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1. Search for jobs that fit you

Your first step is to identify your own skills and experience. Write down all the things you’re good at and back them with examples from your past work.

Once you’ve completed the list, go online and look for job listings that specifically call out the skills you've highlighted.

Job boards like ZipRecruiter, LinkedIn and Glassdoor allow you to search for new job openings via keywords so you can find a role that matches your skillset.

If you’re having trouble finding jobs for which you're qualified, note the type of jobs you're seeing and what those employers are looking for. Go and earn those skills, either through e-learning or at a college. Focus on tangible skills like coding as it's easier to demonstrate their value.

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2. Tune your resume

Once you’ve found a match, it’s time to update your resume. Add your most recent work experience and reference your key duties within that role that would also be valuable in the new one.

If you lack work experience, focus on highlighting relevant projects, such as any side-gigs, volunteering or freelance work that demonstrate your skills.

Next, highlight how you helped your current or previous employer’s bottom line. For example, demonstrate how you were able to save the business time by streamlining operations, increase revenue in a struggling department or deliver an important project ahead of schedule.

Don't focus too much on what you did day-to-day, if it's clear what your responsibilities were. Focus on how you provided value to the business. This is key to differentiating yourself from other applicants.

3. Sharpen your LinkedIn profile

LinkedIn application on the screen. LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking service.
Natee Meepian / Shutterstock
Cover between 80% to 90% of the skills your target job wants within your LinkedIn profile

Job searching and applying is a draining process, especially in a rough economy or when you’re starting out new in a career.

Developing your skills, showcasing them and getting in touch with key people on LinkedIn is a good way to get attention. It can take a while, but employers may start reaching out to you with job opportunities.

That's why it’s key to update your LinkedIn profile with your most recent work experience. Take advantage of the fact that you can list your key skills as keywords; such keywords may show up on a recruiter’s radar.

Cover between 80% to 90% of the skills your target job wants within your LinkedIn profile, just as you have previously done with your resume. Include real examples of how you’ve used these skills that have tangible results within your work. Ask your previous employers and work colleagues to write testimonials on your behalf.

You need to be online a lot to get the most out of LinkedIn. Uploading a professional photo, listing your job titles and completing your profile is only half the job. You must also show expertise and experience in your field through posts of your own.

This shows prospective employers that you’re contributing to the field and joining in the overall conversation.

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4. Prepare your applications

Many job postings want more than a resume. Plenty require a cover letter, portfolios and more, so be sure to complete those and have them on hand if requested.

It’s also a good idea to get some references in order before you send the application. The sooner they are aware of your job hunt, the better, so they can think of stories to support you.

5. Apply

When you’ve done all of the above, all that’s left to do is to submit your application.

Once you’ve hit send, you have two options. The first, which most people do, is to wait for an employer to contact you.

On the other hand, you can be proactive.

Bonus: How to earn money while waiting

Sure, once you’ve applied for the job, the process is out of your control. But doesn’t mean you can’t be productive in the interim.

Take up a side project while you wait. Whether it’s writing a blog or growing a freelancing portfolio, you’re showing traits that potential employers love.

Not only do your projects make for excellent talking points during job interviews, but you’ll have some extra cash in your back pocket, too.

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About the Author

Alex Denholm

Alex Denholm

Freelance Contributor

Alex Denholm was a freelance contributor to Moneywise.

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