What I've Learned in My Adventures Job Hunting

There are few things I find more frustrating than searching for jobs. Before I even look at a job site, I'll spend hours making my résumé and portfolio flawless. Another hour reworking my cover letter. Then there's the matter of sorting through job description after job description, trying (to little avail) to find the perfect role. On top of all that, the application itself takes an eternity to complete. But the cherry on top is the 20 percent response rate—if you're lucky.

Sound familiar?

Good news—it doesn't have to be this frustrating! Job searching probably won't ever be a walk in the park, but there are some steps you can take to make it significantly easier and less stressful. Below are a few of the most important things I've learned in my adventures job hunting.

1. Update as You Go
Don't wait until you're without a job to update your résumé and portfolio. Add achievements as you progress through your current role. It's a lot less work to update six months worth of accomplishments than it is five years of them. Take some time every few months to tweak your résumé and update projects you've completed. It will make your future job search significantly less frustrating.

2. Learn from the Experts
Don't waste your time trying to figure it all out yourself. Plenty of people have been here before you and they're more than willing to share their experience and lend their expertise. If you're not even sure where to begin your job search, there are plenty of resources out there. Here are a few of my personal favorites:

  • The Muse – They provide career advice, job opportunities, personalized career coaching, and behind-the-scenes looks at what it's like working for certain companies. I love their blog, which offers great career advice and daily inspiration.
  • Unemployable – Serial entrepreneur Brian Clark gives advice and inspiration to freelancers and creative entrepreneurs. This is a great resource for those of you who either do or want to start working for yourself.
  • HubSpot – While they primarily publish articles focused on improving your business, they have some great articles on conducting job searches and amping up your résumé.
  • SoFi – The company I refinanced my student loans with offers loan members career assistance. I had a few phone sessions with a counselor who gave some great advice on how to tackle the job search as well as feedback on my résumé and cover letter. Check with your loan provider/financial institution to find out if they offer some kind of career assistance!

3. Ask Around
Use those networking skills, ladies. Don't be afraid to ask friends/family/contacts in your field (I wouldn't recommend co-workers) to keep an eye and ear out for opportunities. LinkedIn is a great tool for this because you can not only message people in your circles but you can also send inquiries to hiring managers at companies you want to work for. I do not condone spamming every individual on LinkedIn, but it definitely wouldn't hurt to send out a few letters of interest.

4. Don't Settle
I'll be the first to admit how easy it is to get down in the dumps and start applying for just anything. If a description that does anything but excite you about the role, don't even bother applying. Because if you do get an interview, you'll feel compelled to proceed simply because you haven't found anything else. Settling for a job will, in no time at all, land you right where you are now—searching for a new job. If you do find yourself settling in the job search, take a break. Get a glass of wine. Go read for an hour. Then come back refreshed and ready to get at it.

5. Apply to a Company, Not a Position
One of the first things I look at before applying for a job is the company's culture. If it's not some place I can envision myself working, I don't apply. Loving your job involves loving the people you work with as much as you do your day-to-day work. Make sure you fit with the culture, not just the position. It's also worth applying to your dream company even if there aren't any open positions. You just might convince the right person you're who the company needs to grow.

Happy hunting, ladies!