Are you an obvious fit for the job? How are you going with your job search? Any success yet? Have several months passed by since you lost your last gig? I suggest that you do the following to get a job.
So are you feeling a bit exhausted from the job search and a few fruitless interviews, and on top of that, there is the worry about the potential worsening job market? Don’t panic and don’t stress out about all that info. Let me help you. Let’s boil things down to a short list of sound, timeless job searching tips that’ll help you fine-tune your strategy so that you may sail through the process (or at least cut out some of the unnecessary time and frustration).
#1 Schedule Your Day and Stick to It!
Just because the 9-to-5 lifestyle isn’t currently your thing, doesn’t mean you can’t pretend that it is. Get up at a reasonable hour each morning and, as tempting as it is to run through the day in comfy PJs, shower and dress yourself in something less casual (jeans?) to trick your brain into thinking that it’s time to get down to business.
My Tip: Because I know just how tough it can be to resist Game of Thrones reruns and your friends’ latest Facebook posts, do your best to keep the TV and your Facebook turned off. Decide on an appropriate start and stop time for the day, jot down a list of goals (i.e. follow up with three companies and send resume to that cool art start-up) and structure your day. Having a to-do list and sticking to it will make you feel like you’re making good progress and keeping forward momentum and a positive attitude throughout the job hunt.
#2 Turn Yourself into an “Obvious Fit”
When you apply for jobs via an online application process, it’s very likely that your resume will first be screened by an applicant tracking system and then (assuming you make this first cut) move onto a real set of human eyeballs. And here is the bad news guys, the eyeballs that review your resume are often those of a lower level HR person or recruiter, who may or may not understand all of the nuances of that job you’re applying for.
Thus, it is your duty to make it very simple for both the computer and the human to quickly connect their “Here’s what we’re looking for” to your “Here’s what can walk through your door and deliver.”
My Tip: Study the job description and any available information you have on the position. Are you effectively mirroring the words and phrases in the job description? Are you showcasing your strengths in the areas that seem to be of paramount importance to this role? Line it up. Line it up.
#3 Keep Your Mind Busy with GOOD STUFF
OK, so you’ve checked off all of your to-dos for the day. Rather than bang your head on your keyboard and fret over why no one is emailing you back, why not channel all of that nervous energy into learning something new?
My Tip: Keep browsing blogs to keep up with the latest news in your industry, and maybe consider teaching yourself how to code (General Assembly is a personal favourite), take that fun art class you’ve always meant to, or master another language. Whatever your inclination, this acquired skill will keep your mind active and prove to interviewers that sleeping and nibbling on junk food aren’t the only activities that the unemployed you is capable of. You might even discover a new career interest in the process.
#4 There is More Out There than just Online Applications
You want that job search to last and last? Well, then continue to rely solely on submitting online applications. If you want to accelerate the gig, do this. Don’t stop once you apply online for that position. Start finding and then endearing yourself to people working at that company of interest. Schedule informational interviews with would-be peers. Approach an internal recruiter and ask a few questions. Get on the radar of the very people who might influence you getting an interview.
My Tip: By lining up people on the inside of the companies at which you want to work, you will instantly set yourself apart. Decision makers like to interview people who come recommended or by way of a personal referral before they start sorting through the blob of resumes that arrives by way of the ATS.
#5 Keep Your Body and Soul in Shape
During this challenging time, it can be easy to hang around, flaked out on the sofa, shoulders slumped over your MacBook as you tirelessly troll the job boards for leads.
My Tip: Before your failing posture gives Quasimodo a run for his money, slip on your sneakers for some exercise. An invigorating jog around the park, a swim or a relaxing yoga session can be a welcome escape and help to revive your spirit. Emotional eating and drinking are other common enemies of the unemployed job seeker. Instead, try to sip more H2O and keep healthier munchie food on hand to appease you when the searching stress mounts and your urge to graze strikes.
#6 Remember -Your Resume (and LinkedIn Profile) Is Not a Birthmark
Yes, your new resume is cool and your LinkedIn profile is stunning. However, if they don’t note you as a great match for a particular role that you’re pitching for, don’t be afraid to modify wording, switch around key terms, and swap bullet points in and out. Your resume is not a birthmark, nor is your LinkedIn profile. Treat them as living, breathing DNA throughout your job search (and career).
My Tip: It is best that you treat yourself as if you are a covert job seeker. Remember to turn off your activity broadcasts (within privacy and settings) when you make edits to your LinkedIn profile. If your former managers or colleagues are connected to you on LinkedIn, they may get annoyed about all the frequent changes.
#7 Lastly …. Remember, You’re Not Alone!!
While you don’t want to overburden people with your troubles, don’t forget that your family and friends are there for you when you need them. Don’t hesitate to pick up the phone — a soothing call with someone you love and trust can do wonders for your current mood or situation.
My Tip: In this challenging new period of your life, also take solace in the fact that there are plenty of others out there just like you who are looking for a shoulder to lean on. Try consulting an online job seekers’ forums for a dose of anonymous support, or perhaps join a group in your city targeted at fellow job seekers. A meet-up called “JobScouts” is one great resource and has been a welcome diversion during some of our clients’ arduous search times.
Now that you’ve gained a new perspective and are ready to show those recruiters what you’ve got, focus, get active and remember to hunt wisely!