Looking for a new job can be a daunting process. You send in applications. You get rejected. You wonder if you’re too old, too young, not experienced enough, overqualified. The truth is if you’re doing all the right things it’s just a matter of time until you find the right job. Which is all very well but what can you do to make the process faster, easier and less painful in the meantime?
Here are my tips for staying motivated (and sane) while you’re job hunting:
1) Treat your job search like a full-time job
If you have nowhere to be it’s tempting to lounge around in your PJs for half the morning. But you will actually do yourself a huge favour if you treat your job search like a regular 9 to 5. That means paying attention to how you structure your day. Your routine is even more important now that you have none imposed on you. I recommend starting the day with some form of exercise, getting dressed (properly) and being at your computer by 9am. When you approach your job hunt with this attitude you will be way more productive and those inevitable knock backs are less likely to get you down. You’ll be too busy working your other leads.
2) Know what you want
This is a great opportunity to think through what you want from your next role especially if you have time on your hands. Which industries could benefit from your skills? What would make you happy? Treat this time as a gift, a chance to re-evaluate, recalibrate and make a new plan for your future. Take the opportunity to reflect, see a coach, take a class or get a mentor. Whatever you need to do, do it now. The more specific you can be about what you want the easier it will be for people to help you.
3) Get your documents in order
Your resume and cover letter should be tailored to each role you apply for, so give yourself plenty of time to rewrite your resume, create responses to selection criteria or perfect your cover letter. It’s the only thing hiring managers will have to go on when they make their shortlist. So do your research, use a professional looking template and if you’re still not sure you’ve nailed it, seek advice.
4) Ask for leads
Don’t be embarrassed about telling family and friends what’s going on for you. You don’t have to go into detail. Just be honest about your situation and let them know what kind of role you’re looking for. They might be able to help or introduce you to someone who can. When you get in touch with professional contacts give them an outline of your recent work history and ask if you can call them or meet for a coffee. Remember that people are busy so make it as easy as possible for them to say yes to your request.
5) Always follow up. But don’t take rejection personally
Most people will be happy to help out but remember that even with the best will in the world emails still fall through the cracks. You might need to follow up a couple of times before you get a response. And if people say no or never get back to you don’t take it personally. It’s unlikely to be about you.
6) Pay it forward
I know it’s hard to think about others when you have so much on your plate already. But helping people out can be a great tonic when you’re feeling down or under pressure. You will be reconnecting with your network in any event so if you can recommend someone on LinkedIn, volunteer or make a beneficial introduction, do it. Don’t be strategic with this. Your interactions should always be genuine. There’s a lot to be said for paying it forward.
Those are my tips for happy and successful job hunting.
What do you do to stay motivated during tough times?
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