12 Steps to a Targeted Job Search

You’ve sent dozens – maybe hundreds – of resumes. But you’re not getting called by recruiters. And even worse – when you do get called, you’re not getting hired. What’s wrong with these recruiters?!

Don’t get discouraged. As they say, “It’s not you. It’s them”.


It’s probably you. And if all you’ve done is send resumes over and over – you ARE the problem.

Many candidates make that very mistake – they think attaching their resume is the single action item required to get hired. In reality, there’s so much more to the recruiting process than only sending your resume! It’s like putting only your shoes on and saying “I’m dressed. Ready to go!”

When it comes to getting hired for an internship or job, your resume is just one of the many important parts of the entire process. Those who get hired understand this well. Those who don’t… walk out the front door wearing nothing but a smile and their shoes.

Here are 12 Steps to a targeted job search (notice that sending your resume en masse is not included in the twelve) absolutely required to stand out as a great candidate:

1. Complete your Linkedin profile, and make sure it’s updated frequently throughout your job search

2. Ensure your Facebook page and Twitter profile and tweets reflect the “mature you” not the “party animal you”

3. Obtain a professional-looking email address (“johnbsmith@email.com” as opposed to “partydude420@email.com”)

4. Order high-quality personal business cards (just $19.95 for 250 2-sided cards at Smartlevels.com)

5. Participate regularly in TwitterChats like #jobhuntchat and #HFChat (participate – not just lurk)

6. Develop a concise, well-developed 30-second “elevator pitch” – your “Why you should hire me?” speech – and practice until you can say it naturally, and with conviction!

7. Adapt and adhere to a policy where you will apply for only the positions for which you are qualified

8. Prepare for interviews by thoroughly researching the company, its industry and competition

Seems like a lot to do? It is. But if you’re thinking this is too much, you may be answering the question “Why am I not getting hired?” Keep reading…

9. Write a unique resume and cover letter to specifically target that exact position and company (include the keywords exact keywords from the job description)

10. Follow up with the recruiter on all of your applications, in a timely manner

11. Continually work to update your skills set through online classes, and read every industry-related article and blog post you can find

12. Regularly seek out, and schedule, informational interviews – not only are they great interviewing practice, they are also good opportunities for networking

And, here’s a bonus, to make a Baker’s Dozen… the most important advice of all:

13. Network, network, network

“Do I really have to do all of that to get hired?”

Targeted Job SearchThe reality is you may be able to get away with skipping a couple of these critical steps. But which one are you willing to ignore? Which detail may be the difference between getting an interview – and not? Why take the chance?

The candidates who are getting hired are those who do the work – all the work.

Follow this list – and help yourself become a more attractive candidate. Do not be overwhelmed. Break the list into segments… attack the list from top to bottom… take your time, and be thorough in your approach.

And when you begin to see success, remember this: most of your competition will continue to be content with shot-gunning resumes, waiting for that elusive call – and blaming the recruiter.

For this post, thank you to our friends at YouTern.

Guest Expert:

Dave Ellis, is an original member of the YouTern team and instrumental to its success… in fact, he’s so awesome there wouldn’t be a YouTern without him (and he might have written this bio himself). In his spare time, Dave volunteers, rescuing and rehabilitating sea lions and baby elephant seals. Follow Dave on Twitter!

We are grateful to all of the industry career experts for the top advice and experience they share with our MBA professionals. MBA Highway wouldn't be where it is today without them and their contributions.

Need some direction for your MBA job search and career?

Subscribe today ► and get our latest blog posts and other top tips, tools and resources emailed right to your inbox!

Search Top MBA Jobs

Doostang is an online job search community that connects top professionals to select opportunities in finance, consulting, marketing and more.

Find your next job: Search jobs ►

AND MBA Highway members receive 40% OFF on Premium Doostang membership.
Learn more ►

Need a NEW Resume?

MBA Highway members receive $200 OFF on the Doostang Resume Rewrite package. So for just $299, you'll receive:

• Professionally-Written Resume
• Reusable Cover Letter
• LinkedIn Profile Rewrite
• And more...

Get your new resume! Get started ►