yourself simple questions such as:

  • Do I want to be in an office or on the road?
  • Am I good with people?
  • Do I thrive solo or within a team?
  • What do I see myself doing in five, 10 and 20 years from now?
  • What job attributes do I value the most? (salary, flexibility, learning, growth, etc.)

Discover your true self

You need to find out what sets you apart from others in your field. Look at your previous job and ask yourself: what was I known for? Were you the problem solver, the negotiator, the helper, or the strategic thinker? Do a truthful self-assessment and figure out your strengths and weaknesses.

Knowing who you are will greatly help you choose the job you should go after and what to say when you’re at an interview. Most important though is to never pretend to be someone you are not just to please the hiring manager as this is bound to fail.

Be selective but not overly picky

With technology, everything is easier, faster, and on the go. Applying for jobs is no different. As a result, job seekers can easily get too excited by the large number of jobs they find online and end up applying for all of them, which is an ineffective strategy.

Even when you search for a specific job role that you’re interested in, this doesn’t mean that you should apply for all the results you find. For example, if you search for a sales position, go beyond the job title. Look for companies you’re interested in, research the company’s history and values, and utilise your social media and professional connections to see if you know someone who works there and has an insider perspective. Learn about the company culture, the job requirements, and what the company likes in an employee. If you tick all the boxes, then that’s the signal to go all out.

This will also ensure that you actually have enough information about the company and the position on offer to strengthen your application and interview performance.

Customise your CV

A mistake that many job seekers make is using the same CV for all their job applications. It is vital that your CV has the right keywords that will catch the hiring manager’s attention. Do not lie or exaggerate your experience, just highlight the achievements that the company you’re interested in needs to know the most. When applying for different industries and job roles, you need to pay attention to the specific keywords and requirements and alter your CV accordingly.

Search smartly

Be aware of all the possible tools and platforms that can help you with the job search. According to a poll, 78.5% of job seekers use online job sites to find their first jobs. Complement your job search with your network and connections. When you begin your job search, ask people who work in your field if they know of any leads. Learning about these vacancies in advance can give you time to further build your professional image and move your application to the top.

Being strategic when applying for jobs is arguably the most important approach, especially if you want your next career move to put and keep you on the right track. Looking into the future and deciding what goals you want to reach will help you decide the path you should choose today.

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