Expert Practices for Mastering Your Job Search

Job Search

Nikki Reid & Mike Weitz, Professionally Written, L.L.C.

While preparing for job interviews can be difficult, the frequently overlooked and perhaps most daunting challenge in landing a new job is the search. It is an unpredictable mix of timing, determination, and often luck. The internet has empowered job searchers with more tools and a greater scope to find employment. However, this period can cause some of the most anxiety. There are so many options and methods, more competition than ever, and a seemingly endless number of dead-ends. With only so many hours in a day, there is little time to waste. This means your approach really matters. Therefore we have conducted extensive research and sorted expert opinion into three main camps: mental attitude, creating the most appealing image possible, and advice for overcoming common hurdles one might encounter along this tough journey.


Your Job Search is a Mind Game of Numbers

Mental attitude is such a critical component of an effective job search strategy that many experts dedicate multiple articles to offering techniques for handling the inevitable rejection and frustration you will face in this phase of obtaining a new job, let alone a change in career. Ultimately, you are either your greatest enemy or asset, “with 70% of people unhappy in the workplace and only 1% of traditional resumes leading to a job offer,” you have to learn the best job search practices to “win the game.”[1]

It is a numbers game because most experts agree the best way to beat the odds is by using as many tools as possible to make targeted searches, using targeted professional resumes to get the most interviews, to get through enough interviews until you get the right job offer.[2] This means you need to manage how you invest your energy. For example, Ryan argues the “best way to deal with job-search rejection is to create such a flurry of job search activity that you have to work to remember which companies you’re interviewing with.” Never limit yourself to just one open position at a time or your search pace will be too low. If you do too much you might lose track of who you applied with, which is why a job search journal can help you sort out the best options.[3]

Maintaining confidence is crucial during this logistical nightmare of research, applications, and interviews. It is all a matter of perception and mindset. If you can see hurdles as challenges and failures as “opportunities for growth and learning,” it is easier to be in control of your own destiny. This allows you to take a holistic approach that includes networking, study, and a balanced schedule that protects time for family, health, and fun. The worst thing you can do is make career decisions “from a place of fear, desperation or exasperation.”[4] Companies want employees with a “burning desire” to succeed and achieve their specific mission. This method will allow you to focus in on the positions most suitable for you while customizing your message to those you want to reach.[5]


Branding: Controlling Your Professional Image

The secret to mastering your job search is with an integrated approach where all of your tools are working toward the same goal. Similar to the first section, the best long term strategy is holistic; your resume, social media, cover letters, and interview answers all need to be on message. This is why it is important to develop a personal brand, your concrete professional image that tells your future employer what you bring to the table. It does not matter what level of the corporate ladder you are at, you need to brand yourself. If you do not frame your own image, someone else will do it for you.

Your brand should not be abstract and nebulous, like many business clichés. “A brand is a recognized name,” it is a short-hand for the, “problems you solve for an employer.” Back up your brand with quantifiable metrics such as profits, efficiency, or innovation. Find ways you have streamlined a process or exceeded expectations. Then your brand needs to be turned into keywords that show up in your social media bios to provide a consistent message.[6] Many also call this your “value proposition.”[7] Some call it “ethos.”[8] Maintaining a consistent image is all the more necessary as companies are increasingly relying on employment screening that includes all of your social media, beyond the normal background checks. This screening is expanding to include workers outside the traditional scope of ‘employee,’ and is becoming continuous even after employment.[9]

In this stage you want to avoid the most obvious mistakes such as “glaring errors” in your resume, cover letter, or social media bio, such as your employment and educational history. Attention to detail is part of your professional image. When you apply, use those same tools to reach out to the company to really show them your interest.[10] We have written an article on proper resume formatting to help.[11] Once you make contact, it is important to follow up after an interview for the same reason. However, do not pester your potential employer and “push your luck.”[12] Remembering Rule #1, if you keep your confidence you will move on to the next opportunity instead of wasting your time on a company that does not want you.


