Have days, weeks, or months gone by and you're still plugging away on Google wondering how to find a job or next big career move? An intensely competitive job market, uncertain economic implications, varying industry conditions, and many other factors can easily create a lengthy job search – but don’t fret! Most sources say that the average job search process can take anywhere from two to six months, or longer. In fact, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics average duration of unemployment as of January 2017 was roughly 5.9 months.
It could be a long road job seekers, but you’re not alone. It takes time to find and secure a job – staying patient, optimistic, and confident is key. Here are a few job search tips and best practices for staying motivated through your job hunt.
First and foremost, don’t let frustrations bring you down! That may be easier said than done, but having a pessimistic outlook while job searching isn’t going to speed up the process. If you continue to tell yourself that you’ll “never find a job,” you might just prove yourself right. As a matter of fact, you may subconsciously disregard possible opportunities due to negativity blocking out your ability to assess the potential benefits. Keep an open mind, and know that you CAN do this.
The competition is fierce, so you need to be too! Commit to your job hunt and treat it as your full-time job. Setting a schedule and establishing goals will help keep you on track and give you a sense of accomplishment. Glassdoor found that on average, each corporate job opening attracts 250 resumes, so you need to develop a competitive strategy. Actively monitor job boards, connect with prospective companies on LinkedIn, attend relevant events, network with old colleagues, and of course – apply, apply, apply. Consider reaching out to companies that don’t have open positions posted too. One strategy for getting your foot in the door is conducting informational interviews. You can use the interview to become familiar with the company culture, industry, and don’t forget to ask for additional contacts. There could be an opportunity available, or worst-case scenario; you continue to build a strong professional network.
Just as you should have a job hunting strategy in place, you should also have a personal branding strategy. This may sound silly because you typically think of companies when you think of branding, but you have a brand as well. Your interactions at work, in your community, and your social media presence, combined, build an image and reputation. You want to differentiate yourself while ensuring consistency across all channels to strengthen your professional brand. Developing your LinkedIn profile and making sure your other social pages convey a similar story are great strategies to start with. Consider these two questions when forming your strategy: How do you want your future employers to view you and what is unique about your brand?
If you have any pending applications or interviews but haven’t heard back from the company, follow up with them after a one to two week period. Organizations with strong employer brands will care about the candidate experience they are providing, but it is also up to you to take ownership of your candidate experience. There are plenty of companies that haven’t gotten on board with future workplace trends, so take the initiative in an appropriate manner to speed up the process. If the opportunity didn't work out, don't take it personally – ask for feedback. Each interview is a wonderful learning experience, so try to gain insight that allows you to improve in the future.
Whether you are currently employed and searching for a new gig or you have been unemployed and job searching for some time, immerse yourself in activities that will boost your resume. Spend time doing things you are passionate about where you can simultaneously strengthen or learn new skills. Some examples may be to get certified in a new technology or volunteer your time for a local non-profit. Record these supplemental items on your resume or LinkedIn profile to show you are self-motivated and strategically using your time – these could be the items that differentiate you from competition.
If you're feeling burnt out, focus your mind on the long-term. Spending weeks or months to find an amazing opportunity that provides a sustainable career path with growth potential will be more than worth it. If other opportunities arise in the interim that doesn't necessarily align with your long-term goals, then assess the benefits before disregarding it. Making pro/con lists are perfect for assisting your decision-making process. There could be short-term advantages that will ultimately aid your overall aspirations, and you can always continue your job hunt in the meantime.
With these job search tips in mind, embrace being a job seeker and own your process. Don't give up; you will make it - believe in yourself!
WilsonCTS is a leading global provider of contingent talent solutions committed to finding the right employees at the right time for its clients. Providing a full suite of services — including contract staffing, permanent placement and temp-to-perm — WilsonCTS acts as a seamless extension of its clients’ talent acquisition function. WilsonCTS leads the industry in flexibility and scalability, and has the people, processes and technology to help clients recruit highly skilled and knowledgeable professionals in even the most demanding of situations.