20 Secret Job Search Hacks That Employers Don’t Want You to Know

Ah, the daunting task of job hunting – a journey filled with excitement, anxiety, and endless possibilities. In today’s competitive world, finding the perfect job isn’t a walk in the park. However, fear not! There are some fantastic job search hacks that can transform this challenging quest into a fruitful adventure.

One Redditor asked, “What’s the best job search hack that you know?” Many users shared top-notch hacks, and here are the best ones!

1. Company’s Website

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Ever heard the saying, “Cut out the middleman”? Well, in job hunting terms, that means applying directly on the company’s website. Why? Because it shows you’re proactive and genuinely interested.

One user said, “Apply on the company website rather than the job board such as Indeed etc.”

Another replied, “To add to this: Applying through the company’s own website often entails having to basically re-upload your entire resume, bit by bit, into the company’s own system. Attaching your already structured resume isn’t enough. I absolutely hate that; it’s so time-consuming.”

2. Knowing Your HM

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Here’s a secret sauce most people overlook – knowing your Hiring Manager. Do some LinkedIn stalking (it’s okay; we all do it) and find out who’s the mastermind behind the hiring process. A personalized approach can make all the difference. Mentioning their name in your cover letter? Instant attention grabber!

A discerning Reddit user commented, “Personally knowing the hiring manager.”

Another added, “Yeah, people knock on this, but if there are two equally qualified candidates and I know one of them, I’m more likely to hire the one I know.”

3. Keywords

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Ever wondered why some resumes get more hits than others? It’s all about keywords. Scan the job description, identify the buzzwords, and sprinkle them artfully throughout your resume.

Someone wrote, “Copy the job description into your resume, modify it in your own words, but keep all the major keywords.”

Someone commented, “Yes! Don’t expect your CV to be reviewed by a person in the company you’re actually applying to. As a worthless person atm, you’re not worth that!”

4. Third-party Website

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One user said, “Double check the job ad against the official company website if possible. I had a cousin call in a favor for a reference for his friend who was applying for an internship at the company I work for. I checked, and the actual internship window had closed a month prior. The friend had been checking on a third-party website, but if they had simply researched the official job advertisement URL, they would have known better.”

Another replied, “That’s huge; all those third-party websites have outdated jobs.”

Your application deserves more than a mere swipe left or right, don’t you think?

5. Cover Letters

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Generic just won’t cut it. Tailor each cover letter to show your passion, your quirks, and your unique selling points. Make them remember you long after they’ve read it.

A Reddit user wrote, “Cover letter is all about the company (i.e., how you meet their values). Employers love an ego rub and showing you did your research on them.”

Another added, “Write a tailored cover letter. I have found it to be worth the 5-10 minute inconvenience. Don’t start raging when you have to re-type your resume; slow down.”

6. Salary Brackets

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A discerning Reddit user commented, “Search for jobs in the salary bracket above what you are currently earning (roughly $10k higher). You may be surprised at the number of job descriptions in those higher-paying roles that actually describe what you already do, so apply for those ones. Bonus: if you’re not qualified for those, take note of what you do need to learn to land those roles and search for jobs that will help you bridge that gap.”

Someone commented, “The trick is to only look for jobs that list a salary range; any posting without one isn’t to be trusted to begin with. Many sites have that as a filter option.”

Shoot for the stars – or at least a star with a slightly bigger paycheck!

7. Apply Online

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In today’s digital age, your online presence can make or break your job search.

One user said, “Apply online, not in person like my Boomer parents forced me to do -not one callback.”

Another replied, “Yeah…times have changed. It’s no longer seen as persistent if you show up in person; it’s seen as annoying.”

8. Professional Attire

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Okay, this might sound like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many people overlook it. Before you step out for that interview, take a shower, wear clean clothes, and comb your hair. First impressions are a big deal, and showing up looking and smelling fresh can tip the scales in your favor.

Someone wrote, “If you go into an onsite career services event, wear a suit if it’s for office jobs, or wear business casual if it’s for manual labor.”

Someone commented, “Wear clean clothes and bathe beforehand.”

9. GPA

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Not all of us are straight-A students, and that’s perfectly fine. Unless you have a stellar 4.0 GPA, you might want to reconsider putting it on your resume.

A Reddit user wrote, “Regardless of if you have a degree or not, only state your GPA if it’s a 4.0 unless you went to like Harvard or something where a high 3.X is still acceptable.”

Another added, “If you have work experience or skills that are more relevant and impressive than your academic achievements, focus on showcasing those instead.”

10. Interview Tips

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Interviews can be nerve-wracking, but they’re also your time to shine. Be confident, research common interview questions, and practice your answers.

