New year, new start… new job?

If you’re part of the 10 percent or so of young people looking for work, January may be your time of year.

Advertisement

Hiring slows down over the holiday season - people are away, there’s year-end business to worry about - but tends to pick up after the relatives have left and the last of the decorations have been packed away.

CEO and co-founder of the job-hunting website The Muse, Kathryn Minshew, spoke with Fusion’s Alicia Menendez about the best ways to land not just any job, but one you will actually enjoy.

1. How to search for a job

Think quality, not quantity, Minshew said. Instead of sending a generic resume to 50 companies, pick a few and take the time to put together a quality application. That means a cover letter specific to each company - they want to know why your skill set would be a good fit. Same goes for company culture - show them you’d be a good fit. It’s like dating, Minshew said. No one wants to be with a person who is looking for just anyone.

2. How to conduct yourself in an interview

Interviews can be intimidating, but you can tackle the nerves with prep work. Don’t give canned answers to questions, Minshew said. Have some background knowledge about the company and be ready to explain what you think you can add. Also ask questions. It’s a red flag for the interviewer if a potential hire says they don’t have any questions. The interview is also your chance to demonstrate that you’d be a good fit culture-wise at the company. Don’t wear a stiff suit to an interview at a tech startup. It’s a tough job market and many people are qualified for any given position, Minshew said, so the interview is your best chance to set yourself apart and show what unique skill set you have that makes you the best fit for the job.

3. The follow-up

Always, always follow up with an email less than 24 hours after the interview, Minshew said. It’s such an easy thing to do, yet so many people don’t take the time to do it. Sending an email - and taking time to craft one that is personalized and not generic - can really set you apart. If you think a handwritten note would go over well, Minshew said, send one. But always send that email. It doesn’t have to be super lengthy, but take the time to re-iterate why you’re excited about the position and lay out again why you think you’d be a perfect fit for the job.

Happy job hunting!

Emily DeRuy is a Washington, D.C.-based associate editor, covering education, reproductive rights, and inequality. A San Francisco native, she enjoys Giants baseball and misses Philz terribly.