A 'smart' approach to your job search
There’s no doubt about it, searching for a new job is time-consuming. If you’re unemployed, it becomes your full-time job, and if you are already in employment, it’s like having a second job. Keeping focused and maintaining a positive mindset are no doubt the keys to success however, when you are on one big emotional rollercoaster, it’s far easier said than achieved.
Despite the ‘highs and lows’ of job seeking fortunately, there are some strategies you can adopt that will help you to be more productive and successful in your job search. With the right planning, you can maximise your efforts to achieve the most out of your time set aside for job searching. Let’s look at how.
Be clear on what you have to offer.
Before you are tempted to hop on line and start searching for your new job, STOP! There is some vital preparation you need to do first if you want to make the best use of your time.
As recruiting behaviours continue to evolve, there is more to getting hired now than just qualifications and previous experience. You need to understand your worth and what you have to offer. By reflecting on your accomplishments, your skills and strengths and what drives you, will help you to eliminate the extraneous and enable you to speak simply to your target employer, letting them know how you can help them and what value you bring.
Spend your time on the jobs that are right for you.
Don’t fall in the trap of applying for as many jobs as possible. You will receive more rejections if you do and this will play havoc with your mindset. Always aim for quality over quantity and spend your time making each application count. This will allow you the time to research the jobs and companies that truly interest you so that you can tailor your application to each job you apply for.
Create your job search materials in advance
When you feel under pressure to apply for a job within a short time window you may not present the best version of you. Instead, be proactive and create some ‘core’ job seeking materials that can be quickly tailored to each job you apply for. Depending on the type of position(s) you are looking for, create several versions of your CV and make them specific to different jobs you are interested in, similarly do the same with your cover letters too.
Prioritise your job search time.
Many job seekers grab time whenever and wherever. Instead, review your weekly schedule and allocate your job seeking time and stick to it. This way, you can plan in other activities that will keep your mind positive such as exercise, having coffee with a friend or spending time with your family.
You may also find it helpful to allocate different activities to the time you have set aside, for example; the beginning of the week can be spent job searching, the middle of the week you can research and follow companies you are interested in working for on-line and on social media, whilst the end of the week can be used for follow-ups.
Keep a record of all your activities.
There is nothing more frustrating for an employer or recruiter than contacting a job seeker who can’t recall the job they applied for. So, create a spreadsheet to record all the jobs that you have applied to (name of the company, date of application, name of hirer and date you wish to follow up). I would also advise keeping a separate spreadsheet of the network contacts you have engaged with so that you can follow up with them too.
Use technology to find jobs for you.
Many job sites offer you free alerts via email or text when a new job has been posted that matches your requirements. Research the best job sites for your preferred industry and set up your searches so they automatically notify you.
Finally, remember to pause, reflect and learn. If a part of your job seeking isn’t working, don’t waste time by continuing doing it, instead adapt your approach to ensure you are spending your valuable time on the right activities that will make you a more productive job seeker and a better applicant.