New Year’s Guide to the Job Search – 5 Steps to Landing a New Job

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A New Year marks the beginning of a new and improved you. It also marks the beginning of a new job search season, meaning it’s time to leave your old job-seeking ways behind and embrace the new, more organized, more prepared you – someone who lands a new job with ease.

So here at Doostang we composed a check-off list of vital job application steps for all job seekers to consider. Make sure you have these 5 steps down and you’ll be fulfilling that “New Job in the New Year” resolution in no time.

1. It All Starts with the Resume

The first step to securing an interview (and hopefully a job) is having a superb resume. Begin by proofreading your resume for any grammatical and spelling errors, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. What’s more important is that the skills and experiences you’re listing are relevant to the specific job you’re applying for, so that the hiring manager can be convinced that you’re capable of doing the job he or she is hiring for. That means every resume you send out needs to be tailored to the position you’re trying to get.

You may think your resume is top notch, but getting a second (and third, and fourth) opinion never hurts, so get some input from your friends as well. And if you want to be absolutely sure in the quality of your resume, get feedback from an expert and get a professional resume critique.

If you need more in-depth guidance on resume-writing, you can find our collection of resume tips and advice here.

2. Always Include a Cover Letter

Every resume you send out should be accompanied by a cover letter. And just as you would personalize a resume, a cover letter should also be custom-tailored to the job you’re applying for. This is your chance to expand on your resume and prove to the person reading that you have the skills necessary to do the job they’re hiring for.

Keep the length under one page and take the time to proofread, as spelling errors can quickly disqualify you from the race. And make sure you’re not making any of these deadly cover letter errors.

3. Pick Up the Phone

Phone interviews are commonly used as the preliminary step to weed out unqualified candidates, so chances are your first actual conversation with the company will be over the phone. This step should not be taken lightly, so do your research ahead of time and be as prepared as you would be for an actual in-person interview.

Use the fact that the interviewer can’t see you to your advantage and have your materials in front of you – your resume, company info, questions for the interviewer, and whatever else will aid you in that initial conversation.

Always answer with a professional greeting. “This is John Smith speaking” will impress your potential employers much more than a puzzled “Hello?” The same goes for your answering machine, so while you’re in the process of applying to jobs, replace that quirky voice-mail you recorded back in high school with a professional-sounding message.

Another tip – stand up while you’re speaking on the phone. Your voice will project louder, making you sound more energetic and positive.

4. Questions Questions Questions

Although there’s no way to know for sure what you will be asked in any given interview, there are ways to make sure you’re as ready as you can be. Be prepared to go over your resume and explain every point in detail – that’s almost a given in any interview.

Examples speak volumes, so have some stories ready that highlight your achievements. When you’re asked a seemingly random question about how you handle challenges or your work style, use a relevant back-up story as a supporting point – your interviewer will be impressed.

Keep in mind – what the hiring manager is really trying to find out is (1) do you understand what the job entails? and (2) can you actually do the job? Prove to them that both of these are true and you’ll can be sure you left a positive impression.

And make sure you have a set of questions ready to ask as well. Remember you’re interviewing the company too, so use the chance to see if the job is a good fit for you.

5. Giving Thanks (And a Reason to Hire You)

The Thank You Note is the final step to securing that job. It’s not just your chance to be polite and thank the interviewers for their time (please do) but also your chance to remind everyone you’ve interviewed with why you’re perfect for the role and seal the positive impression you’ve made on them.

As with everything else, make sure to personalize your note and reference some of the things you and the interviewer talked about so that he or she can easily remember who you are.

For a more thorough look into what you should include in your Thank You Note, you can read all the details here.


So once you’re ready to apply to that fantastic job on Doostang, go down this list and make sure you have every step down. When you’ve mastered all the steps in the process, you should have no trouble fulfilling the career portion of your New Year’s resolutions.

Happy New Year!
The Doostang Team

How To Leverage the Holiday Season and Get Hired – 5 Reasons Holidays Are Job-Search Prime Time.

holiday-job-searchIf you’re about to put your job search on pause until after the holidays, here at Doostang we ask you to reconsider. Did you know that the holiday season might actually be the best time to apply to jobs, and has the potential to do wonders for your career search?

Here are the 5 reasons why the holidays are a great time for job seekers to get ahead, and some tips on how you can use this time to your advantage:

1) Spots Going to Waste

We’ve all heard those rumors about companies taking a break from hiring in December and resuming only well after the holidays. In reality, many employers are frantically trying to fill remaining openings before the New Year because of the fairly common “use it or lose it” policy for leftover spots. With a rapidly approaching deadline, hiring managers are more likely to hire (and hire fast!) the first person that seems to fit the job description. So make sure they have your resume!

For many companies, budgeting happens in the fall and as managers rethink priorities and positions, new openings might get created to fit the company’s growing needs for the upcoming year. The anticipated starting date for these jobs would fall on the beginning of the year. Do the math and it makes sense that the people getting hired for those spots send in their resumes and interview sometime during the holiday season.

2) Waning Competition

Many job seekers wholeheartedly believe that all their job-searching efforts during the holidays will be futile, and take a month-long break from sending in their applications. Not to mention, everyone is so distracted by the typical holiday frenzy that even the job seekers who have not completely backed off this season are much less active.

Use that to your advantage! Less competition means your odds of landing a job have just skyrocketed.

3) Networking Galore

The holidays provide an easy excuse to reconnect with your network and touch base with all your valuable business contacts. Catching up with old acquaintances could alert you of new insider hiring opportunities, while extending well wishes to your past employers might improve the quality of the references they provide.

Keep in mind that people are generally less busy with work (and in a more giving spirit) during the holidays, so they’d be more likely to assist you with your job search. Now is the time to get input on your resume, schedule those informational interviews, or ask for new introductions.

Furthermore, the abundance of holiday activities makes for easy new networking opportunities. From holiday parties to volunteering opportunities, the season is full of chances to meet new people who may prove to be invaluable in your job search.

4) Spark Up Conversation

With the end of the year, many employers are redefining the company goals and initiatives. Now more than ever, the hiring manager will have a clear idea of what the company’s long-term and short-term plans are, meaning it’s the best time for you to see the direction the company is headed in.

At an interview, make sure to inquire about these things. Ask leading questions about the company’s priorities for the upcoming year. Not only will you get a better sense of the company and whether or not it’s a good fit for you, you’ll have an extra chance to sell yourself. Tell your interviewer about the skills you possess that will help the company solve the challenges that will arise.

5) Self Improvement

With the extra free time you have during the holidays, do all those things you’ve been putting off that could make a difference in your job search. Rewrite your resume, update your LinkedIn profile, print out some business cards.

If you know you’re going to be receiving gifts and don’t know what to ask for, channel your job search into your wish list. Ask for things that can help you succeed, such as items to complete your interview look or resume prep books. If you’re short on ideas, here are some great gift ideas for job seekers to get you started.

Armed with that knowledge you can now take advantage of this holiday season and get the most out of your job search. If you pump up the volume while everyone else is laying low the employers are bound to notice.

So start applying to those top jobs on Doostang and take full advantage of everything this season has to offer.

Wishing you a happy job-search season,
The Doostang Team