Pace yourself: Landing a new job is about efficiency, not speed 

Article by Horizontal Team
Feb 10, 2021
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Not many people enjoy looking for a new job. You’ve got to update your resume, craft cover letters, prep and research companies, interview—the list goes on and on. Applying for openings can often feel like a full-time job itself, especially if you’re applying en masse. You may think this is the most productive approach to finding your next gig. In actuality, this mass-apply approach may be hurting your chances of landing your dream job. By understanding better techniques and avoiding inefficiencies, you can up your game and land your new role faster.

Quality over quantity

When you fill out application after application, eventually, you’re going to make a mistake. Because this is the first impression a company has of you, typos and grammar mistakes can take you out of the running even if you’re the most qualified person for the job. If you’ve looked over your resume and cover letter a dozen times, enlist the help of family and friends to give them a quick once-over. It may be easier to spot mistakes with a fresh set of eyes.

Always tailor your resume and cover letter to each specific position that you’re applying for. (Tip: Our Candidate Profile makes this easy by allowing you to upload multiple resumes for use applying to different types of jobs.)  If you’re applying to roles in multiple industries, highlight any experience you have within that industry. If you don’t, pick out a few examples of where you have similar experience that can easily cross-over to the job to which you’re applying.

You’re competing against dozens, sometimes hundreds, of candidates with similar experience, so look for ways to highlight specifically why you are a fit for the job.

Ask for referrals

No matter what industry you want to work in, your best chance of getting hired is through an employee reference. It’s imperative you network during your job search. Sites like LinkedIn make it easier than ever to do so.

Look through your network at anyone you may be connected with what works for the company you’re applying to. Reach out and talk to them about why you would be a fit for the role and ask if there is an internal referral program and if they’d recommend you.


Interact with as many people as possible, both online and in person. Initiate conversations with people at seminars, social events or meetings that may be able to help you get your foot in the door. Let them know you’re looking for a new opportunity or want to work in a particular industry.

Be active on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, letting everyone you’re connected with know you’re looking for a new role. You may be surprised how connected your network is, and this may be just the prompt they needed to share your information.

Start at the top

In any organization, you’ll easily be able to find an executive org chart or contact information (usually under the ‘About Us’ page on a website). Find the most senior person in the area where you’d like to work, and email them specifically with your background and experience. Let them know you’re looking to join the organization because of two or three very specific reasons. If it’s a public company and release earnings calls, listen in and cite specific goals you believe you can help the company achieve. More times than not, an executive will forward that email to HR, and you’ll be well on your way to the top of the resume pile for the extra effort. 

All of this may seem like it will take a lot of extra time. Still, if you follow these simple steps, you’ll spend the time you would have mass-applying for jobs and use it on quality engagements and activities that will produce real results. It takes dedication and effort, but you want to make sure you land in a role that you can be happy and contribute to for many years to come.

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