Go out and do a Google search on how to conduct job searches, and you’ll come up with literally a billion different articles and pieces of advice… with a lot of the ideas out there contradicting each other. One person says, “Do it this way” and then the next person has a different take on what you need to do.
Is it any wonder job seekers are so darned frustrated?
It’s sort of like the dog running around in circles chasing its tail, isn’t it? Round and round and round, and it seems like no matter what, there you are back at square one again after yet another application-interview-rejection cycle.
But the truth is that the real secret “sauce” to a successful job search usually is so close to us that it is like we literally can’t see our hand in front of our face.
It boils down to some simple, solid strategies:
1) Be nice to everyone. “Nice guys finish last” doesn’t jive with me. If you are kind, thoughtful, caring, and supportive – people remember that as your personal brand. We are, in essence, more motivated to do things to help others who treated us well, while we are less inclined to even give people (who burned us previously) the time of day.
2) Have a polished, targeted, accomplishments-driven résumé. If you cannot own your accomplishments and demonstrate value to a prospective employer, how on earth do you expect to convince them to hire you?
3) Don’t hide behind your computer… NETWORK. One of my clients emailed me a few months ago with an accusatory note, saying that she had emailed her résumé to no less than 64 different job openings, but hadn’t heard anything back. I then asked her: “How many did you contact personally or network with? “Zero” came the answer. Unfortunately, hitting “send” 64 times isn’t going to do it, especially in this job market where everyone else is out there pulling strings, making contacts, and cultivating powerful referral networks. An excellent résumé is important, yes, but if you don’t have anyone interested in receiving it, you obviously are missing the critical component of a job search.
3) Never, EVER, give up hope. Believe in yourself. Remember, you are driving this bus… and while the job search can be incredibly defeating when you get rejection after rejection, but once you give up hope in yourself, all is lost. Sure, you have have the occasional pity party, but then you need to grit your teeth and get back on that horse again. Keeping the job search in action is the only way you’ll have a chance of snaring something.
4) Volunteer… it changes you. As a bridging activity, volunteering can help you keep your finger on the pulse of your industry, or be a way to springboard into a new field. But most importantly, the physiological impact of giving of yourself to help others has an entirely different effect: you get a jolt of endorphin (the feel-good hormone). Which is precisely what you need to keep your spirits up. So not only are you adding skills, experience, and knowledge, but you are making a difference too. Plus, you are building your network and creating an opportunity to make yourself a known quantity to perhaps your next, future employer!
5) Manage your personal brand… every… single… day. I love this quote (author unknown) – think about it:
Watch your thoughts; they become your words.
Watch your words, they become your actions.
Watch your actions; they become your habits.
Watch your habits, they become your character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.
Keep the faith; never give up, and remember that your biggest recipe for job search success boils down to having a focused job search, polished résumé, and networking, networking, and networking. And having patience.