Two men searching for a job on a computer.

How to start a job search

Whether just entering the workforce, changing jobs or changing fields, these tips may help you with your job search.

When searching for a new job, it can be difficult to know what's most important. These job hunting tips can help college graduates, people interested in changing careers and the recently unemployed.

Consider any and all relevant experience

Did you write or edit your college newspaper, excel at a summer internship or hold a leadership position in your fraternity or sorority? Include it on your resume or in your cover letter in lieu of (or addition to) work experience, so potential employers can learn more about your skills and abilities.

Use your network

Classmates, former professors, mentors and friends may all have an "in" somewhere. Don't be afraid to make connections and network — it just might help you land a job.

Take time to self-reflect

Consider the type of job you are looking for. Is this job you are applying for a good fit for your qualifications, and will it be a good next step to continue growing professionally? If you are considering a new career, remember to think of the downsides or risks of changing careers.

Do your research

Does the position or field you're looking to move into require any special certifications or a particular level of education? If the answer is yes, ask yourself if you're willing to make the upfront investment before diving in. In some cases, going back to school might be a good option to consider.

It is also important to take the time to research the companies that you plan to apply for. Each company has a specific vision, business operation style and corporate values. You might want to apply for a job at a place that shares your interests like innovation, technology, diversity or social causes. Knowing about the company’s history and past performance may help you tie that information into the interview.

Tailor your resume

Instead of listing every job you've ever had, find three to four positions that best fit the description of the job you're applying to — and talk about your experience using words and phrases similar to the ones in the job description.

In addition to your resume, consider sending a cover letter that describes your work experience in greater detail and how your skills can be applied to the job you are interested in. Research and choose a cover letter format that you are comfortable with, since you may need to supply certain information in the letter, including your address and your signature.

Review your social media profiles

Social media is a part of our daily lives. You might share a lot or a little information on social media about your hobbies, friends or activities you’re involved with outside of work. Take time to confirm your accounts look professional, as companies may review online accounts of potential candidates when making hiring decisions.

Don't limit yourself

Consider submitting applications online and in person and ask for informational interviews at companies where you might want to work. If you are a college student or recent graduate, your university might have a career center dedicated to helping students choose a career, conduct a job search or prepare for a job interview. The wider you cast your net, the better chance you'll have of finding a position that fits your previous work experience or educational background. Also think about the possibility of relocating, as that could offer you opportunities that may not be available in your current city or state.

Other things to consider

Preparing to apply for a job takes some time and patience. A job checklist might be helpful in organizing your information and help confirm you have everything you need. After you have submitted your applications, begin to prepare for interviews by researching common questions that prospective employers may ask. In the case that you get more than one offer, take a look at how to compare job offers to help you decide the best step in your work journey.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates). While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. State Farm is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.

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