How to get a job: your step-by-step road map to get hired

Welcome to the Employed Historian! Years ago I faced the same problem that every liberal arts graduate faces:

How do I get a job?

This road map breaks the vicious cycle of “no experience, no job.” It’s the process I wish I’d had in my time of need.

This one’s for you.

You can’t get a job because you have no experience, but you can’t get experience because you don’t have a job. It’s a classic cycle of hopelessness, and it kicked my butt for 9 months.

That’s why I created this road map. When I finally did break out of the unemployment cycle as a recent graduate, I talked to my various bosses about what worked and what didn’t. I put together a formal process of everything I did that worked and then added some things I should have done to improve my odds even further.

You still have to do the work. There’s no short cut there, but I promise that if you follow this road map diligently that you will become a much more promising candidate for employment than before you started.

Table of Contents

Step 1: How to write a professional resume.

Most people just dump a list of tasks into their resume and call it a day—even marketers and seasoned executives! Follow this step to turn your resume into a hard-hitting professional document that quantifies your achievements, setting you apart from every other graduate job seeker on paper.

Step 2: How to create a rockstar LinkedIn profile that gets noticed.

Every recruiter and hiring manager on the planet will check your LinkedIn profile before deciding to contact you, even if it’s near-identical to your resume. Follow these specific steps to create the most professional version of yourself online.

Step 3: Let recruiters and job boards bring opportunities to you.

Most active job seekers spend all of their time combing through online job boards. This step teaches you how to make them send opportunities to you instead. It also shows you where to find recruiters who will job search on your behalf (P.S. you don’t have to pay them!).

Step 4: How to find work experience when you have none.

Even the best resume and LinkedIn profile in the world aren’t substitutes for work experience. This step shows you how to pitch projects to organizations in need so that you can build legitimate work experience, turning yourself into a serious job candidate.

Step 5: How to make a professional portfolio website for yourself.

Most professionals out there don’t have a website to their name. That’s a mistake, even for senior executives. Set yourself apart from the rest of the crowd by showcasing your talent, your insights, and your sheer drive to succeed. People will notice.

Step 6:  Following a professional networking strategy to find jobs.

Networking gets a bad reputation because so many people focus on getting something out of it right away. Follow this strategy to win hearts and minds with every interaction you make. Yes, it also includes tips for introverts who don’t like social gatherings.

Step 7: Applying for jobs with the strategy that nobody told you.

The best candidates don’t just go through an application tracking system and then patiently wait to “hear back soon.” They go on the hunt for the hiring managers they need and strike up conversations, using their portfolios and networking tactics to win attention.

What you’ll learn in each step

Before you do anything, make sure that you’ve updated everything in your professional arsenal to reflect your skills, work experience, and project history. That includes the assets you’ve created for yourself so far.

Step 1: Writing a professional resume

Here you’ll learn how to make the best possible version of your resume with the skills and experience you have right now (we’ll build those two things in later steps). Here’s you’ll do in this step:

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Write a killer headline

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Make your best skills and experiences the centerpieces.

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Quantify your tasks to demonstrate real business value

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Use the free resume design template suggestions to stand out

Step 2: Creating a rockstar LinkedIn profile that gets noticed

Presentation is everything when you need to get your foot in the door. Ditch the profile saying “graduate looking for new experiences” and make something impressive. Here’s you’ll do in this step:

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Learn the best (and worst) uses for LinkedIn

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Get a professional photo (and strategies to barter for one)

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Make your job history stand out with data and media

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Collect skill endorsements and written recommendations

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Curate your profile to follow relevant people in your field

Step 3: Making recruiters andonline job boards bring opportunities to you

You don’t need to waste hours checking a dozen job boards every day. This step teaches you the strategy to have those job postings come to you through recruiters and setting up job boards correctly. Here’s what you’ll do in this step:

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Sign up with recruiters (no they don’t cost you money)

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Set up an optimized profile on Indeed

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Set specific settings and notifications on LinkedIn

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Find the specialized job boards relevant to you

Step 4: Finding and developing work experience that actually  gets you hired

With your resume and online presence set up properly, this step shifts your focus toward finding real, tangible work experience that you can use to become the competitive candidate you need to be. Here’s what you’ll do in this step:

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Identify the skills you need to develop

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Create a list of prospects who could use your assistance

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Approach those prospects with a professional process

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Get the experience without getting strung along

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Get endorsements and recommendations from projects

Step 5: Building a professional portfolio website to set yourself head and shoulders above the competition

After I broke out of the unemployment cycle, my boss told me that a big part of the reason he hired me was because I had a portfolio website. I was the only person out of 200 candidates who did. Here’s what you’ll do in this step:

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Choose your website platform from 3 options

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Create a resume page with visual flair

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Create a portfolio page to show off your experience

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Create a blog and three posts to showcase your insights

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Set up contact forms to make it professional and crisp

Step 6: Follow this professional networking strategy to infuse long-term success into your job search

People hate networking for two reasons: They’re introverts, or they feel that everyone else just attend networking events to serve themeselves. This step shows you how to turn both of those problems into advantages. Here’s what you’ll do in this road map:

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Get the real value out of networking

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Make business cards for yourself (they work)

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How to find new contacts systematically and repeatedly

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Become the facourite contact with high-value actions

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Learn how to handle yourself at networking events

Step 7: Applying for the jobs you want using the strategy that nobody told you about

Having banged my head against the brick wall know as “application tracking systems” for 9 months, I can tell you they applying through them is a fool’s errand. Here’s what you’ll do in this step to get around that:

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Network your way into your target organizations

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Write cover letters highlighting your unfair advantages

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Turn the first interview into a “business consultation”

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Create a presentation showing your vision for the role

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Turn the second interview into a pitch for your vision

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Negotiate proper compensation and accept the offer

Ready to find your next job?