Let Nothing Stop You

Once you have mastered the basic process of the job search, the final step is learning how to overcome any roadblocks on your path to success. It is important to not tarnish your professional image with some of the most common pitfalls, such as searching for your “new job on company time” or to “over dress on interview day.”[13] You want to be discreet about looking for a new job, doing it on your personal devices and even enabling “stealth mode” on your social media such as LinkedIn, where, “you can disable the feature where other users are notified if you make updates or changes to your profile.”[14]

There are many potential problems you will have to manage, and research can be your best friend. For example, long distance job searching is a frequent hurdle many struggle to deal with. Ryan wrote an article that covers that. If you have a particular destination in mind, it is good advice to address that in your cover letter and media messages. If you have friends or family in the area, use a “temporary mailing address” and visit to get a lay of the land.[15] Taub spent an entire article on just the issue of beating the dreaded “job search phone phobia,” suggesting practice, script writing, and standing as if giving a public speech.[16] There is a wealth of information available at your fingertips with the right search terms.

Finally, if you take all of this advice and combine it you will have a fully-fledged system in place that is guaranteed to find you the right job. It might not be easy, but you will have a process where any setbacks will only make you more flexible and challenges more adaptable. If you keep to your schedule, maintain balance, and remain patient, you will have all the skills necessary for moving on to the next level.

Professionally Written, LLC is a business documents company based in Oklahoma City. It is available 24/7, just Contact Us. With over a decade of experience, it offers resume Oklahoma services, career coaching Oklahoma services and paralegal services Oklahoma.



A Numbers Game with Confidence

  • Targeted Searches
  • Targeted Messages
  • Trust the Process


  • Professional Image
  • Consistent Message
  • Integrated Method

Leaping Hurdles

  • Professional Approaches
  • Do Research
  • Deploy a System


EndNote References

[1] Ryan Niessen. “3 Job Search Secrets the Best Employers Wish You Knew.” Work It Daily (December 13, 2016). (accessed June 15, 2017).

[2] Mike Weitz. “Top 3 Expert Formatting Rules for Writing Professional Resumes in the 21st Century.” Professionally Written (February 14, 2017). (accessed June 15, 2017).

[3] Liz Ryan. “How To Deal With Job-Search Rejection.” Forbes (February 4, 2017). (accessed February 20, 2017).

[4] Emilie Aries. “How To Keep Your Confidence Through A Long Job Search.” Forbes (February 12, 2017). (accessed February 20, 2017).

[5] Ryan Niessen. “3 Job Search Secrets the Best Employers Wish You Knew.” Work It Daily (December 13, 2016). (accessed June 15, 2017).

[6] Hannah Morgan. “Brand Yourself for Career Stability: Answer the right questions to define your skills and interests.” US News & World Report (February 15, 2017). (accessed February 20, 2017).

[7] Ryan Niessen. “3 Job Search Secrets the Best Employers Wish You Knew.” Work It Daily (December 13, 2016). (accessed June 15, 2017).

[8] Mike Weitz. ““The Importance of Language in Professional Resume Writing.” Professionally Written (February 21, 2017). (accessed June 15, 2017).

[9] Roy Maurer. “Know Before You Hire: 2017 Employment Screening Trends.” Society for Human Resource Management (January 25, 2017). (accessed February 20, 2017).

[10] Rudy Racine. “5 Fixable Job-search Mistake that are Keeping You from Getting Interviews.” Business Insider: Careers (February 5, 2017). (accessed February 20, 2017).

[11] Mike Weitz. “3 (More) Top Expert Formatting Rules for Writing Professional Resumes in the 21st Century.” Professionally Written (February 17,2017). (accessed June 15, 2017).

[12] Marcelle Yeager. “What to Do With Your Job Search After Hearing ‘We’ll Get Back to You’: Taking the right steps to be persistent while remaining professional.” US News & World Report (February 9, 2017). (accessed February 20, 2017).

[13] Laura McMullen. “8 Tacky Job Search Faux Pas.” US News & World Report (September 17, 2014). (accessed February 21, 2017).

[14] Hallie Crawford. “Looking for a New Job? 4 Ways to Job Search Discreetly: How to find your next career without compromising your current position.” US News & World Report (February 7, 2017). (accessed February 20, 2017).

[15] Liz Ryan. “How To Conduct A Long-Distance Job Search.” Forbes (January 23, 2017). (accessed February 20, 2017).

[16] Rob Taub. “10 Ways To Overcome Job Search Phone Phobia.” Work It Daily (August 8, 2014). (accessed May 23, 2017).