1. Focus your efforts
Rather than sending mass email blasts that you’re looking for work or doing a speed-round of job applications, find a few positions or companies you’re particularly interested in and qualified for. Look at the job description and send exactly what they ask for (i.e. a cover letter, resume and three writing samples). When it comes to making progress in your job hunt, it’s about the quality of your applications, not the quantity.
2. Consider your existing web presence
Before you send a single job application, check out your digital persona—google yourself, go through your public social media channels and update any online websites that are attributed to your name (hello, college blog). In all likelihood, one of the first things the hiring manager will do is look you up online.
3. Apply mid-week
On Mondays, hiring managers are often dealing with a full inbox, and on Fridays people are generally getting ready for the weekend. The sweet spot for job applications is Tuesday through Thursday. If you’ve already got a full-time job, get everything ready over the weekend—write cover letters, update your resume and gather any other materials you may need, like your portfolio. That way, you’ll be ready to send a thoughtful, quality application in the middle of the week.
4. Use keywords
The trick to standing out in the digital resume pile is to customize yours for every job you apply to. When you submit an application online, you're essentially putting it into a database that the company will then search—so make yourself searchable! Look for keywords in the job description like "editorial experience" or "master's degree," and add them to your resume.
5. Don’t fangirl too hard
You want to show that you’ve researched the company and are passionate about working there. At the same time, gushing too much over how much you love the brand can seem a little disingenuous when it’s written in an application. Strike the perfect balance—give several concrete examples of what you love about their work, then explain what you’ll bring to the table if you’re hired.