When starting any job hunt the first thing you need to do is be prepared.
That's probably a good rule of thumb for anything important in life but especially so when it comes to finding and securing that dream job.
The preparation I am talking about is all the relevant materials that may be included in your future job applications.
That statement is fairly innocuous sounding but it actually contains a few key points that need to be highlighted.
Materials that may be included.
A good preparation will include everything - CV, cover letter, portfolios, online profiles, websites etc.
Basically anything that could possibly be submitted in future job applications.
Not everything you do here will be needed for every job application. In fact, some things you do at this stage you may never submit to a prospective employer. This is good. In the world of job hunting it is better to be over prepared rather than trying to slap some half-arsed concoction of bullshit together in the last five minutes before a job deadline closes.
Preparation does not mean just front-loading the effort so that you can trot out 1000s of cookie-cutter applications either. That is the complete opposite of what we are trying to do. The point of doing the right preparation means that you can focus your future effort on crafting, tailoring, and perfecting your application for each job.
Preparation means a higher quality of applications which means higher probability of success.
There are also some other benefits to being well prepared before you even begin your job search.
Preparing all your relevant documents also helps you prepare yourself. You will have solidified important talking points in your mind which will help you clearly articulate them as discussion points in later stages (e.g. the interview).
It will also help you remember some of the cool things you've done previously that had slipped your mind.
By writing a all-inclusive version of your CV/Cover letter mostly BEFORE you search you will learn about yourself, what achievements you are proud of, and what type of work you want to do more of. All this helps you be more accurate and more selective in your job hunt which means you end up with fewer but more desirable jobs to apply for.
That in turn means you get to spend more time crafting higher quality applications which means higher probability of success.
Preparing well in the job-hunting space is the difference between taking the first offer you get because it's the ONLY offer you have versus being able to turn offers down because you're have many options.
One final note before I sign off...
You should have noticed that I always talk about applications, as in plural. Unless you are god's gift to recruiters, or you are competing in a field that is in high demand and under supply (e.g. tall underwater unicorn tamers from Mars) it is unlikely that you will get the first job you apply for.
You will need to apply for more than one job. Often you will need to apply for many jobs. Having key materials prepared, ready to be edited and customised, will be a god-send.
On more final (final) note. Yeah I know I said the last one was final but…well this is my email so I make the rules.
All of this diving into why it is important to prepare well can be summed up in a simple cliche: quality over quantity.
Too many people think the trick to getting a job is just to smash as many inboxes as possible with their CV.
They call it a 'numbers game' to make it sound more scientific. But, probability speaking, this is actually the worst thing you can do for your chances of getting a great job.
If you send 100 shitty low-effort applications you will probably get 0 interviews. Or you might score 1-2 interviews if you managed to find some truly desperate or inexperienced hiring managers.
But then do you really want to work at those places anyway? No, no you don't.
Send 10 high-quality well-crafted job applications and you're much more likely to get responses . Even just a single interview is a 10% strike rate, 10x more effective than the shotgun approach.
Getting a good job is not just a numbers game. Preparation is key.