If you’re like most overwhelmed job seekers I speak with, you’re feeling a bit, well, overwhelmed. In my experience overwhelm has a way of very quickly turning into failure to act (or lack of motivation) where the job search is concerned. If this sounds like you, don’t worry. It’s a normal feeling and one that’s easy to overcome. Here are some simple job search kickstarters to get your job search up and running.
1. Take a Bite-Sized Approach
There are so many parts to the job search and each requires a different approach or strategy. Start by breaking your job search down into bite-sized pieces. This is a great strategy especially if you’re feeling unmotivated/overwhelmed as a bite-sized job search will feel more manageable and help you experience small wins along the way (not to mention boost your confidence). Figure out where exactly you fall on the job search spectrum and maintain focus. For example if you haven’t received any interviews your focus will need to be on some aspect of the application process (networking, applying, revising your resume). Don’t spend time thinking about interviewing or salary negotiation at this point as it will be futile to the task at hand.
2. Get Focused on What You Want
It’s all about your target. What are you going after? Without this, watch out for endless job board roaming (yikes). When you actually do find what you want, you risk confusing the hiring manager with your lack of focus. They’ll want to know you are in it to win it ONLY with them. Spend some time getting focused on your target. If you’re at a loss for how to do this try some of the advice on this checklist for figuring out what you want to do in your next move (and career).
3. Get Clear on Who You Are
It’s all about your professional brand. Those in a position to hire must perceive you as the best person for their job – simple as that. If you’re hitting a wall when it comes to your professional brand, start here with this advice on branding basics. One way to know if it’s a branding issue is if you’re not hearing back from the online application process OR your network. It’s very likely that they just don’t know how to help you because you are not aligning your fit to your target.
4. Identify the Best Tools to Support Your Job Search
There are more tools than ever available to job seekers depending on the bite-sized part of the search they are focusing on. If it’s the online job search and finding jobs, try these job boards. I try to only recommend what’s necessary so you aren’t spending all your time in a job board.
One of the most powerful professional branding tools ever is Linkedin since most hiring managers will likely stumble upon your profile before they ask for your resume. If you know you are not optimized and need help, try this on for size. As a rule of thumb, you should be appearing in hiring manager searches and receiving connection requests from your target industry. If you aren’t, you’ll want to consider spending more time on profile optimization. You’ll also want to familiarize yourself with the other features/benefits available via Linkedin.
Another tool I’m loving is Jobscan. This tool is designed to scan your resume for keywords so you know how to optimize your resume for ATS systems (in case you find yourself being lost in the job board black hole). If you’re not sure about your resume keywords, I STRONGLY recommend you give Jobscan a try!
5. Contact Your Network
While the idea of networking may terrify you immensely, it still remains that your best chance of landing a job quick is through the people you know. This should be your entry point with every application if possible. Start by making a list of everyone you know and reach out accordingly based on the nature of the relationship. You don’t want to email blast your network but rather address each contact strategically. If you need more networking tips to feel comfortable, at least start by jotting down the names of your offline and online (Linkedin) contacts. This is a great first step in seeing the possibilities that exist even before you head to the job boards.
6. Put Care into Each Application
Knowing one’s self is the first part. Communicating it outwardly, and well, is the other half of the story. You need to be able to walk the walk and talk the talk especially where your first impression is at stake. Just having the best elevator pitch is not enough without the best resume (and vice versa). If you feel like you’re applying to hundreds of jobs without a response, you’re either going about the application process the wrong way OR you’re not branding yourself effectively in the application process. Take time to tailor your resume and cover letter and for goodness sake, try to find a contact to introduce you (because job boards and ATS’s are the worst route possible)! Here are several pointers that will help you start to really get strategic when tailoring!
7. Think Positive
It’s true. Lack of positivity is sometimes hard for us to detect in ourselves but easily detected by outsiders. You don’t want to even go down this road so you might want to spend some time recognizing your positivity pitfalls and then, putting into action a simple exercise that will give your mental game a boost.
By starting your job search with these 7 steps, you’ll start to feel more confident that you are taking the right actions towards landing a job.