When you’re hunting for a job, there are so many factors outside of your control that it can make the process feel stressful and overwhelming. But there are plenty of factors you can manage too. So if you’ve been searching without much success, it could be time to take control! Here are six ways you can do it.
- Get some perspective – It’s tough out there. Being turned down numerous times can be discouraging. But sometimes we get caught in a negative mindset when things aren’t actually as bad as we think. Try bringing a fresh perspective to your job search. Recognise that it’s a process that takes time and commitment, and set some realistic expectations about the work involved. Give yourself a decent period of concerted effort before you even think about feeling disheartened.
- Be over-prepared – You can’t control your competition but you can control your own performance. That means presenting an application that responds to all the requirements of the role, and being as prepared as possible in an interview. Get clear on what you offer and where your strengths lie, and be prepared to talk confidently about yourself and your achievements. Make an effort to understand the company and/or the industry to understand and articulate how you might be able to solve a challenge or contribute to the company’s success.
- Be clear about your value – Recruiters are time-poor so make it easy for them to see your value. Review the job ad and ensure your application ‘matches’ what they are searching for. Sometimes companies rely on an applicant tracking system to filter applications. Other times, a less experienced team member might complete a first review. This means you need to be very specific about your experience and capabilities, using keywords such as exact titles and important words and phrases used in the job ad.
- Demonstrate success – Past performance is a clear indicator of future success. Detail previous accomplishments to show employers what you might be capable of in a new role. This is important in your application (including your cover letter, resume and any selection criteria response), but also in an interview. Come armed with stories about your successes that you think the employer will relate to and that align with the organisation’s goals.
- Access the hidden job market – Many jobs are never advertised; instead they’re found on what we call the ‘hidden job market’. Word of mouth is your way in, so get networking with people in your industry, connect with appropriate recruiters, join relevant LinkedIn Groups and keep building and using your LinkedIn profile. Develop a standard pitch about why you want to connect and what you can offer, then set up meetings with potential recruiters or introducers to discuss opportunities. Think about companies you’d like to work for, then read their online careers page and follow them on social media. Let your network know you are seeking new opportunities. There are many ways to connect with your network so use them all: phone calls, emails, Facebook, LinkedIn, professional association seminars, and in-person and online networking groups.
- Be realistic – Be honest about what you can realistically offer a new employer. It’s tempting to apply for more senior or challenging roles, which is great (it’s important to expand our potential!), but make sure that what you’re applying for is attainable. If you’re not hearing back from companies you’ve applied to, put yourself in the employer’s position. What do you look like on paper? You may believe you have what it takes, but if you can’t demonstrate that, you might lose out to another candidate who already has the relevant experience.
Today’s job market is competitive and the job search process can feel daunting. But that doesn’t mean you can’t achieve success. If you’ve been feeling discouraged about your job search, it might be time to take back control!
A customised job search strategy and a tailored, professionally prepared application can make a huge difference to your job search. Need some help? Take a look at our Job Search Coaching Services and Resume Writing Services.