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12 Job Search Strategies to Find Your Next Role in HR, TA, or Recruitment

Use these tried and tested job search strategies to find your new HR position.

Jodie Sandell PHR and SHRM-CP
Consultant, project manager, writer, and process improver with over 15 years of HRM experience
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Are you looking for your next HR, recruitment, or PeopleOps role? Your job-seeking strategies need to be aligned with the current hiring environment.

Consider how hiring managers and recruiters are searching for you as a candidate. What are they looking for? What tool are they using? Applicant tracking software and candidate sourcing tools are more prevalent in the recruiting process each year, making how you present yourself online an integral part of your job hunt.

Does your LinkedIn profile illustrate your skills and experience? Do you have referrals listed to tout your talents? Do you have other public profiles that may reveal a less-than-professional side?

This article outlines the top 12 job-hunting strategies to master the modern labor market and practical steps to improve your employability.

In This Article

1. Learn a New Skill

A profile or resume with recent coursework or skill mastering shows you are a lifelong learner. The ability to acquire and adapt knowledge is a skill unto itself. It shows you may be more easily trained than another candidate. A newly hired employee excited to absorb new information, learn new systems, and adopt new language is gold.

There are loads of classes and courses out there - both online and in-person. Deciding which skill to learn might be difficult.

Find and review the ads for job titles that interest you most. What do those positions require of their ideal candidate? If you don’t have these skills, it’s time to learn them and update your profile and resume.

Consider taking an online course with LinkedIn’s “in Learning” program. Improve your Excel skills, learn to communicate more effectively, or develop critical thinking skills. If HR skills are specifically what you’re after, check out the Human Capital Institute.

Engaging with a live class at the local community college can also benefit your job search. Learning with others will enhance your experience and introduce you to people with similar interests. Network with your fellow students. They could connect you to information or contacts that lead to your next position.

No matter where you learn, post your newly acquired skills so recruiters can see it. This will help build your personal brand. With additional skills, you may appear in new or different passive recruiting searches.

2. Network Regularly

Meeting people, sharing stories, and learning from their work experiences can ignite your job search and uncover job opportunities.

Networking get-togethers often provide opportunities to conduct informational interviews.

Informational interviews are a potent networking strategy for gaining insights into career trajectories and fostering potential connections with employers. While such interviews could potentially culminate in job opportunities, their primary objective is to glean knowledge about the individual's organization, their role there, and their professional journey.

Networking also gives you a chance to practice your communication skills. Are you actively listening by making eye contact and asking questions? Are you clear and concise about your experience and interests? Consider delivering your 30-second elevator pitch in this low-stakes environment and asking for feedback.

Learning from those in your industry is a great place to start. For instance, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) hosts international conferences. It also boasts local chapters where members can support each other more frequently through networking and events.

Don’t hesitate to also engage with networking events outside of HR. You will get something entirely different from networking with non-HR folks. You will hear about people’s experiences with HR. This could influence the role you want to seek or even how to answer interview questions. Additionally, most companies have an HR department. Perhaps they are hiring.

To find more opportunities to network in your area, check out meetup.com or eventbrite.com.

Two PeopleOps professionals building connections at a networking event.

3. Get Certified

If you want more job opportunities, more offers, and more pay when you accept your dream job in HR, get certified. Many companies and positions do not require HR certifications. However, this accomplishment may be what separates you from the pack. It shows you are dedicated to the profession and committed to lifelong learning.

There are two organizations with internationally recognized certifications in Human Resources.

The Human Resource Standard Institute (HRCI) has eight different types of certifications. One more commonly held is the Professional in Human Resources® (PHR®) certification.

HRCI purports that “Earning the PHR demonstrates your technical and operational knowledge of HR management, including U.S. laws and regulations. The PHR is for the HR professional with experience in implementing programs with tactical/logistical orientation.”

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) offers two certifications. The SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) credential is for individuals who perform general HR and HR-related duties at work or for those pursuing a career in Human Resource Management.

The Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) is for those more advanced in their HR careers.

4. Build Your Personal Brand

Your personal brand is what you project to others. It is the values you openly embody and the persona that defines you. Building your brand is about aligning who you are in real life and who you are online. It allows people to learn about you and know you.

Recruiters and hiring managers will use social media screening to learn more about you, especially if they are interested in interviewing or hiring you. Consider what they will look for and find. Do you display professionalism? Do your values align with their organization’s values? Have you recently shared a new skill or certification? What strengths are showcased in your profile that could benefit them?

Make a point of including keywords relevant to your industry and skills in your profiles. Candidate sourcing software picks up on these keywords, increasing your visibility and odds for passive recruitment.

5. Use Job Search Tools

There are several websites designed to support your job hunt. Create a profile on job sites like LinkedIn, Indeed, and Glassdoor.

Keep your profile updated with new skills, comments on your connections’ posts, or blogs about a professional event you attended. Keep your information fresh and use keywords you find in jobs for which you’d like to be considered. Recruiters and hiring managers can more easily find your profile to match vacancies for which you may be qualified if you include relevant search terms.

Job sites also allow you to apply quickly and easily for their posted positions. Maximize your chances for response by making an applicant tracking system (ATS) friendly resume.

