How To Look For a Job in 13 Steps (Plus Job Search Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 27 September 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Whether you're new to the workforce or seeking a different position in your field, there are many ways you can look for a job. Many companies hire current employees to higher-paying positions, and people often use online search tools or contact professionals in their network to look for new opportunities. Learning how to maximise your resources and manage your job search efficiently can help you find the role you want. In this article, we explain the steps you can take to look for a job and provide tips you can use in your job search.

Related: Job Search Guide: Finding Companies That Value Diversity and Inclusion

How to look for a job

Following basic steps can help you find a position that suits you. Your actual approach may vary depending on your industry, role and experience. Here are 13 steps you can take to look for a job that interests you and helps you reach your professional goals:

1. Get organised

One of the best ways to start your job search is by organising your process. For many professionals, this means creating a spreadsheet or document that contains all the information to keep track of your applications, including the names of your contacts, the dates you applied, phone numbers, special requests and interview appointments. Containing all this data in one place can help you meet deadlines and keep you from misplacing any important information.

Related: Organisational Skills: Definition, How To Use and Examples

2. Set goals

Job searching can be a lengthy process. To keep yourself motivated, set a series of achievable goals. You can commit to applying to a certain amount of jobs every day, week or month. You could also challenge yourself to answer a determined number of emails in a certain number of hours. Setting and accomplishing goals like these can encourage you to stay focused and positive during your job search.

Read more: How To Write SMART Goals for Your Career (With Examples)

3. Ask for advice

Most people you know have likely had to look for a job at some point in their lives. Reach out to professionals that you know and respect and ask them to meet you for lunch or coffee. Ask them for advice on how to find jobs in your local economy or in their chosen industry. Many people are happy to help a friend in need and many can offer valuable insight on pursuing a new position.

4. Write a CV

Once you have reached the point where you're ready to start applying for jobs, you can craft a quality CV. A successful CV contains a concise overview of your education, skills and experience. Try to make sure your CV has a professional appearance with concise, useful information you want potential employers to know about you. Your CV can also include your contact information and links to any portfolios or social network profiles you want potential employers to see.

Related: 6 Universal Rules for Writing Your CV

5. Search online

As the internet has developed and companies have adapted to using new technology, an increasing number of job postings are available online. A quick search for local job openings may trigger thousands of results. To sort through the abundance of information, you can use tools like Indeed's job search engine to find out which specific jobs are available near you.

6. Use keywords

When searching online, remember to make search terms as specific as possible. The more focused your keywords, the more likely you are to find a job that suits you. Experiment with using different variations and combinations of keywords to diversify your results. You can also consult local job listings to get ideas for keywords that relate to your desired profession and specific skill set.

7. Maintain your social media accounts

Social media has become an increasingly important element of the job market. Job candidates may use social media to reach out to potential employers and to share their CVs. Employers often examine job applicants' social media to determine if they suit the company's brand and are a good fit for the job. Maintaining a professional and informative social media presence could benefit your job search.

8. Use your network

One of your most crucial job search tools in your professional network. Your network includes your coworkers, employers, friends, family, teachers, acquaintances and anyone else that you interact with regularly. If you reach out to your network and let them know you're looking for a new job, one of them may know about a job opening or career opportunity in your field. If so, consider asking them to refer you or provide a letter of recommendation, which may increase your chances of securing an interview.

9. Visit potential employers

You can enquire about job openings and make a positive first impression by visiting potential employers. You might find this approach especially helpful if you know of a specific company you want to work for or have network connections employed by the company. Dress professionally and bring multiple copies of your CV. When you arrive, introduce yourself, explain the reason for your visit and ask to speak with a human resources representative to discuss potential career opportunities.

10. Attend job fairs

Local organisations, educational institutions and professional groups often host job fairs, where employers set up booths and discuss the company they represent and the opportunities they offer. Some job fairs have a specific focus, such as health care careers, while others feature employers from many industries. Entry-level professionals and university students often find job fairs helpful in finding a position where they can establish their careers.

11. Edit your CV and cover letter

If you have a CV you've used in the past to apply for jobs, make sure to review and update it. Add your current position and note any changes, such as new certifications or degrees. Then, edit your resume to reflect the job requirements of the position before submitting it. For example, if a job description emphasises customer service, you might include several customer service-related skills you have and incorporate your service background into your cover letter.

12. Do your research

Employers look for qualified candidates who have the knowledge and skills for the position and have an interest in working for the company. When crafting your CV and cover letter, include details about the business or its executives in relevant ways. For example, you might mention a time at university when you heard an inspiring speech from the CEO of the company in your cover letter. This shows the employer your passion for the role and enthusiasm for being a part of the team.

13. Follow up

Employers often take several days to respond to applications, although the time it may take for them to contact you depends on how long they accept applications for the role and how many candidates apply. After about a week, consider emailing or call the company asking about their current stage in the hiring process. Introduce yourself, mention that you applied for the job, and ask politely if they can give you information about where they're in the hiring process. If they have yet to choose candidates for interviews, your perseverance may encourage them to consider you.

Tips for finding a job

Consider these tips when you look for a job:

  • Set career goals: Establishing career goals can help you feel more confident about pursuing the job search process. It can also help you look for positions that allow you to reach them.

  • Research companies: Even if you know what position you want, researching companies enables you to determine those that fit your needs and preferences. Then, you can search for a job at a company you feel can help you reach achieve goals and feel satisfied with your job.

  • Prepare to interview: Many people feel nervous before job interviews, but you can help decrease your anxiety by taking steps to prepare for your interview. Consider reviewing common interview questions for the position you applied for before you arrive.

  • Develop your skills: Learning new skills and developing your current ones can help you perform well in a new position. Professionals often practise specific skills or take continuing education courses that help them master the qualifications their new employer requires.

  • Update your portfolio: If you have an online portfolio or professional social media page, ensure you update it before applying for jobs. This allows you to show your employers your recent experience and projects before they even contact you for an interview.

  • Thank your interviewers: At the end of your interview, thank the hiring manager for their time. Then, email them to thank them again for considering you and mention that you look forward to a reply.

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