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Quick! Having a Sense of Urgency During Your Job Search

Serious about looking for a new job? Having a sense of urgency throughout the process is critically important. Finding your next opportunity isn’t just about your skills, qualifications, background, education and who you know – it’s also about your behavior during the search. And, the ability to react quickly.

Being responsive while looking for a job is critical and can set you apart from the competition. Make sure your response rate is timely, especially in these important areas:

Applying for jobs

When you see a job online you’re interested in, don’t delay in applying. While it’s important to customize both your cover letter and resume for each opportunity, it’s also crucial that you apply quickly. In fact, a LinkedIn study shows candidates that are among the first 25 to apply for a role are 3x more likely to land the job – and it reinforces your level of interest. Once a hiring manager feels like they have a viable pool of candidates, they will be less attentive to the balance of inquiries coming in.

Keep in mind that Monday is the most popular day for new jobs to be posted. Pay special attention to the beginning of the week and use online tools to set alerts and automatically forward openings that may be of interest. Apply quickly for what’s of interest, but be selective if there are multiple opportunities at the same company. Applying for six jobs with the same manager can be off-putting.

Responding to hiring managers

So, you’ve applied for a job and a recruiter or company representative has reached out. It’s important to respond as quickly as possible, especially if the opportunity is a temporary or contract position. Temp roles indicate an immediate need and openings can fill quickly, sometimes as fast as 20 minutes to 24 hours. When working with a recruiter, save his or her number in your phone so you know who’s calling or texting. If you can’t talk at that moment, send back a quick message indicating your interest and giving the time frame you’re available to speak.

For permanent positions, it’s equally as important to get in touch with expediency. When reaching back out to the person who contacted you, be prepared to have an on-the-spot mini-phone screen should you reach them live. If leaving a voice mail, or responding by email, indicate some windows of time you would be available to talk in more depth, and the best way to contact you.

It’s understood that some candidates may not be able to receive job search phone calls or access personal email from work, so make sure you have a game plan for future communication with the company or recruiter. And, remember to express your interest and enthusiasm in the opportunity.

Communicating with recruiters

If you have a LinkedIn profile or have posted your resume online, you may proactively hear from a recruiter for roles you didn’t apply for but for which they think you may be a good fit. Use the same sense of urgency in these circumstances. If, however, you aren’t interested, politely thank the recruiter and indicate why the job doesn’t make sense, whether that’s location, compensation or the type of company. Don’t fret that this will disqualify you from future roles; trust us, we’d rather you be upfront and honest with us – and yourself. It’s also a great opportunity to get on the same page and communicate your career goals.

Sending thank you notes

It may be a no brainer, but sending thank you notes is both polite and important. Similar to customizing your cover letter and resume, thank you emails should be personal and thoughtful and also sent quickly. We don’t advise sitting in the parking lot and texting your appreciation, but whenever possible, your email should be sent the same day as your interview. If you’ve met with multiple people, send each a separate note. Again, don’t forget to reinforce your excitement about the opportunity.

Providing feedback

If working with a recruiter or corporate Human Resources representative, it’s important to also share your feedback with them. The client is going to ask and they should be prepared with an answer. Call them on your way back from the interview and give an honest review. Express what you liked and discuss any areas of concern. Both are working on your behalf and want the best possible outcome for both you and the hiring manager. If you are interested, make sure they know. If you’re not, don’t be afraid to tell the truth. Not every opportunity is right for every job seeker.

Following up with any to do’s

If you’ve promised anything during your interview, fulfill your obligation as quickly as possible. When they reach out to schedule another round of interviews, give them more windows of availability. If they’ve asked for references or writing samples, send those quickly. Note: it’s perfectly fine to combine this correspondence with the thank you note to your primary contact.

For references, make sure the people who you’ve chosen have been asked in advance and are prepped on the areas in which they should concentrate. Know the best way to reach them and have that information at the ready.

Deciding on an offer

Hooray, you’ve been extended an offer! With the exception of temp roles that need someone to start the next day, it’s assumed you are going to want to take some time to absorb the terms of the offer and to discuss the opportunity with your spouse or other trusted party. If the opportunity is complicated, whether due to relocation, an executive position or the involvement of equity, a relative time frame for accepting, declining or counter-offering is five days. For entry-level and mid-career roles, the expectation is 24-36 hours.

If you need more time, be up-front with the hiring manager or recruiter, but realize that you run the risk of them second guessing the decision or assuming your interest level isn’t as excited as theirs. Don’t leave them hanging or even worse, have your offer rescinded. Remember they have other candidates in play and need a plan for moving forward.

Job searches can be time consuming and it can be difficult to find the extra time to dedicate to them. But, having a sense of urgency can truly help expedite your next opportunity and put you ahead of your competition.

Photo credit: Phil Desforges on Unsplash

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