Successful job-hunting requires planning, commitment, and consistency. When searching for a job, certain tips and techniques can make you stand out to interviewers and hiring managers. In this article, we discuss 16 helpful tips to help you land the job you want.

Use these tips to perfect your approach to job-hunting:

1. Know your goals

Before you start job hunting, consider the type of career you want. First, identify why finding a job is important to you. Exploring your experience, values, skills, and accomplishments helps you determine what opportunities to focus on. Ask for guidance from professors, trusted friends, family, and a career coach, especially if you’re changing careers or looking for entry-level positions. Your career goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based.

2. Plan your job search

Once you know what your career goals are, create a job-hunting action plan. Organize your schedule to look for jobs and establish a job-hunting routine. Determine how much time per day or week you want to dedicate to searching for a job. For example, you could decide to spend two hours job-hunting every day.

Planning your job search also involves updating your profile regularly. Consider creating another email address to keep professional messages separate from personal ones. Being proactive about job-hunting can help you find positions that interest you. Setting consistent time aside for your job search means you’ll be ready to apply for them right away.

3. Update and customize your resume and cover letter

Many hiring managers and interviewers determine promising candidates by going through resumes and cover letters. Adapting these documents to the job you’re applying for is a great way to make you stand out. Include your skills, experience, and achievements. Be sure to make both documents concise and easy to read. Going through job descriptions can also help you determine the exact requirements of potential employers.

Ask a career coach, trusted friend, coworker, or family member to proofread and comment on your resume and cover letter. You can also use resume-writing services to help you make or customize your resume. Keep a template to save time and adapt both documents to the specific role you’re applying for.

Make sure you optimize your resume for keywords to improve your likelihood of getting an interview. For example, if you’re applying for a marketing coordinator position, here are some keywords to mention in your resume:

  • Marketing
  • Brand
  • Metrics
  • Forecasting

4. Improve your online visibility

Aside from going through your resume and cover letter, recruiters search for candidates online before narrowing down the ones they call for interviews. Having a good online presence can improve your chances of getting the job you want. Consider joining professional social networks, posting content related to your field, and commenting on topics that interest you.

5. Use various job search resources

While manual online searches are important, use other resources to help you find the job you want. For example, you can reach out to hiring managers, search social media, attend career fairs or browse through job search engines. Signing up for job alerts can also help you find the role that you’re passionate about.

6. Research roles and companies

As you discover the positions you want, research the companies that made the job posting. Finding out more information helps you determine whether the company’s goals align with yours. It also reveals whether the employment benefits, company culture, and work environment are suitable for you. Hiring managers and interviewers appreciate candidates who understand the position and company before coming in for interviews. It’s a great way to show that working at a company excites you and that you’ve prepared for your interview.

7. Apply for job positions confidently

Start applying for jobs once you research a position and you’re sure it interests you. Depending on the role, employers may hire candidates eager to learn new skills and contribute to the company’s goals. Emphasizing how your career goals align with the company’s can help you stand out from other candidates.

You can still apply for jobs if you don’t meet all the listed criteria. Many employers value and consider hiring enthusiastic candidates. They’re happy to hire those who don’t have all the skills and experience, as long as you express your motivation and eagerness to learn.

8. Schedule informational interviews or request to job shadow

Look for professionals in the company or industry that interests you and request informal conversations with them. By scheduling informational interviews, you can determine what employers are looking for and whether you’re a good fit for the role. Informal interviews can also help you learn the tips you need to succeed in the position. Discuss your career interests and get their advice on what steps you need to take to reach your goals. You can also find interview questions on job search or networking sites.

If you’re exploring different opportunities, you can job shadow professionals to understand their role on a typical day.

9. Network

Communicate and expand your network in person and online. Interact at social events, seminars, and related events, and let people know you’re job hunting. You might discover career advice, job leads, or more information about positions you can apply for. Employers don’t list all job openings and networking with people is a great way to find unlisted roles. Even if your conversations don’t lead you to a job, take advantage of and appreciate any help they can offer.

10. Prepare a list of references

Recruiters often ask for references to confirm your application details. Have a list of at least three references, including their names, companies, contact details, and job titles ready. Be sure to get permission before including people as your references.

11. Succeed in your current position and get references

If you have a current job, maintain healthy relationships with your employers and coworkers while you continue job-hunting. Remaining committed and showing a good work ethic encourages your current employer to consider you for job opportunities.

12. Prepare for in-person and telephone interviews

A successful job search leads to an interview, and there are steps you can take to be ready for it. Prepare by finding sample interview questions and coming up with answers to them. While you can practice alone, consider asking a friend or professional contact to prepare you for your interview. Plan how to connect personal experiences and your skill set for a role.

Consider your body language. Maintaining eye contact, leaning forward slightly to indicate interest, and using your hands are all ways to exhibit open body language. These small actions make interviewers more receptive to you. Regardless of the type of interview, have your resume handy and be prepared to impress your interviewers.

Craft your answer using the STAR method to give detailed answers to questions. STAR stands for:

  • Situation: Explain the challenge you faced
  • Task: Describe your role
  • Action: Explain the steps you took in the situation
  • Result: Describe what your action led to

13. Follow up with hiring managers

Reach out to recruiters after a job interview and send a thank-you message. If they don’t get back to you after a while, follow up by calling, leaving a message on professional social networks, or sending an email. When reaching out after your phone or in-person interview, make sure you express your excitement for the role. Continue searching and applying for other positions while you wait for a response.

Read more: Follow-Up Email Examples for After the Interview

14. Improve your skills

While searching for jobs is important, consider expanding your skills. This makes you feel more prepared and ensures you’re a good fit for a role you want. This is especially true if you’re starting a new career path. Consider internships, volunteer opportunities, part-time positions, and other temporary roles while you continue applying for jobs that interest you. You can also use this time to network with more people, get strong referrals, and learn industry-relevant technologies.

As you get more experience and improve your skills, update your cover letter and resume.

15. Be persistent

Job-hunting requires your effort and time to search and apply for roles that you’re passionate about. Keep a positive attitude, view your job hunt as an exciting challenge and think like a recruiter. Being persistent and looking for several job opportunities leads to success.

Related: How to Find Your Passion in 13 Steps (and Why It Matters)

16. Keep a record

Tracking your job interview progress helps you determine what strategies work and identify things you need to improve. For example, if you track how many applications you send per week, you can determine the percentage of responses you get, and for which positions.

Record positions you applied to, including your referrals, follow-up actions, interviews, and communications. Review these records regularly while you continue your job search.

Whatever your ultimate career goals are, these helpful job-hunting tips will help you land the job you want.