Busy job seekers often need to be careful about which jobs to target. It’s a good idea to have a robust and active search job because job searching is a numbers game. The more jobs you apply for, the more opportunities you will have to interview.
On the other hand, there’s no point in applying for jobs you don’t want or jobs you don’t have a chance of getting hired for. You need to apply for the “right” jobs – jobs for which you are qualified and have a good chance at getting selected for, at least, a first round interview.
Here are some tips to help you decide which jobs to apply for:
Make a list of the desired characteristics of your ideal job. Try to think of seven or more elements that would comprise your perfect job. For example, key elements might include: directly using your degree, the opportunity to see the results of your work, people contact of a nurturing nature, applying your writing skills, growth potential, an opportunity to acquire key areas of knowledge, proximity to home and work/life balance.
Don’t apply for a job when you are struggling to decide if you are interested. Make sure that the job meets at least a third of the elements of your ideal position. It seems obvious, but many job seekers apply for jobs that they don’t really want. Ask yourself if you’d be excited to receive a call for an interview. Only apply for seemingly unappealing jobs in the most desperate of circumstances. In most cases, you will be better off devoting your resources to searching for a job that’s a better fit.
Make a list of 8 – 10 of your most compelling assets which qualify you for a job. Think in terms of strengths which have led to even minor successes in school projects, volunteer work, campus leadership, internships, and jobs. This will be useful when preparing your cover letter, and for interviews.
Review the requirements for the job you are interested in and compile a list of what seem to be the top qualifications. If you possess less than half of the desired qualifications, you are probably better off moving on to other more practical options. An exception to this guideline would be an extremely attractive position, or a very appealing company, as there is the possibility that they would consider you for some other job when they see your application.
Set a goal for job applications each week. This number will vary given the time which you have available for job search based on competing demands on your time like family, school, and work. Also recognize that much of your job search time should be spent on activities like networking, rather than just applying for jobs. Job seekers who are having trouble reaching their target number of applications should be less selective. Those who are finding plenty of opportunities can be more discriminating.