Looking for a new job can be a stressful experience. From updating your resume and crafting cover letters to networking and interviewing, there are a lot of things you need to do to secure your dream job. According to CulverCareers, finding your dream job can be difficult, but by no means is it out of reach.

1. You Need to Tailor Your Resume


Your resume is the most important item in your toolbox when it comes to getting hired, and it needs to be perfect. Most recruiters and hiring managers say you should be tailoring your resume specifically to the position you are applying for and highlighting your most relevant experience. If you’re looking at a job in sales, make sure to really focus on your skills and results in that field instead of your work with the marketing team, and vice versa.

It’s also important to think about adding what you do outside of work! According to ResumeBuild, the ultimate online resume builder, adding hobbies and volunteer work can help your resume stand out and may signal that you’d be a good cultural fit for the company

2. They Hate Resumes with Buzzwords


Since many companies now use software that scans resumes en masse, it’s a good idea to use certain keywords that might help you stand out in the system. You should still be careful not to rely on buzzwords or corporate jargon that is virtually meaningless.

Instead of calling yourself a “rockstar” or a “go-getter” who is all about “synergy,” think about what you’re really trying to say. Saying you launched a successful program or led a team is more impactful and truly denotes your quality as a candidate. Glassdoor recommends using “simple yet powerful” words like launched, managed, orchestrated and spearheaded.

3. They Are Looking At Your Social Media Profiles


Yes, recruiters and hiring managers are looking at your social media accounts. They are using Google to find any trace of you on the web — whether it’s your Twitter account, an old blog or photos from your bowling league. If you’re job hunting, you might want to do a cursory search for yourself and see what results come up. It might be wise to make your social media accounts like Facebook or Twitter private or update them to show off your skills and interests.

One social media network you should always use, however, is LinkedIn. While it’s important to update your experience, skills, and goals, remember that the site is a social platform and not just a resume! Ask colleagues to write recommendations on your profile, share relevant articles and engage with people in your network.

4. Your Network Is More Important Than You Think


Speaking of your network! Your network plays an important role when the recruiter or hiring manager is deciding on whether or not to make an offer. They will not only call your references but also look for ‘backdoor references.’

Recruiters can find mutual connections (your old boss, someone you went to school with) and ask for their honest opinion on you. Even if you didn’t plan on giving a boss you didn’t get along with as a reference, the recruiter might just find them anyway!

The gig economy can hurt your chances of getting hired

5. The Gig Economy Can Hurt You

The past few years have seen a boom in the gig economy with more and more workers turning to freelance work or becoming ‘solopreneurs.’ Unfortunately, some recruiters see this as a red flag.

According to Fast Company, many recruiters believe those that went into business for themselves did so because they “couldn’t find full-time work” and might be seen as a liability in the corporate world. If you’re looking to make the switch to a more traditional office job after having gone solo, make sure you have impeccable references from your clients and be prepared to fight to be taken seriously.

6. It Might Not Be Your Fault


One major secret all recruiters and hiring managers know but rarely reveal is why you didn’t get the job. You may wonder if your resume was up to par or if your interview went as well as you thought. The truth is, it may not have been anything to do with you as a candidate.

Often, there are internal candidates that are being considered before external hires, yet companies have to go through the process of looking at both. Internal candidates often have an advantage and it’s rare that recruiters will let you know ahead of time you aren’t likely to win over them.

7. Do Research Before Your Interviews


One tip many recruiters and hiring managers suggest is to research before going to your interviews. Look into the company and what they do, their competitors, changes in the industry and even the employees themselves.

Looking at the LinkedIn profile of the people you’ll be interviewing with gives you an idea of their experience and what the culture at the office might be like, and better prepare you for the variety of questions that will come your way.

8. There Are Right and Wrong Answers

An open-ended question like “Do you work better independently or on a team” or “Tell me about a time you solved a problem at work”, is used in almost every interview, but they are far from generic questions. These are used to judge whether or not you’d be a good fit for the company culture, and you can answer them wrong.

For example, your answers about being an independent worker who takes the initiative might sound great to you, but for a company that values teamwork and collaboration, it’s a red flag that you might not work well with others.

9. You Can Negotiate Your Offer


If you do manage to snag a job offer, you don’t have to automatically accept it as is. It’s not unheard of that companies might offer you a salary at the lower end of the range. You can try to negotiate for higher base pay, more vacation time or a better bonus.

Forbes suggests emailing your hiring manager and letting them know you’re excited about the role, but want to talk on the phone first. This signals you are interested but may have some items to discuss first. If they’re not open to any negotiation, it might be a sign this isn’t the right place for you, after all.

10. It May Not Be Your Dream Job After All


As much as you spend the interview trying to sell yourself to the company, they are also selling themselves to you! Recruiters are trying to attract top candidates, so they will play up the benefits of the company: flexible hours, work from home policy and e-learning opportunities are some of the most attractive benefits to potential employees, but they may be harder to achieve than you’d think. Recruiters are also unlikely to let you know that your future boss is hard to work with, or that there has been frequent overturning in this position.

For the inside scoop, you’re best connecting with current or former employees on LinkedIn to ask for an honest opinion of the company. After all, the work you did securing a job offer, you don’t want to find yourself doing it all again in a few months because your dream job turned out to be a nightmare.