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Are you tired of your job? Do you feel like you have to slog through every week and feel utter relief when the weekend arrives? Do you feel a pit in your stomach when you look at your paycheck and realize that it’s not enough? Do you panic when you picture yourself working at the same company in 5, 10 or 15 years? These are signs that you need to find a new job, and you need to do it as soon as possible.

Before you start filling out applications, read these crucial tips for starting a job hunt.

Talk to Your Network

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The moment you decide that you’re tired of your current job and you want to find a new position, you should talk to your network (friends, family, ex-coworkers, etc.). It’s one of the greatest job searching tools you have. People in your network can keep you updated about open positions and can even recommend you to hiring managers.

Lots of workplaces have employee referral programs that reward staff members for bringing in potential candidates. These programs encourage people to bring in connections as long as they meet the role’s qualifications.

If a connection works at a company that offers an employee referral program and you’re qualified for one of their open roles, ask them to send in your resume. If you get hired, they will get a bonus, and you will get a job where you can work closely with someone you know. It’s a win-win situation.

Use Recruiters

One way to speed up your job hunt is to look into a recruitment agency. A recruitment agency will do its best to find you open positions that you’re qualified for and interested in.

Look for an agency that specializes in your current field — or at the very least, the field that you’re hoping to join. For instance, you’re hoping to get a job in sales. Visit Sales Talent Agency to access one of the top sales recruitment agencies in the country. They will offer sales positions for top-tier companies in a wide variety of industries, from finance to media to tech.

Recruitment agents have insider knowledge about what hiring managers are looking for. They can give you the right advice for responding to managers, conducting interviews and more.

Tweak Your Resume

When was the last time you sent out your resume? If it’s been more than a year, you should give it a once-over and see whether it needs any tweaks. Add new accomplishments and skills and remove any that seem outdated or irrelevant. For instance, you don’t need to list the high school clubs that you took part in when you graduated a decade ago.

Insert Keywords

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A lot of companies use applicant tracking systems to look through their digital job applications. These systems search for specific keywords in the applications to determine whether the candidates should move on to the next round or get rejected.

These keywords are often the qualifications listed in the job posting (for example, “Microsoft Word” or “JavaScript”). So, if you have these qualifications, make sure to specifically list them. You’ll want the ATS program to snag your resume.

Make sure to format your resume carefully. Applicant tracking systems have more trouble scanning columns, tables, charts and graphics. A better format is a straightforward, single-column resume.

Craft a Strong Cover Letter

It’s not enough to have a strong resume. You need a strong cover letter, too.

What makes a strong cover letter? Instead of repeating what was listed on your resume, tell them why your skills and your previous jobs are relevant to this position. Talk about the results of your good work, like how you brought in brand-new customers to the company, launched a new product or pitched a marketing campaign that led to record-high sales. Make sure to include specific numbers to back you up.

Finally, write about what drew you to this position and this company. This will make your cover letter feel tailored to this job opening, instead of a carbon copy of every other cover letter that shows up in their inbox.

Read Job Postings Carefully

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Don’t just skim the job posting and submit your content. The posting could give you very specific instructions on how to handle your application, and if you miss those instructions, you could end up losing out on a big opportunity.

The posting could ask you to address your emails and cover letters to a specific hiring manager or recruiter’s name (not “To Whom It May Concern”). It could ask you to include your cover letter and resume into one PDF document. It could ask you to format your email in a specific way, to include references, salary expectations or a link to a work portfolio.

To make sure that you don’t forget these important points, take notes when you’re looking through a job posting and refer to them when putting your application together.

Use Social Media

Hiring managers don’t just browse through your social media accounts to look for red flags. They look for green flags, too! Your accounts can reveal that you’re passionate about your job, you’re creative, you have strong social skills, etc. All of these qualities can make you even more appealing as a candidate!

So, use your social media accounts to your advantage. Show off your creative side on Instagram and display pictures of your work. Expand your network with LinkedIn and interact with posts related to your field. Use TikTok to share your skills and knowledge with instructional videos, or use Twitter to voice your opinion on current industry trends. There are so many ways that you can use your accounts to wave a lot of green flags.

Apply Early

Don’t wait until the very last minute to send out your application. If you can send in an application before reaching a deadline, do so. A lot of companies will take a look at applications as they come in, which means the first candidates that impress them will get called for interviews. They could’ve found some of their top candidates before the deadline.

So, try to get your application sent in as soon as possible. You want to be one of the first ones they notice, not the last.

All of these tips should help you make great headway on your job hunt. Follow them, and soon enough, you’ll have plenty of hiring managers calling you in for interviews!