By Alex Freund, Career Coach and Interview Expert
These job search tips should be understood as recommendations. Please also keep in mind that job search by someone who is employed differs significantly from job search by someone who is unemployed. The latter, typically, is more motivated, can devote more time to the job search, and does not need to be covert about his actions. This article focuses primarily on job seekers who are currently unemployed.
1) Know Yourself
Don’t jump on the job search bandwagon before you know where you’re heading. Look at the job search like a journey. Where do you want this journey to take you? To another dead-end job or to a job that will fulfill you?
The first step in the job search process is to reflect on the person that you are and the person that you would like to become. In what kind of environment do you thrive? What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? What motivates you? Where do you want to be in five years?
Reach higher. If in your mind you don’t aim higher, you will never be where you want to be.
2) Be Focused on What You Are Looking For
When looking for a job, you should think like a shopper and not like a victim. A smart car buyer, even before walking into the car dealership, knows what car he wants, including the model, the specifications, the color, and the amount he wants to spend. Similarly, a job seeker should narrow down choices not only by title but also by what the job function entails. A job seeker can look for more than one specific job at the same time but still remain specific.
3) Take Care of Yourself
Finding the right job in today’s job market is not only challenging but may also take longer than expected. Not having a source of income can be hard on you from many standpoints. Don’t isolate yourself. Keep your spirits up. How can you project a positive image when you are feeling down?
4) Continuously Build Relationships
Sixty to 80 percent of people get their jobs through networking. The practical side of networking consists of developing relationships with people for advice, information, leads, and, hopefully, referrals. The best networkers think of the other person first. They don’t keep score regarding who owes whom, and they believe that good deeds will be reciprocated.
Most people don’t like to network. It can be intimidating asking for help. The trick is not to look at networking as asking for help. Look at networking as getting to know the other person. As you get to know the other person, the other person gets to know you and so on. Don’t be afraid to engage others.
5) Leverage Social Media
Today’s job seekers who avoid opportunities to use social media are less competitive. Employers use social media to find potential employees. Therefore, this new medium should be embraced. LinkedIn is the tool most widely used by recruiters, but Twitter, Facebook and Google+ also provide good opportunities.
6) Utilize Your Time and Energy Effectively
Many job seekers become frustrated very quickly into the process because they have no road map to follow. They keep active, driven by nervous energy, but almost all the time come up empty-handed because their process is inefficient. It works best to divide time and activities into three parts: one-third should be devoted to networking and building relationships; another third, to searching and applying for jobs; and another third, to learning about target companies and the companies’ specific needs, including culture and fit.
Looking for a job is a full-time commitment. Because nobody will be looking over your shoulders, you have to be more disciplined. Do what needs to be done. Don’t let your mind trick you into wishful thinking.
7) Develop Good Administrative Skills and Use the Right Job Search Tools
During a prolonged job search, one needs to keep good records in order to stay on top of things. Sloppy record keeping during the transition leads to further frustrations and inefficiencies. Leverage technology to your advantage. For example, use Indeed, LinkUp, and Simply Hired to access targeted leads.
8) Make Sure You Have a Top-Notch Resume and Cover Letter
It is critically important that your resume and cover letter promote you in the best light possible. If you submit a poorly-written resume, you may miss opportunities that would have opened-up to you and unduly lengthen your job search. One of the most painful mistakes the majority of job seekers make is to write their own résumés—even if those résumés have been edited by a trusted friend. Writing résumés nowadays needs not only the technical know-how to embed the right keywords in a résumé but also the talent to make the document exceptionally good.
Regarding the cover letter, don’t dismiss it too soon. If well-written, it can make the difference between landing an interview or not, even if your resume is otherwise weak.
9) Practice Mock Interviewing
How good is it to be invited for an interview but not ace it? Don’t rely on your past practices for getting a job. Today’s job market is more competitive than ever, and without practicing interviewing, one has virtually no chance to compete.
10) Follow Up and Be Persistent
A salesperson makes seven calls before finalizing a sale. Kids go to the other parent when they hear the word no. If you’re not offered the job, try to find out what went wrong, and fix it. Rejection is part of the job search process. Don’t let it get to you. Instead, learn from each experience. To paraphrase Einstein, don’t perpetuate your failures by expecting different results without making changes.
by Alex Freund