Seven Ways to Accelerate Your Job Search

Accelerate your job search. For anyone looking for a job, it can be tough to stand out from the crowd.

While the labor market remains steady, our 2024 Hiring and Leadership Trends survey found that some consumer sector companies are expecting to pause or eliminate jobs. Likewise, other studies show that a larger pool of job hunters are competing for fewer job postings.

So how do you set yourself up for success in a competitive market? I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Kate Sargent, a talent acquisition leader and coach who has worked with top consumer brands ranging from The North Face to Allbirds to The Citizenry.

Together, Kate and I pulled back the curtain on what hiring managers are looking for—and how both active and passive job seekers can strengthen their job searches. Here are seven takeaways from our conversation:

Focus is the foundation for a successful job search.

As you search for a job, it’s easy to lose focus and walk down paths that don’t truly interest you. A lot of people make the mistake of applying everywhere and then become frustrated when they don’t see results.

You can avoid this pitfall by being laser-focused on the location, industry, and specific job scope and scale you’re pursuing. For starters, identify no more than three different job titles—along with the industry that interests you and the specific area you’d like to live. Getting focused is the first step to an effective job search.

Get clear on your strengths (and your weaknesses).

When you start your job search, it’s also important to know your strengths and weaknesses—and you can obtain greater clarity by accessing your memory. Write down at least one example for each strength. Highlight how you’ve applied each strength in a real-life situation, including any qualitative outcomes or quantitative metrics. What goals did you accomplish and what problems did you solve using each strength? And conversely, what are two to three things you’re not great at doing or that you don’t like to do?

Distill and communicate your personal narrative.

Your resume is your account of what you’ve done in the past. LinkedIn bridges your past with your present passions and interests. And job interviews are the path to your future. When you interview for a position, the trick is to frame your past and present accomplishments in a way that relates to the work you want to do in the future. To do that, you need to create a succinct personal narrative. Write it down, memorize it, and be prepared to share it when you’re asked about your background.

Expand your use of LinkedIn.

It’s important to write a compelling “About” section on LinkedIn that highlights your most impressive accomplishments and explains your passions. But there’s so much more to this platform.

Get the most from LinkedIn by using it to research roles and cultivate new relationships. One way to use this tool is to find the LinkedIn profiles for the positions you’re interested in and then develop relationships with these contacts at industry trade shows and conferences. Likely, these same people are getting calls from recruiters and can let you know of job opportunities they’re not pursuing. And when they switch jobs themselves, you’ll see their updated LinkedIn profiles, alerting you to job openings before they’re posted.

Network more successfully.

Don’t wait until you’re actively searching for a job to begin developing relationships. Be intentional about networking throughout your career. Attend industry events on an ongoing basis, and spend time maintaining your network and building new connections. It is well worth the time investment.

Also, make sure your relationships are authentic and reciprocal. Always be responsive and helpful to people who reach out to you, whether you know them or not. And when you ask for help, think about what you could be offering the other person. The best way to build your own social capital is by investing in the success of others.

Track your progress.

Conducting a job search means keeping a lot of balls in the air, and the process can get complex. To stay organized, we recommend keeping a simple spreadsheet of the companies you’re interested in, the people you’ve already reached out to, and those you have yet to contact. Note the names of recruiters, what jobs you’ve applied for, and the specific dates you’ve followed up.

Also, track the interview questions you’ve been asked so you can work on your responses and strengthen them the next time around. Tracking your efforts keeps you focused on your goals, while helping you chip away at your “to do” list in a more organized fashion.

Play the long game.

Searching for a job takes time, and there can be a lot of ups and downs. It’s important to think of your job search as a marathon and not a sprint. Take time each day to focus on self-care. Exercise, diet, and sleep. Volunteer, take courses, read, and spend time with family and friends. By taking care of yourself, you’ll cope more effectively with the stress a job search can bring. Ultimately, strategy, focus, and persistence will land you the job you want. What you need along the way are perspective and a positive outlook.

For more tips on how to enhance your job search, be sure to listen to my recent conversations with Kate Sargent.

A Recruiter’s Perspective on Job Search Strategy Part 1: Preparing and Networking

Listen to the podcast – Part 1

A Recruiter’s Perspective on Job Search Strategy Part 2: Interviewing

Listen to the podcast – Part 2