6. Use a Headhunter or Placement Agency

A headhunter or placement agency may have job market insight you don’t have. Leveraging their experience and connections will maximize your chances of getting a job interview.

Placement services have extensive networks with various employers and industries, which provides access to job opportunities that may not be publicly advertised.

These professionals typically assess candidates' skills, experiences, and career goals to match them with suitable job openings. Their personalized approach increases the likelihood of finding a position that aligns with your qualifications and aspirations.

They can also offer guidance and support throughout the job search process, including resume writing, interview preparation, and negotiation assistance.

7. Attend Job Fairs and Professional Association Events

Job fairs provide opportunities to meet hiring managers and recruiters in person. You may not be interested in any of the jobs advertised at the fair. However, you can benefit from making new connections and informational interviewing.

Professional association events can offer similar opportunities and connections. Learn more about your industry and meet potential employers and colleagues. Practice talking about your career goals. Ask questions you might not ask in a formal interview. What does your new connection think about their company culture or industry challenges? What does career growth generally look like in your chosen field?

With a rehearsed elevator speech, you can also market yourself. The right job may not be available at the time of the event. But with more connections and information, each event will get you closer to finding your dream job.

8. Stay Organized

Job searches can be long, extensive, and complicated. The application process is no less arduous. Remembering which position at which company you applied to will be more challenging the longer your search lasts. Plus, you must keep tabs on each application’s current status, the contact name you communicated with, and application follow-up tasks and deadlines.

Staying organized is crucial to a successful job search. Setting up a spreadsheet to track your search and applications may feel like another job, but avoiding mixing up names or position titles will make it worthwhile. With a tracking system and calendar, you can also ensure you submit requested skills tests or writing assignments on time.

Setting up a system for keeping tabs on your applications will also save you time and embarrassment. Following up on a position you were already rejected from serves no one.

9. Tailor Your Search, Cover Letter, and Resume

Setting up keywords on a job search site like indeed.com can benefit your job hunt. But be mindful that you will receive irrelevant job opportunities to review if your keywords are too broad.

Research the position titles in which you are interested. Are there variations you can exclude from your search? Can you set up more than one search to capture unique language that, if found in a job, would appeal to you?

Take the extra time to tailor your cover letter, resume, and application for each role. Review the job ad. What is the employer looking for specifically? Where can you use their words to describe who you are and why you are the right candidate for the position?

While AI tools can be beneficial for writing a compelling cover letter, use them cautiously. The first draft will be too generic to submit to an employer. Use it as a starting point to add details about yourself, your achievements in past roles, and the value you can bring to the job.

An HR professional interviewing for a job via a virtual interview.

10. Prepare for Interviews

The goal of your job search is to procure a job interview. Ultimately, you hope the interview leads to a job offer for your dream job.

Enhance your chances of success by preparing for your interviews. Once a hiring manager reviews your resume and contacts you, there might be little time to prepare.

Prepare for your job interview by reviewing the job description. Think about why you applied. Why are you interested in this specific job? What makes you the best candidate? Do you have all of the qualifications requested? List additional skills or traits that make you a perfect match.

Research the industry and company. What do you know about its culture and its history? What employer feedback can you gather from sites like Glassdoor? What questions will you ask to determine if the organization is the right match for you?

Finally, ensure your logistics are locked down. Is your interview outfit ironed? Do you have a briefcase or folio with a printed resume and cover letter? Is your transportation confirmed? Have you locked down childcare? Have you cleared your schedule for extra travel time or for the interview to run long? Double-check that your internet connection and hardware work well if it's a virtual interview.

11. Follow Up

Follow up on everything. Follow up on submitted applications. Follow up on newly made connections. Follow up on social media comments or posts. Follow up on all interviews.

Following up shows your interest. If someone you met at a professional networking event posts an article, read it. Show interest in your new connection by commenting on their post or asking questions about it.

If you’ve just interviewed, follow up about the opportunity. Customize your communication. Include the specific job title and what interests you the most. Connect your qualifications and skills to the position. Connect your values to those of the organization. Offer or include references.

12. Don’t Give Up

Michael Jordan famously said, “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

Job hunting is not for the faint of heart. It can be demoralizing, discouraging, and demanding. Job searching can feel like having a second full-time job on top of your current job.

But what warrants more effort than finding the position where you’ll spend a quarter of your week?


Your actions and efforts in finding a new position make a difference, but resources are not unlimited. Focusing your time and energy efficiently during a job search is essential. Enhance your chance for success by using the strategies outlined above. All 12 may not work for all situations. This is why having a diverse toolkit of job search strategies is so important.

Jodie Sandell PHR and SHRM-CP
Consultant, project manager, writer, and process improver with over 15 years of HRM experience
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Jodie Sandell holds a BA in Sociology from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, a paralegal certificate and both PHR and SHRM-CP certifications. She has spent most of her career working in legal, education, and HR - writing, managing projects, and improving processes. 

She recently founded All In Project Services LLC to pursue her passion for this work. In her free time, Jodie can be found reading, hiking, paddling or traveling with her family.

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