Much like any hard-earned achievement, finding a job or taking the next step in your career takes good old-fashioned effort, self-motivation, and know-how. Being at the right place at the right time doesn’t hurt, but to quote The Boss himself, “When it comes to luck, you make your own.”
I recently asked the iHire team to share the best piece of job search advice or career advice they ever received. Here are 12 golden nuggets of wisdom to help you make your own job search luck and inspire you to take your career to the next level.
“Some of the best advice I was given came from a prominent Baltimore City defense attorney. He spoke to our class and explained that the most important thing you can start doing when you enter an industry is to build a reputation. Each person is their own brand. If you have a history of success and are known for your work ethic, then you won’t have to seek opportunities. They’ll come to you.”
“Don’t discount ‘stale’ jobs. Just because a job posting is more than 30 days old doesn’t mean you shouldn’t apply.”
“Send ‘thank you’ notes to the people who interview you – personal handwritten ones. Always be courteous to everyone you talk to – in person, via phone, or email – throughout the interviewing process. Don't dismiss anyone you come in contact with, because how you are perceived in those first interactions could make all the difference.”
“I try to challenge myself by asking, ‘What would someone better at my job than I am be doing right now?’”
“Before my professional career started, my grandfather would always tell me, ‘If you want to make money in this world don’t worry about a profession, that doesn’t matter. Just make sure that whatever you do, you’re the absolute best at it.’
My father’s words of wisdom when it came to job searching were these: “People spend more time thinking about what car they’re going to buy than what job they’re going to have. You’re interviewing the business as much as they’re interviewing you – do your research.”
But probably the best advice ever: Be true to yourself and it’s okay to go against the grain."
“I always tell people that a job search is a numbers game. The more resumes and applications you send out, the better your odds of getting an offer.”
“Be confident in your abilities, choose a profession that plays to your strengths, and don’t ever sell yourself short.”
“Work hard. Take initiative. Go the extra mile and then go another two. You’ll feel good about your accomplishments and people will take note, which will always serve you well. You never know who can help you network in the future. Which leads me to this: Never burn bridges. You never know who will be in a position to help you network down the road. Most good jobs are found through networking and personal referrals.”
“Find something you really like to do, and then do it so well people want to pay you for doing it.”
“When I made the difficult decision to leave a company I loved, an experienced Navy Captain friend of mine simply offered this advice: ‘If you’re going to jump, be sure you know where you’ll land.’
I’ve had friends that leave their job without a strong plan for the next position or having their next job locked in. Inevitably what they thought will happen does not, and then a gap of employment occurs and it’s harder to get the next position. It’s best to be productive at your current place of employment and finish strong.
Another more obvious one is to not burn bridges, ever. The satisfaction you get at that moment cannot outweigh the potential harm it can cause later.”
“Get your foot in the door and fake it ‘til you make it. If you’re not happy at your job, you’re either lazy or you’re at the wrong job.”
“Always be seeking. Keep in the habit of looking for another job, even if you like your current job, just to stay informed about what’s out there. On the other hand, don’t hop around so much that it hurts your career trajectory.”