One user said, “Always put a smile on when talking to a recruiter or hiring manager, and make sure you say their name three times in the conversation.”

Someone commented, “Finally, regardless of how an interview goes, always send a thank you email to the person you were coordinating with, and thank them for their consideration and their time.”

11. Quality Over Quantity

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When it comes to job applications, it’s not a numbers game. Instead of spraying your resume everywhere, focus on fewer applications but tailor each one to the specific job.

A discerning Reddit user commented, “I’d rather spend all day on two applications than all day on a 100. Jump thru the hoops, re-type your job history, upload your relevant certificates, and write a tailored cover letter. I have found it to be worth the 5-10 minute inconvenience. Don’t start raging when you have to re-type your resume, just slow down.”

Another replied, “I found this when I took the time to customize my CV to emphasize relevant experience and skills per application, I started to get more interest. It took a few months and practice of tailoring, but then I finally got invited to interviews.”

12. Stand Out

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Someone wrote, “Make it very clear how your qualifications make you the ideal candidate for this role. So often, I see lists of past jobs, education, etc… But it’s not clear why I should interview this person of the 20 other people with similar qualifications and backgrounds.”

Another added, “Tell me a story. Granted, I hire PhD students/postdocs/lab techs/RAs so it’s a bit different than massive companies, but the principle is the same.”

Use all this to tell your story to explain why you’re the perfect fit for the job.

13. A Good College

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Now, this one might sound a bit traditional, but attending a reputable college does open doors. If you have the opportunity, consider a well-regarded institution.

One user said, “Go to a name-brand college. I know it might be too late now, but if it’s not the school matters. Find out what schools are respected in your industry and location, and go there.”

Another replied, “You can follow your dreams at a small liberal arts college or save money at community college, but know that this will negatively impact your ability to get a great job. It’s not always a deal breaker, but you want any small thing to get you over the top.”

14. Follow the Instructions

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Job postings often come with specific instructions. It could be about the format of your application, the subject line of your email, or the information to include. Follow these instructions to the letter. It shows you can pay attention to detail, a skill valued in most workplaces.

A discerning Reddit user commented, “Read the job posting. If it asks for a cover letter, make sure you have a cover letter. If it asks for samples, make sure you include samples. If there’s a specific format they want for apps, use that format.”

Someone commented, “I cannot tell you how many applicants I’ve sent directly to the trash pile because they couldn’t follow basic instructions. If you can’t follow directions when applying, I can’t trust you to follow directions when you start working.”

15. Professional Development

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The job market is ever-evolving. Stay ahead of the curve by continuously updating your skills.

Someone wrote, “Enhance your skills and qualifications through online courses, certifications, or workshops. This can make your resume more attractive to employers.”

Another added, “Enrolling in online platforms like Coursera, edX, or Udacity to gain specific skills or knowledge is one of the best tips ever.”

16. Social Media

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Clean up your social media profiles – yes, employers do check them! LinkedIn is your best friend here.

One user said, “Use social media platforms, especially Twitter and LinkedIn, to follow companies, recruiters, and industry experts. Engage in discussions and showcase your expertise.”

Another replied, “Yeah, instead of doom-scrolling, you can actually look up business and work opportunities on Linkedin.”

17. Freelancing

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In the gig economy, freelancing is a goldmine. Whether you’re a writer, graphic designer, or programmer, platforms like Upwork and Fiverr offer endless opportunities.

A Reddit user wrote, “Consider freelancing or gig work on platforms like Upwork or Fiverr.”

Someone commented, “For sure, it can provide you with valuable experience and connections.”

Freelancing not only hones your skills but also pads your resume with real, tangible projects.

18. Headshot

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Invest in a professional headshot. No, selfies won’t cut it. A clean, professional image on your LinkedIn profile and resume adds a touch of credibility.

Someone wrote, “Your LinkedIn profile has a professional-looking headshot. First impressions matter online, too.”

Another responded, “I’d say you invest in a professional photographer with experience in portrait photography. They understand lighting, composition, and posing to capture your best features.”

19. Practice Interviewing

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One user said, “Practice common interview questions with a friend or through mock interview platforms. This can boost your confidence during real interviews.”

Another added, “Practice answering common questions like “Tell me about yourself,” “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” and “Why should we hire you?””

Remember, perseverance and a positive attitude go a long way.

20. Volunteer

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Volunteering isn’t just about doing good; it’s also a fantastic way to network.

A discerning Reddit user commented, “Volunteer work can be a great way to gain experience, learn new skills, and expand your network.”

Another replied, “Volunteers often learn new skills or enhance existing ones, which can be valuable for personal and professional growth.”

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