Job searching is a full time job and can be easier said than done. There is more to it than updating your resume and cover letter or your LinkedIn profile. There are plenty of things you need to know and think about before you embark on your job search, so I suggest that you prepare yourself to kick-start your engines.
Every candidate is unique and everyone comes from a different starting position and the job search road in Australia and New Zealand is different to job searching in the rest of the world, so it helps to review the roadblocks, potential turns and diversions to manoeuvre through it all with success.
If you are aware of what needs to be done rather than just jumping into the normal recruitment processes, finding a new job becomes far less of a battle. Here are some points outlining what you need to understand before you commence your job search.
- Don’t Panic! I know, it’s easier said than done, especially when you have commitments, family and other worries, but remember that hiring managers need to see the benefit of you as an employee and knee-jerk panic reactions will not help. Panic usually leads you to bad choices and frustration and possibly even another poor job choice. Try to be patient and measured and seek professional advice when you get stuck, or discuss your situation and job seeking plan with someone you trust. This may mean that you have to stay where you are for longer (if you are currently employed and looking for a career change).
- Pause – then Go Like Hell! Job searching and all that comes with it constantly changes. The recruiting processes and, unfortunately, many of the people involved don’t care as much about you as a person as they used to. So, prepare yourself for a rocky, lonely and impersonal road which is often characterised by many automated processes, unqualified recruiting contacts and poor communication. Recognise what it is you have to do to be smart in your pursuit for a better or new job. The job market is not going to get better. All forecasts in most major news and media publications are predicting bleaker times ahead. So, once you are ready, don’t look back – GO LIKE HELL!
- Get ready – be ready – go! Only proceed to each stage when you’re really ready to go and don’t under-sell yourself. Sometimes you only have one opportunity for a conversation; one opportunity to influence somebody important and you don’t want to be anything but really ready for that. Don’t decline genuine networking invitations. The best jobs often come from the ‘Hidden Job Market’.
- Get an update on the current employment market. Guaranteed permanent employment is becoming a thing of the past and even finding long term contracting work (6+ months) is also no longer quite so simple. The labour market has changed dramatically as globalisation, crowdsourcing, re-structuring, cost cutting and all the rest of the boardroom buzz has allowed a new distribution of labour to be undertaken all over the world. The employers have far more choices around how they find new employees, how they use them and how much they have to pay.
- 5. Evaluate your finances. If you’re currently searching for a job or are about to start looking for a job, immediately look at your finances to see where you can cut costs and expenses. Register for unemployment if you have lost your job and obtain access to support services as soon as possible. Don’t let false pride or the perceptions and opinions of others hold you back. You have paid into the system and it is there for a reason. You need it – you use it. There are many benefits, such as insurance and advice, Newstart Allowance, and much more. Don’t let pride and a concern of the opinions of others hold you back.
- Do Your Profiling Work. Make sure your personal brand and your various profiling documents, such as your resume and cover letter (if requested), are up to date and up to scratch and then push them out into the market. Don’t be a spam profiler! In other words, don’t do applications by numbers. You will not improve your situation if you spam email your resume out to recruiters or hiring managers.
- Create goals that you review daily; Carpe diem. Make use of the day and make the time count when it comes to finding the right job. Make a specific to-do or checklist each day to make sure your job search is productive. Set goals and seek assistance if you struggle with the search or the job search routine.
- Think of your job search like a job. Finding the right job requires the same commitment as one would commit to a full-time job. And while you’re busy, see if you can work on some self-improvement. Particularly if you are currently unemployed, consider dedicating time during your job search to acquire new skills and to improve your candidacy. Make good use of your time.
- Don’t depend on recruiters. I know, they are everywhere and it is tempting to use recruitment agencies or head-hunters, but you can’t rely on them to simply magic up a job for you. Use them as an alternative, but don’t spend too much time on recruiters. Your CV is just one of many hundreds to them. Given that they have so many candidates to choose from and given that many of them are hooked on LinkedIn and other electronic platforms instead of genuine candidate matching, you cannot depend on this as your only route to finding a new career.
- Get specific. You need to be specific about what you’re searching for. When you’re specific you will be more specific and have greater success .You will need to establish the link between how specific you are about what you want and how successful you are in finding it. You can target the sector, segment, specific companies and specific people you want. Try to focus on your targets in the before-mentioned order – think of it as a job search funnel.
- Network. Most jobs are placed in the ‘Hidden Job Market’. The key to the jobs in the Hidden Job Market is networking. Understand who in your network could be or will be helpful. Understand who you’ll need help from. This will help you in your job search downstream when you work through your job search funnel. But, and this is important, try to network to build relationships, not to find a job. Networking is about building relationships with people who can connect you with other people and through this process, connecting to someone who can help you find a job.
- Stay positive. Interviewers can read negativity pretty quickly, and nobody wants to hire a negative person. Also, negativity can also have a massively detrimental impact on your job search, your relationships and your general well-being. So, think about what helps you to feel positive and incorporate some of that in your daily or weekly routine, whether it be regular exercise (highly recommended!), getting together with friends, having a tasty meal, joining a social or sporting club, …. It doesn’t matter as long as it helps you to stay positive.
Try to follow some of these tips and you will be a more confident job seeker with more focus, less frustration and less wasted time. And remember to hunt wisely!