By Alli Hoff Kosik

Brit+Co, January 8, 2018 —

A new year means a fresh start, and as you look to the months ahead, you can’t help but hope for a fresh start in your career, more specifically. Whether you’re anticipating your first-ever job search or hoping to make a shift in your already in-progress professional track, you have big plans job-wise.

The job market is always changing, and with it, the expectations that hiring managers have of hopeful applicants. In 2019, Greenhouse’s director of talent Cheryl Roubian expects that the market will remain competitive, especially for highly sought-after skill sets.

But fear not! There are things you can do to keep the odds on your side and to ensure that you’re making the best possible impression on interviewers, while also guaranteeing that you make the best decisions for yourself. Roubian offers five suggestions for a successful job search in 2019. “It isn’t especially new or flashy,” she says of her advice. “But few candidates do these things well, so it will set you apart if you can.”

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1. Go beyond a company’s website. Anyone can repeat back to an interviewer the passages that they’ve read on a company’s landing page, but you need to do more than that if you really want to make a splash. Search for articles that have been written about the company and study the profiles of its high-profile employees. The more you can understand about a potential employer’s competitors, challenges, and successes, the more comfortable you’ll be speaking candidly about them in an interview.

2. Do industry-wide research. In order to be successful in a new position, you need to learn about more than just a single company. In fact, you’ll be way better off if you can give yourself a primer on the industry as a whole. Take a deep dive into your Google search results so you can understand as much as possible about what it really takes to crush it in your industry of choice.

3. Make a plan to interview the interviewer. Consider the questions that may help you learn what you need and want to know about a company where you’re interviewing. If there are nonnegotiables that you’re looking for in a new employer — sustainability, benefits, culture, a compelling purpose — take time before an interview to figure out how to appropriately inquire about them. This kind of planning will ensure that you don’t get flustered when an interviewer asks you if you have any questions for them. “Ask those questions of every interviewer you meet in the process and look for patterns,” Roubian says. “If everyone is saying the same thing and you like what they’re saying, that’s probably a good sign. Good companies use this structured hiring process to interview you. Set yourself apart by using it on them!”

4. Read company reviews. Use sites like Glassdoor to get a sense of what it’s like to be an employee at your companies of interest. Roubian encourages you not to get caught up on a single review — good or bad — but to instead look at the overarching trends. If you’re confident about what it will be like to work at a certain company (especially if you think it will be great!), you’ll be more likely to put your best foot forward throughout the application process.

5. Reflect on the candidate experience. Don’t take for granted the extent to which the experience of applying for a job reflects on the experience of actually working in that job. If you feel icky as a candidate, it might be a red flag. “A company that can put together a meaningful candidate experience — where you learn about the company and they learn about you — is demonstrating that they invest in good people practices, which means they’ll invest in you,” Roubian says.