Job hunting is exhausting, and usually tests the seeker's resolve.
Here are nine things every job seeker should do to maximise chances for success.
1. If possible, do some investigating while you're still employed
Waiting until you're unemployed adds an additional layer of stress to the job hunt. Do some research and make some inquiries while you're still employed. When speaking with colleagues or potential employers about your job search, be sure to mention that you'd like to keep things confidential, the last thing you want is for the word to get back to your employer before you've found your next job.
2. Build your personal brand
Instead of waiting around for the perfect job to surface, use your time to work on building your personal brand. This might include polishing up your image on social media, getting involved in online and offline professional groups and reaching out to other professionals in your field. While building your personal brand requires time and commitment, it's a strategy that can help you now and in the future.
3. Build your portfolio by taking on unpaid work
If the job hunt has moved beyond weeks and into months and you're able to swing it financially, taking on some volunteer work will help strengthen your resume. Taking on short-term unpaid gigs can give you additional experience in your chosen specialty and can increase your chances of being the perfect candidate for your dream job.
4. Perfect your resume
Professionally tailor your resume for each job you apply for. Take some time to complete your CV or portfolio to show your skills, education, and experience adequately. Write tailored cover letters for each position, explaining why you want the job and how you feel you can add value to the company.
5. Treat the job hunt as a full-time job
Taking a week or two off after losing your job is fine, but thinking of the job hunt as an extended vacation will also extend your unemployment. Treat the search as you would a 9-5 job and have a plan in place for how you're going to spend that time.
6. Take an online course to hone your skills
Whether you're looking for a job in a new field or just wanting to upgrade your current skillset, taking an online course can help your resume get noticed. Not only does it give you new skills, but it also shows that you're motivated and willing to do what it takes to better yourself and get the right job.
7. Get off your computer and get out there
In the past, looking for work often meant handing out dozens of CVs and then waiting for a call. Today, much of the job hunt is done on the computer via job boards, social media and email. Resist the temptation to spend all your time online and get out there and network. Call up old coworkers for coffee, attend networking groups and go to industry conferences. You never know what these meetings could lead to, and getting out helps keep you connected.
8. Let your network know you're looking for work
Employers are looking for people they know and trust and are increasingly relying on personal recommendations from colleagues and employees. As a job seeker, the advantage to you is that the competition may be less fierce. However, it also means you need to be putting yourself out there, so your network knows exactly what type of work you're looking for.
9. Get on LinkedIn
Employers are increasingly using internet searches to vet potential employees. Unless you have your own website, your LinkedIn profile is likely going to be at the top of the search results for your name. Spend some time making sure your profile is complete and accurately shows your skills and experience. Ask your connections to endorse you and to give you personal and professional recommendations.
Having a strategy in place during your job search can not only keep you driven but can increase your chances of finding the perfect job.
Looking for work can be stressful and tiring. Handing out resumes and making cold calls can be hard on your self-confidence but being strategic about your job hunt can revitalise you and give you the motivation to keep going.